Fatehgarh Churian: Crores of rupees spent but development still invisible
Though, the local administration is claiming to have spent crores of rupees on the beautification of this historical town the reality on the ground conveys otherwise.punjab Updated: Feb 16, 2015 20:58 IST
Though, the local administration is claiming to have spent crores of rupees on the beautification of this historical town the reality on the ground conveys otherwise.
Broken roads, absence of sewerage system, encroachment on government lands and unavailability of clean drinking water are some of the problems faced by the people of this border town in Gurdaspur district, which is gearing for a municipal council poll battle between Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine and Congress for 14 wards.
Being a part of Dera Baba Nanak constituency till 2012 elections, Fatehgarh Churian remained neglected by successive governments for years but after delimitation in 2012, some big projects were brought to Fatehgarh Churian by SAD halqa incharge, Nirmal Singh Kahlon.
During the 2008 council polls, the SAD-BJP alliance swept to power, winning 10 out of the total of 13 seats while 3 seats went to independent candidates. SAD managed to win 7 with its alliance partner, BJP, winning 3 seats out of the 6 seats it contested.
Congress, the main opposition party, boycotted the polls after the nominations papers of all their 13 candidates were rejected on technical grounds.
The seat sharing ratio between the ruling SAD-BJP alliance has remained the same this time also, but dissidents from the ruling combine, who are contesting the polls as independents, are giving sleepless nights to the ruling party candidates.
After getting clean majority in the house during the 2008 civic polls, SAD leader, Ashok Pandhi became the president of the local MC but after the 2012 assembly elections, former district BJP President, Surinder Shindi was made the president for supporting SAD candidate Nirmal Singh Kahlon. After this incident fissures started between Kahlon and Pandhi.
The rift widened during this election when Pandhi who filed his nomination papers from ward number 9 was forced to withdraw his papers under the pressure of the local Akali leadership. Even former SAD councilor from ward number 7, Kulbir Kumar, who has been denied a ticket by SAD is contesting on a BJP ticket from ward number 12.
While former BJP councilor, Parvej Masih is contesting from ward number 2 as independent. Lalita, wife of former general secretary of BJP, Narinder Kumar, is also contesting as an independent from ward number 11. Even veteran BJP leader, Vijay Kumar had filled his nomination papers as independent from ward number 10.
The condition of roads is very bad and getting worse with every passing day. Full of potholes it becomes a daunting task to pass these roads during the rainy season. Though, the state government is claming to have spent crores of rupees on the renovation of these roads but almost all the streets were lying un-constructed for the past three years. During the rainy season, more than 70% of the town was submerged in knee-deep water due to the non-operational sewerage system.
Encroachment made on shamlat (village's collective land) and government land is a big issue in Fatehgarh Churian. Till 1990, there were around five ponds sized between 5 to 10 acres all around the town which used to act as a reservoir for rain water. But with the passage of time, politically influential persons of both the Congress and SAD-BJP have grabbed most the land.
Even the 5-6 areas land of the historical Panj Pir Mandir has been encroached upon by people with the involvement of the revenue department officials.
Makeshift encroachments by shopkeepers on both sides of roads are resulting in traffic jams. Being a small town, most of the roads are narrow and the encroachments made by the shopkeeper make these constricted lanes further narrow.
"Heavy traffic congestion is the order of the day in most of the markets due to such encroachments," said Naveen Kumar, a local shopkeeper. "The problem can be sorted out only if the civic body impose heavy penalty on violators. But unfortunately, the MC officials are allegedly hand-in-glove with the offenders," he added.
Though, there are two water pumps in the town for the supply of drinking water to residential areas, one of the pump has not been operational from the past many months forcing the people to take help of motors and submersible pumps to get potable water.
More than 50% localities of this constituency don't have water supply lines. Moreover, leakage in water supply pipes at several places has led to contamination of water making it unfit for consumption.
The single water tank constructed in 1999 was interestingly inaugurated three times, in 1999, 2009 and 2011 but till date not even a single drop of water has been supplied through this water tank.
Poor condition of railway station
The town has a railway station and hundreds of passengers travel everyday to Amritsar and Dera Baba Nanak but ironically they commute without tickets as there is no ticket collector.
Earlier, a ticket collector used to come to Fatehgarh Churian from Dera Baba Nanak, four times a
day and after giving tickets to the passenger used to leave on the same train. However, for the last couple of months the ticket window has been closed forcing passengers to travel without ticket.
Total wards: 13
General wards : 6
Reserve for woman : 4
Reserve for SC: 1
Reserve for SC woman : 1
Reserve for BC: 2
Total voters: 12627
Gurdeep Singh, businessman
Congress and SAD did not do any development work here and this time I wish my councillor gives some space for playgrounds and parks where senior citizens and children can enjoy. Moreover, there is urgent need of a good stadium in this town.
Yuvraj Singh, local resident
There is an urgent need to remove all the mobile towers from the residential areas, which are posing a serious threat to human beings. My councillor should also ensure immediate disposal of garbage and filth lying at every nook and corner of the town.
I wish my councilor works for checking eve teasing so that women and girls have a sense of security. Police constables should be deputed at various school and colleges. Roadside romeos and vehicles using pressure horns should be dealt with strictly.
Sewerage has been in very poor shape for the last many years and should be addressed on priority. The council should give sewerage facility at various outer localities, from where the government is collecting huge amounts in taxes.
Though SAD has been seeking votes on the development plank for the past two years claiming to have spent more that Rs 18 crore on development works, the results are not visible. The opposition Congress is seeking votes by exposing the involvement of the ruling party leaders in various scams during the last five year rule. The BJP candidates are as usual trying to encash on the developmental oriented image of Prime Minister Narinder Modi.