Residents of the panchayat fund scam-hit Bhalur village, 37 km from the district headquarters, are deprived of basic civic amenities, including carpeted roads, drains, etc and they have been living with the foul smell emanating from unclean ponds for the past ten years.
In the absence of drains, sewage water is being discharged on the roads by residents, adding to woes of the people. The most affected residents belong to the scheduled caste (SC) category living in the SC Basti area there.
The Hindustan Times visited the village and found that all the roads are in a bad condition and kutcha (not carpeted) though grants worth several lakhs were released to the village panchayat for this purpose.
According to records, a sum of Rs 17.4 lakh was given to the panchayat for the construction of streets during the tenure of former Akali sarpanch Gurdas Singh from 2003-2008.
Another grant of Rs 20 lakh for development works, that included building of drains, was given to the panchayat, but to no avail.
Paramjeet Kaur (40), a resident of the village, said, "I have to cross the road from the sewage-choked road several times in a day and the foul smell has become part of our life."
"We cannot leave this place as we belong to a poor family and have not much money," she rued saying that the government should take note of the village so that the people could live a good and healthy life here.
Darshan Singh (49) said that his relatives from other places avoided visiting the village due to the bad condition of roads, drains, dirty ponds etc.
He said that they were unlucky people to have wrong persons as sarpanches who have not done their work honestly and only looted the panchayat money.
Pala Singh (37), a resident and former sarpanch, said that villagers were experiencing a hell-like situation here and facing the apathy of the government and the administration that failed to take the note of bungling of a large chunk of government grants received by the village panchayat.
Singh alleged that not a single development work has been carried out by Gurdas Singh and his wife Gurpinder during their tenure (2003-2013) as sarpanches. The people had also protested against them and the department, but nobody heard their grievances.
"The government should form a special investigation team (SIT) to look into the records of the panchayat from 2003-2013 so that other persons involved with them can also be brought to book," Pala added.
Acting sarpanch and complainant Bohar Singh Dhillon (55) said that when he assumed office in 2013, he was surprised to see the records and brought the matter to the notice of the department.
Singh alleged that each grant has been embezzled by Gurdas and his wife during their tenure and the government should recommend a high-level probe into this case.
Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Baghapurana Mahesh Inder Singh said that he would talk to the officials concerned and seek a detailed report from them about the condition of the village.
Bhalur is the last village on the boundary of Moga district and has a population of 11,000 and 4,300 are registered voters.