Already under fire for not failing to start any of major development projects in city despite having funds, mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj has now drawn more criticism for his ‘study tour’ to the USA. He is leading a delegation for studying solid waste management and water conservation.
Not only the tour is under scrutiny for visiting USA along with six fellow councilors but without any experts, the timing of the tour has also invited the ire of the public as the authorities have failed to initiate brick, tiling and bitumen laying works ahead of the festival season.
The delegation led by mayor Amarinder Bajaj will hold meeting with Stockton council on October 10. Stockton is the county seat located in California. Aprt from studying their systems, the team will also seek collaboration between these two cities.
Even the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership is also taking a dig on their mayor. Leading the tirade, deputy mayor Harinderpal Kohli said, “Mayor has gone to study zero discharge and latest solid waste disposal system. But reality is that city people are still lagging in basic services of clean water, proper sewerage, and street lights.
“If he had to take tour, he must have involved experts. Already several companies are offering services at door step, then what was the need of visiting USA” he said. He said the only motive of the mayor and his aides were to get USA visa.
Sources said the SAD leaders from Patiala (urban and rural) have already approached the deputy chief minister and party president Sukhbir Singh Badal over the slow pace of development projects.
“Dy CM has allocated `30 crore and issued first installment of Rs 13 crore in April, but mayor failed to initiate the development works. And now, he has gone missing when festival season is on. People are complaining about poor civic amenities,” said an Akali Dal leader, requesting anonymity.
“In last nine years, the SAD has failed to even allocate a land for the solid waste management and mayor has gone to the USA to study waste management plant. It itself indicates the seriousness of mayor,” said Congress MLA Brahm Mohindra.
He said only few months were left in Bajaj’s term and thus he was visiting without any expert. This highlights that this is a ‘fun tour’ and not a study tour, he claimed.
In the absence of processing plant, entire city’s garbage is dumped into open land fill site near Sanaur road, posing health risk to nearby residential colonies.
Before leaving for USA, mayor had said that this tour would give them exposure to how western countries deal with issues like waste disposal. He had also said that tour was not being funded by the municipal corporation as councillors will bear their own expenses.