The municipal corporation office, administrative complex, and police block are empty. Almost all senior officers are missing from their desks. Visitors wait for hours, hoping they'll be back.
A more important duty has kept the officers busy, and that is to entertain two special guests: chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy, Sukhbir Singh Badal, who will be here on Friday to honour bright students at a state-level function. The entire administration will be on a standstill until they leave.
Everything urgent can wait. Local resident Sudesh Vij rues why he visited the MC office on Thursday. "I have waited for two hours for an official in the water supply department and now I am told no official will get back to work from the meeting on the Punjab Armed Police grounds (venue for Friday's state-level function)."
Road repaired after a year
However, thanks to the Badals' coming, all bumps on the main entry road (PAP campus to Border Security Force Chowk) a being fixed after more than a year. The gravel and bitumen for the patchwork are borrowed from the public works department (PWD). Grand arrangements under a marquee on the PAP campus are being made for an expected gathering of 10,000.
Boundary saved,cricket ground falls
The district administration even proposed to break the PAP complex boundary wall so that the CM's convoy can drive in easily but the PAP's opposition saved the structure. The PAP's well-maintained cricket ground, however, is mauled by the pitching of tent and the placing of 10,000 chairs.
All district transport officers (DTOs) have orders to run buses to ferry the selected students and their parents to the venue. That means transporting 3,300 families, even though only 21 lucky children will get to receive scholarship from the CM on the spot.