Nearly a year after it came into being, the district grievances panel finally met here on Friday to redress complaints against the government departments.
The meeting, held under the chairmanship of local bodies minister Anil Joshi, saw members of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance raising some contentious issues.
Contrary to expectations, aggression was lacking in the opposition Congress members who could neither corner the administration for delay in holding the meeting nor raise any substantial issue.
MLA Sunder Sham Arora said that Congress members had to go unprepared as the intimation regarding the meeting was given at the eleventh hour. Hindustan Times had highlighted a few days ago that the district grievances committee was not conducting any business.
Hoshiarpur Central Co-operative Bank chairman Satwinder Pal Singh Dhatt raised the matter of alleged exploitation of farmers at the hands of timber merchants in the Lakkar Mandi on Hariana road.
He said the arhtiyas were not only causing losses to government exchequer worth crores of rupees every year by stealing VAT and sales tax but also not giving due price to the farmers.
Joshi constituted a 3-member committee, headed by the deputy commissioner, to probe the matter and prepare a detailed note in 15 days.
Dhatt also demanded compensation to the farmers of Dasuya sub-division whose land has been contaminated by pollutants from the AB sugar mill.
Several other issues, including water and sewerage facilities, roads, traffic and stray animals also came up before the house. Tempers ran high when Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna's representative Sanjiv Talwar was asked by the chairman to take up the problem of overflowing sewerage with the municipal corporation. An agitated Talwar told him that MC authorities remained indifferent even to Khanna's complaints. He rose to boycott the meeting but was soon pacified by Joshi.