The state government may be planning to uplift the city's infrastructure under 'Mission Ludhiana' that was announced on Monday, but the road to the ambitious R3561-crore plan has a bumpy ride ahead.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had recently announced the multi-thousand crore integrated development plan, following a meeting attended by city municipal commissioner RK Verma, in Chandigarh. The plan covers road infrastructure, water treatment and solid waste management, among other issues.
Although the plan covers all these issues, but basic amenities like clean drinking water, road infrastructure and sewerage system, among others, are not up to the mark.
The ground reality is different for change to take place as years have passed and the MC has not been able to repair lanes and bylanes leading to the interior areas of the city. Even main roads are dotted with potholes that have not been repaired for a long time.
The plan has also not gone down well with Ludhiana members of Parliament (MP) Manish Tewari, a Congress leader. Tewari had recently slammed Badal for the plan "that has no concrete substance in it".
In Ludhiana, Tewari had pointed at the financial condition of the state government. "The government that doesn't has funds to pay to its employees is talking of providing money in thousand crores for improving a city" Tewari said.
Residents, too, found the announcement unrealistic. Sarabha Nagar resident Manisha Goyal said though the plan sounded good, promises had been made in the past too. "But they were rarely fulfilled. So, this thing also seems to be a castle in the air."
Punjab Agriculture University student Abhishek Sharma termed money as the biggest hurdle to the plan. "I do not think that such an amount can be utilised only for Ludhiana. This may be a sweet dream but the reality may be different," Sharma said.
Hindustan Times took a review of all the points that were discussed in the meeting on Monday and how basic amenities were lacking in the city.
Road infrastructure - Proposal - A whopping Rs. 2765.80 crore - including R1,076 crore for road widening, R194 crore for new road links and R920 crore for upgrading and widening of regional roads - have been proposed.
Reality- Most interior areas of the city lack proper road infrastructure. Most of the 75 wards under the municipal corporation have potholed roads that result in traffic problems and accumulation of water during the rainy season. Councillors are already vying to get funds to repair roads.
Solid Waste Management Proposal - Badal was also informed that door-to-door collection of solid waste management programme launched by A to Z Company had already covered 60% of the city, while the other company was performing the job of cleaning the roads.
Reality - Although the company is lifting the waste from different corners of Ludhiana, residents of almost all areas say the city has turned into a garbage dump. There have been incidents where the residents objected to the company keeping garbage dump in residential areas before picking it up. Officials concerned say that there is no place to dump the garbage other than these areas.
Slum areas - Proposal - Badal also proposed during the meeting that slum areas in the city should be the focus of municipal corporation.
Reality - Slum areas of the city that are inhabited mostly by migrant labourers lack basic amenities. During the flu season, there are outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, dengue, malaria, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. The MC has failed to check the problem every year.
Mass transport system - Proposal - Stressing upon the need for efficient city bus service, it was decided to add 200 additional buses to the existing fleet of 20.
Reality - The MC, as a result of lack of meeting of board of director, is unable to get a lot of 10 new buses that are waiting at the bus manufacturer's depot in Chandigarh. These buses were supposed to hit the road in August end, but the wait is going to get longer. Procurement of 10 buses has become difficult for the MC, 200 would be quite a task.
Tubewells - Proposal - There are 779 tubewells and project was on to cover remaining 17% city for water supply.
Reality - A large number of tubewells are working without dozers for chlorination that could risk the health of city residents. According to the official records, most generators on these tubewells were also not working, thus making them redundant when there is no electricity.