Even district status fails to change Pathankot's fortunes | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Even district status fails to change Pathankot's fortunes

punjab Updated: Jun 17, 2012 13:18 IST
Vinay Dhingra

With the BJP leaders patting themselves on the back for getting a district and corporation status for this town, locals feel hardly anything has been done in the name of development here.

Traders, especially, are not happy. Following the enhanced status for the town, there has been a substantial increase in the number of administration and police officials, which has led to an increase in the number of nakas, restricting the movement of those visiting the town from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, in turn affecting their business.

The town had expected wonders as the BJP leaders had virtually promised the moon following the elevated status for the town. State BJP president Ashwani Sharma had gone to the people during the last assembly elections, asking for support in the name of getting the town the status of a district. This led to a huge victory for him. Sharma, who harps on the issue even now, wants the town to wait a little more till the teething troubles get over for the infant district.

The town is situated on the border of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and attracts a fair number of customers from the two neighbouring states.

LR Sodhi, state secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, claims that following the new status, nothing good has happened for them. He says the only change has been that a large number of officials have occupied government offices and they harass the traders.

"You take a round of the town in a car with a registration number other than Punjab and chances are you will be stopped at every chowk either by the police or by other government officials for checking. We don't say there should be no checking, but undue harassment has led to a decrease in the number of customers coming here, affecting our business," he says.

Rajesh Sharma, a local, says he doesn't see any improvement in traffic or garbage disposal. He says there is hardly any change in the town in terms of infrastructure as almost all offices of the district administration are yet to come up.

Deputy commissioner Siben C says he has repeatedly written to the government, requesting for funds, but is yet to get them; he himself has been functioning from a makeshift office in the PWD rest house.

He says he has received Rs 25 lakh from another office and is trying to renovate an old building in order to make it his office.

About the new court complex, which was to be completed by June, the deputy commissioner says that following the fresh guidelines by the high court, the construction will be over by September.

JP Singh, MC commissioner, who has made a name for himself with his bold decisions to check encroachments, claims that in his short tenure he has tried to address the problems of the town. He says his office is not harassing anyone but wants the things in order. "We will not tolerate anyone flouting the rules," he says.

Regarding funds he says he has not sought them so far. "We are taking up the problems of the town on priority and soon people will feel the change.">