The central government- sponsored Rs. 79-crore hand tool cluster project in the city is uncertain now as the April 30 deadline, set by the centre for the state government to operationalise it has expired, without any work on the ground.
The project, sanctioned in 2010, has been delayed due to political wrangling and other technical issues, even as the centre granted three extensions to the state government to start the project.
“Yes, it is unfortunate that the prestigious project could not be initiated. The blame lies with the industrialists, who failed to deposit their share of monetary contribution for the cluster,” said board of directors of the project and Punjab director (industry) chairman Vikas Partap Singh.
“Industry minister Anil Joshi will call a review meeting on the project within a week, in which explanation from four directors, representing the hand-tool industry, will be sought for not depositing the Rs. 12-crore industry share for the project,” Singh added.
On whether the state government will seek another extension from the centre for starting the project, he said: “If the industry is not serious, then it is very difficult for the state government to go it alone and the project is liable to be scrapped.”
He claimed that the money from the industrialists was needed for smooth running of the project.
“The project could not be started due to a power tussle within the industry. It will have to exhibit serious intent by depositing its share,” he claimed.
However, industrialists have been claiming that the Rs. 12-crore share was not required at this stage and they were apprehensive of the government's ability to execute the project.
Chief parliamentary secretary and local MLA KD Bhandari said that he would allow the project to be scrapped and would find way out of the impasse.
“We will find a way out in the review meeting, so that the project stays with the state,” he said, adding that if the existing directors proved to be inflexible or were found to be deliberately sabotaging the project, they might even be replaced.