The Congress has accused deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of hiding from the public that his "Mission Ludhiana" is based mostly on assistance from the Centre.
On Saturday, Sukhbir had announced the plan to spend about Rs. 2,500 crore on improving the basic infrastructure in the city. The Opposition Congress wasted no time in reacting. "The government at the Centre will pay most of the money for these development schemes," local member of Parliament Manish Tewari said here on Sunday, adding: "Credit belongs to the UPA (United Progressive Alliance)."
Sukhbir had stated that the city would add 160 buses to its fleet of 50 run by the Ludhiana municipal corporation. Actually, the buses have been procured under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), with 50% contribution from the Centre.
"Expressing concern over increasing personal transport in Ludhiana choking every road, Sukhbir asked the MC to bring 160 low-floor buses, of which 40 are air-conditioned, into the public transport system," reads an official statement of the state government. "It's not the first time that the state government has resorted to creating delusion. It has been doing it since 2007. Let us not forget their promise to make a Paris of Ludhiana," said local MP Tewari, who is also information and broadcasting minister.
"About half of the funding for this so-called mission is to come from the Centre," said Tewari, adding: "The Akalis are trying simply to rob the union government of credit but people know the Akalis have pushed the state to bankruptcy and their mission claims are nothing but hoax."
"Basic infrastructure such as roads, drinking water and electricity are not present on ground and Sukhbir plans a full-fledged mission for the city," said District Congress Committee (urban) president Pawan Dewan. "First they fail to provide the residents with basic amenities and then hijack projects launched by the UPA, as they did with the 108 ambulance service," he added.