A Congress bastion for about a decade, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is all set to give its rival a run for its money in the Nawanshar municipal council elections scheduled to be held on February 25.
Ruled by the Congress in the last two tenures, the municipal council failed to bring in funds for development works from the ruling SAD-BJP government.
One of oldest towns of Punjab and known as an NRI hub, Nawanshahr, which is situated on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway, is grappling with civic issues like sewerage and drainage system, encroachments, parking, potholed roads and lack of proper waste management plan.
Both the rivals — SAD and Congress — are riddled with factionalism in several wards of the city. While a separate faction of the SAD fielded its supporters independently, the Congress is also facing infighting on few seats.
It is also first in Punjab where the Congress has announced that its leader Lalit Mohan Pathak ‘Ballu’ will be the municipal council president if the party wins elections for the third time in a row.
The SAD is fighting the election on issue of the development of the city on 13 seats of a total of 19 wards while its coalition partner the Bharatiya Janata Party will be contesting on six seats.
The BJP is nowhere in the picture in the run-up to the MC polls on six seats which is a main worry for the SAD.
In 2009, the Congress had won 11 seats, SAD four, while the BJP won on just two seats.
Drainage system absent
The life comes to a standstill as almost all streets and roads get inundated during the rains.
Localities such as Kothi Road, Raja Mohalla, Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Chandigarh Road, Kulam Road, Balmiki Mohalla, Railway Road and Ravidass Mohalla are the worst hit. They remain flooded with rainwater for several hours due to lack of drainage system in the town. The residents of low-lying areas face inconvenience as rainwater enters their houses. They have to flush out the muddy water from their homes.
Local residents have been worried over the poor condition of roads in several pockets such as Sugar Mill Colony, Teacher Colony, Prince Colony, Saloh Road, Rahon Road, Chandigarh Road, Barnala Road and Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar besides other areas added to the council limits. Commuters on several roads remain a harried lot as the municipal council has failed to repair these stretches.
With the growing population, there has been a rise in encroachments across the city. Shopkeepers are misusing public space for their business and the civic authorities have failed to tackle the problem. The administration initiated several drives against this but to no avail.
Lack of sewarage
Due to poor sewer lines, the city often witnesses leakage of drain water. Blocked drains cause headache to residents. Jaundice outbreak at Mohalla Shoria, Sharda Mohalla, Laroiya Mohalla and Lal Chowk was reportedly due mixing of sewage with drinking water.