Once known as the 'City of Gardens', the city appears to have become a large dustbin, with heaps of garbage, which pose serious risks to the environment and the health of the citizens, littering the streets and main roads.
The extent of the lack of an effective and efficient waste management system is such that even important government offices and upscale localities have fallen prey, and are no longer guaranteed proper garbage removal services.
The solid waste management project, which was assured to the city once, appears to have gone 'out of sight, out of mind' of the civic authorities, who have turned most of the residential areas into garbage dumps.
The 'big plan' of door-to-door garbage collection has remained a theoretical project rather than becoming a ground reality, with collectors yet to come knocking.
A recent survey by HT revealed that the list of the worst affected localities include Raja Avenue, Sewak Colony, bus stand, Government Elementary Multi-purpose School on State College Road, Rajpura Colony, Tripuri, Civil Lines, area behind TB hospital, and interior parts of the walled city.
The main reason for the worsening situation is, residents allege, the lackluster response of the civic bodies.
Three months ago, in mayor Amarinder Bajaj's own ward, a dumping ground was created under the crossing number 21 flyover, which has polluted the streets and the atmosphere in the surrounding areas.
However, the mayor claims that the dump was created three years ago.
Loveleen Singh, a shopkeeper who plies his trade under the flyover, said, "There is an unbearable stench in the area, and residents live in fear of contagious diseases which may be caused by the filth lying unattended for days on end. The whole locality has turned into a stray animal's hub."
Mansia Colony resident Karnal Singh Arora alleged that the locals had submitted a written complaint to the municipal corporation (MC), and the mayor had even inspected the area two months ago and assured action.
"However, nothing was done in this regard, and the situation has gone from bad to worse," he added.
Blaming the residents for the nuisance, MC health officer Yadwinder Singh Banga said, "Private garbage collectors are littering the streets. The mindset of the residents need to change. Instead of blaming the civic authorities, they themselves should be responsible for ensuring that the streets remain clean."
Herbal sprays were being used for eco-friendly disposal of the waste, he claimed.
However, he refused to comment about the disposal of used sanitary napkins and diapers, which are a big health hazard.
While the city streets continue to get polluted, the civic body sits a mere spectator, blaming the residents and appealing to them to become self-servers.
Piles of garbage in the locality have led to a marked increase in the population of mosquitoes, which pose a major health hazard. We have complained to the authorities several times, but in vain.
Daljeet Singh Arjun Nagar resident
Once renowned for its cleanliness and healthy environment, Patiala is being rapidly converted into a large garbage bin. Municipal workers no longer collect garbage from roads and streets, while people are openly dumping garbage in lanes.
Anil Puri Arya Samaj resident
I am totally helpless. I have taken up this issue with the authorities a couple of times, but due to non-availability of land for garbage disposal, at present there seems to be no way out.
Rajni Sharma Congress councillor ward number 47
If the residents can provide a better solution, we will welcome it. For now, we are waiting for the government to finalise an area for the solid waste management project. They have assured that a site would be finalized within 15 days.
Amarinder Bajaj mayor