Ludhiana smart city projects: BJP highlights ‘discrepancies’, submits memorandum with MoHUA secretary
Highlighting discrepancies and alleged large-scale corruption in different projects being taken up under smart city mission, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders submitted a memorandum with secretary, ministry of housing and urban affairs, Durga Shanker Mishra at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) on Friday.
Mishra was in the city to review different flagship schemes/projects launched by the union government including, the smart city mission.
BJP leaders, including district president Pushpinder Singal, state vice president Parveen Bansal, state executive member Bikram Sidhu handed over the memorandum to Mishra.
Seeking CBI inquiry into the alleged embezzlement and wastage of funds, BJP leaders also sought public participation in the projects and slammed the authorities for ignoring the basic needs of the city while planning them.
Bikram Sidhu alleged that only one builder is being allotted most of the projects under the smart city mission.
“He was also allotted the project to construct Pakhowal road ROB/RUBs even when another firm was ready to complete the project at a lower price. Around 16 crores has been spent just for replacing tiles in Sarabha Nagar main market in the name of a retrofitting project,” said Sidhu.
“These things point towards large-scale corruption, misappropriation of funds, and wasted at large. The officials are working negligently on the behest of a cabinet minister, and we have sought a CBI inquiry into the matter. Mishra has assured action on our complaint,” said Sidhu.
The BJP leader demanded that a committee be formed at the local level with prominent personalities from the city as participants so that their suggestions can be sought while planning the projects.
Parveen Bansal stated that no information is being shared about the projects approved, the cost of projects, the design, etc.
“Around ₹3.5 crore is being spent on renovation of Mini Rose garden in Kidwai Nagar even though that project could have been completed in a few lakhs. Around ₹38 crore has been spent on Malhar road and Sarabha Nagar main market. The width of Malhar road has been reduced from 120 feet to 46 feet resulting in traffic snarls. The parking space in Sarabha Nagar market has been reduced under the project, which was aimed at developing the infrastructure there,” he said.
“Funds are being wasted to develop the areas that already fall under the posh category. No heed is being paid to the problems being faced in old city areas, including, contaminated water supply, potholed roads, traffic jams, etc. The projects should be planned properly, and suggestions should be sought from the public also during the planning process,” said Bansal.
Factionalism in BJP
Factionalism was witnessed between the two groups of BJP leaders which were led by Parveen Bansal and Bikram Sidhu. Both the groups tried to meet Mishra separately but ended up handing over the memorandums jointly.
NGOs seek transparency in ₹650-cr Buddha Nullah project
Seeking transparency in the ₹650 crore project to clean the Buddha Nullah, members of Public Action Committee (PAC), a group of NGOs, submitted a memorandum with secretary, ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA), Durga Shankar Mishra, at the railway station on Friday.
The members of the committee rued that the officials have failed to make public the details of the projects being taken up under the smart city mission including, the construction of sewer treatment plants (STP), etc., which might result in misuse or wastage of funds.
Amandeep Bains from PAC said they have been raising concern over Buddha Nullah pollution and the Sutlej river in the past.
“An environmental expert should lead the Buddha Nullah project committee , as it is not just a civil engineering project, but also concerns the health of residents and the environment. Further, the process to shift the dairy units situated in Haibowal and Tajpur road dairy complex should be expedited. The project to establish the effluent treatment plants in the dairy complexes should be stopped, as it will lead to wastage of money as the dairy units have to be shifted,” he said.
The common effluent treatment plants (CETP) being established to treat the waste of the dyeing industry situated at Tajpur Road and Focal Point area should also be made operational at the earliest. The authorities should also come up with a plan to prevent dyeing units from dumping effluents into the MC sewer lines.
CoE also submits memo
Slamming MC for not involving the public in the smart city project, the Council of Engineers (CoE) also submitted a memorandum with Mishra.