The Rs 3.40-crore project covering various development works in Kotkapura allegedly failed to take off even after the tendering process of some of them was completed in February because the state government allegedly failed to release any funds for these works before the model code of conduct came into force.
Kotkapura town has a population of about 80,000 and after rainfall in August last year, most of its roads were badly damaged and needed to be re-laid. The town has a very old sewerage system, which needed to be upgraded and even some part of it has no sewerage system at all and residents are facing a problem for the last over years.
The project had come as a great relief to the local SAD leadership as the town has seen little development during the past many years. It was a move to placate the residents, but due to the alleged fund crunch, not a single work could be taken up.
Even though the government allegedly failed to release the small amount of Rs 3.40 crore for these development works, Sukhbir Singh Badal, deputy chief minister, had again announced a new project of Rs 90 crore to lay and upgrade the sewerage system in the town just a few days ahead of the model code of conduct came into force, on February 26, playing the development card.
The works, supposed to be started immediately before elections, reportedly included laying sewerage in Dhanna Basti, resurfacing badly broken main roads of the town and streets.
“Most parts of Dhanna Basti do not have any sewerage system at all and when it rains, the situation becomes hellish for the residents. During the past 5 years, the sewerage system could be laid only in the outside part of the locality but most of the area is without it,” said Sanju, a resident of the Basti.
Most of the roads in the town are badly broken and hardly repaired properly in the past. Rain during August last year had badly washed out them and now driving on the roads, with concrete scattered all over, is a nightmare.
The main roads including Jaitu road, Jaurian Chakkian road, a part of Bir Sikhan Wala road, Devi Wala road, Duareana road, Muktsar to Faridkot bypass road besides others within the municipal limits are badly damaged.
Rakesh Kamboj, municipal engineer of municipal committee, Kotkapura, admitted that the formalities relating to these works were almost complete and work could not be started as they did not get the required grants.
Harjeet Singh Sandhu, administrator of municipal committee, also admitted to the non-availability of funds. “We did not get the required funds and so could not start these works,” he said.