The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has blamed its alliance partner, the BJP, for failing to shift the garbage dump from the Bhagatawala area in the Amritsar South assembly segment to some other place on the periphery of the city.
The SAD's justification in targeting its alliance partner was on the grounds that both mayor Bakshi Ram Arora and local bodies minister Anil Joshi not only belong to the BJP but are also residents of Amritsar. The SAD leaders claim to have taken up the garbage dump issue with Arora and Joshi on a number of occasions in the past.
"In the past, we had requested the BJP party, the mayor and the local bodies minister to take immediate steps to manage the garbage waste at Bhagatawala and get the dump shifted. However, all our requests fell on deaf ears," said Upkar Singh Sandhu, president of the Amritsar urban unit of SAD, in a statement issued here on Monday.
The Akali leader's statement comes in the wake of protests by the residents of Bhagatawala and its sorrounding areas against the garbage dump. The local residents have been demanding that the dump be shifted from the area as it was causing a great deal of pollution, particularly of the air, resulting in health problems.
Sandhu's colleague and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Inderbir Singh Bolaria went a step further to state that they will no longer make such requests to the BJP. The matter will be taken up with the Punjab government, he added.
"I want to assure the people of the city that the garbage dump problem will be solved and a permanent solution found within the next two years", assured Bolaria while sympathising with the people who had been sitting on a dharna at Bhagatawala for the past 10 days.
Bolaria, who represents the Amritsar South constituency in which Bhagatawala falls, warned the Amritsar municipal corporation (MC) authorities against dumping any more waste at Bhagatawala.
"I will myself see to it that garbage and municipal waste collected from the other assembly segments of the city are not dumped at Bhagatawala, which is my assembly segment. There are five assembly segments in the city. Why can't there be separate garbage dumps for each of these constituencies?" asked Bolaria.
'AKALIS CAN'T BE BLAMED'
Upkar Singh Sandhu asserted that the Akalis could not be blamed for the lack of civic amenities in the holy city as it never had an Akali mayor.
"Amritsar has had Congress or BJP mayors, but never an Akali mayor. So we cannot be blamed for garbage dumps and other problems that plague the city", he said
Sandhu said that on the contrary the SAD and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have taken a very keen interest on issues concerning the holy city. The deputy CM has been periodically holding meetings for reviewing the progress of developmental projects here, he added.