Lakhs of rupees spent about three years ago on installing musical fountains and lights along the bridges of Rajasthan and Sirhind canals, Darbar Ganj and Lieutenant Colonel Abijeet Singh Sekhon chowk (Jubilee Cinema chowk) seem to have gone down the drain.
The sources said that the project to beautify canal bridges had cost nearly `20 lakh. But, the fountains had remained operational only for a few days after they were installed.
Fountains at the main chowk and Darbar Ganj are also not functioning properly now.
"The entire project was ill-planned and a wastage of money. The fountains needed proper power connections, water supply and regular maintenance, but little attention was paid to these factors before their installation," claimed a source.
"The fountains at the main chowk, which is known as Lieutenant Colonel Abijeet Singh Sekhon and Darbar Ganj have also never functioned properly after installation. Most of the time, they remain non-functional. The main chowk, that first welcomes the visitors to the city, wears a deserted look," said Gurdit Singh Sekhon, a resident of the city.
Now, when the annual Baba Farid heritage festival is approaching near, the municipal committee has reportedly handed over the maintenance of the fountains at the main chowk and Darbar Ganj to some private parties. But there are no takers for the ones installed along the canal bridges.
The sources claimed that some of the sets of the fountains installed at the bridges of the canals have been missing and power wires and the lights at some places are hanging in the canal water.
"The money spent on the beautification of the canal bridges has totally gone waste as they are not in a working condition now," said the source.
When contacted, Poonam Bhatnagar, executive officer of the municipal committee, admitted that the fountains meant to beautify the town are not working properly."We have now decided to hand over the main chowk and Darbar Ganj to two private parties so that fountains are made operational before the Baba Farid festival in September."
"The committee would pay the power bill of the two places but it cannot afford to hire employees to guard and maintain the fountains," she added.
About the fountains along the canal bridges, she said that the municipal committee cannot afford to repair and maintain them due to its poor financial health.