The Punjab government has chosen to ignore the first citizen of the city, mayor Sunil Jyoti, on the matter concerning city development, as he is not the part of the funds monitoring committee constituted to monitoring funds to be utilised for the purpose.
This is for the first time that the government has constituted the funds monitoring committee which will be headed by deputy commissioner to review fund utilisation. Earlier, only the money that is utilised uncer the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund is monitored by the deputy commissioner.
The state government had recently announced Rs 500 for the district under the Urban and Rural Regeneration Mission.
Under the mission, two committees will be formed for rural and urban development. The committee will comprise deputy commissioner, who will be its chairman, additional deputy commissioner (development), municipal commissioner, a member of Punjab Infrastructure and Development Board and a member nominated by the DC.
The development has raised eyebrows over the fact as to why a public representative like mayor, who is also the leader of all councillors in the city, is not the part of the committee.
“The government has lost faith in elected members. This is because of the prevailing corruption in the Jalandhar municipal corporation that it does not want to give any fund-related responsibility to them,” said Rajinder Beri district Congress president.
“They (MC) have never made proper use of funds allotted for development works in the city,” he further said.
“The Punjab government is actually centralising corruption by giving all the powers to bureaucrats and is ignoring the public representatives,” said Balraj Thakur, Congress councillor.
“Even the MLAs are not the part of this committee. Like this, there won’t be any political check as how the fund will be distributed,” he added.
“The Punjab government is steadily taking all the powers from the local bodies which has left them handicapped,” said an MC official on the condition of anonymity.
“They had done the same in the case of the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) that only includes bureaucrats,” he further said.
On December 24, a meeting was held regarding the distribution of funds the state government announced for development works in the district. The meeting was headed by Manvesh Singh Sidhu, special principal secretary to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, which was attended by MLAs of nine constituencies of the Doaba region, mayor Sunil Jyoti, municipal commissioner GS Khaira and the acting deputy commissioner.
Sidhu had announced Rs 373 crore for development work in district.