Dirty politics chokes sewerage project
Thanks to rivalry between two Akali leaders, a sewage treatment and sewerage project worth Rs 28 crore is in limbo here. Opened on high steam a year ago, the work is frozen since the faction supporting one of the leaders moved the Punjab and Haryana high court for a stay order against the project.punjab Updated: May 14, 2012 23:40 IST
A sewage treatment and sewerage project entailing an expenditure of Rs 28 crore has been lies choked in Baghapurana, thanks to political rivalry between two Akali leaders. launched a year ago, the work on the project is at a standstill since the group supporting one of these leaders had moved Punjab and Haryana high court for a stay order.
While the two leaders try to outmonoeuvre each other, 50,000 residents of Baghapurana continue to suffer as almost every street has been dug up for laying of sewerage. Clouds of dust from dug up soil suffocates town residents, blinds drivers and keeps local traders occupited with dusting their shop counters all the time.
In March 2011, when deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal launched the project, the aim was to transfer it to the civic body on November 30, 2011, a few weeks before the announcement of the state elections. All this has remained a pipedream.
The people of Avtar Colony on the Nihal Singh Wala road moved court after a sewer pipe was diverted to their area to build a waste- and water-treatment plant. They asked for routing the line to the Bhagta Bhai road. Foul odour, and the threat to crop from polluted water were their fears.
Retired subedar Charan Singh of the Mudki road locality in Baghapurana, now a social worker, has raised his voice against the deadlock. "The townsfolk continue to suffer," he said. "All roads are dug up and work is not progressing. Business has been affected and political leaders ignore our complaints."
"By September 2, 2011, more than 50% work was done," said Bhagat Ram, junior engineer of the sewerage board. "The stay order came the same day, and since then, there is no development. The high court has vacated the stay and now we are free again to resume the work."
Former Congress legislator Darshan Singh Brar has blamed Akali MLA Mahesinder Singh Nihal Singh Wala for the mess. "People from the Nihal Singh Wala camp started it all by moving the court," he claimed. "Infighting in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) delayed the project."
"The petitioners were not members but only loyal voters of the SAD," said Nihal Singh Wala. "I filed a counter-petition in the high court as representative of the people of Baghapurana, and it vacated the stay."
"The contract went to Muktsar companies Oberoi Constructions and Kohli Constructions. The work included sewerage, water supply, rebuilding roads, and laying underground pipes," JE Bhagat Ram confirmed.
"The sewage treatment project was worth Rs 13 lakh. It includes creating waste and water treatment plant on 2 acres on the Nihal Singh Wala road. The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority supports the project."