About 1.43 lakh voters in three municipal councils of Faridkot, Kotkapura and Jaitu will decide the fate of the candidates, mainly of the ruling alliance and the Congress, in 71 wards in the ensuing civic body polls on February 25.
However, the longstanding problems of the local people such as a proper sewerage system, poor supply of drinking water and badly broken roads will haunt the ruling alliance candidates as there has been little development in the three towns of the district.
Kotkapura, with 29 wards has nearly lost its infrastructure and the fund-starved municipality had to face strikes by its overstaffed employees. The nearly rs 200-crore sewerage project for the three towns, foundation stones for which were laid before the parliamentary elections by the deputy chief minister have so far been a non-starter as the project has been cancelled by the new government at the Centre.
"Kotkapura has no arrangements for draining out sewerage water, streetlights in the town have been lying off, many streets are either 'kuccha' or broken. Besides it, most of the main roads, which fall under the municipal limits of the town, are in a bad shape. Drinking water is mostly impure and there are about six RO systems for a population of about one lakh. The government claims development but the reality on the ground is reverse," said Gurbir Singh Sandhu, an advocate and Congress leader from Kotkapura.
Kotkapura even lost six of its total seven parks due to poor maintenance by the local civic body.
In Jaitu town, which has about 17 wards, the people have been protesting against the problem of sewerage water overflowing on the streets at many places besides badly broken roads and streets. However, the municipal committee has finally got funds to make a sewerage 'nullah' to carry sewerage water to the nearby Ran Singh Wala drain. The work on it is on.
In Faridkot, the non-existence of the sewerage system is a big problem besides some broken roads and streets. "We are badly suffering from the non-existence of the sewerage system and many broken roads and streets. The situation in areas such as Bazigar Basti, with a population of about 10,000, is the worst," said Sajan Sharma, a social worker from Dogar Basti, Faridkot.
"There is hardly any development in the three towns. The government may be boasting of the so-called development, but issues remain unresolved for years. Instead of advancement, the three towns have lost even the existing infrastructure," said Rajinder Singh, a resident of Kotkapura.
However, Mantar Singh Brar, president of the district unit of the SAD, claimed that a lot of development has been carried in these towns. "The government opened a new polytechnic college near Kotkapura, got two railway overbridges approved, built a power grid in Kotkapura besides an ITI and the construction of hospital buildings.
We are also building roads and streets and sewerage projects are likely to take off under the new scheme soon," claimed Brar.
"Kotkapura lagged behind to some extent as for as development works are concerned. Its municipal committee is overstaffed and we also have to shoulder the burden of running the fire station for the district. But, we have done more development than the previous Congress governments," he claimed.