Punjab: Devp works stuck as term of 127 civic bodies end in six months
Tenure of Bathinda and Moga municipal corporations ends on March 8, Hoshiarpur and Phagwara on March 10, Pathankot on March 13 and SAS Nagar on April 26Updated: Feb 12, 2020 22:53 IST
As the terms of 127 civic bodies of Punjab will end between February and July, the state government has allegedly stopped clearing proposals of development works as it plans to conduct the elections in May-June.
Sources in the local bodies department say once the five-year term of local body ends, the department will appoint government officer as administrator, bringing the civic body under its direct control till the elections.
The six municipal corporations whose tenure is about to end in coming months are: Bathinda and Moga (March 8), Hoshiarpur and Phagwara (March 10), Pathankot (March 13) and SAS Nagar (April 26). Out of these corporations, Bathinda, Moga and Mohali have mayors owing allegiance to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD); while Phagwara, Pathankot and Hoshiarpur have mayors linked to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“We have adequate availability of funds. However, clearance to our proposals for development works is being delayed by the (local bodies) department on one or other pretext. We fail to understand the reasons for delay and are unable to execute works,” Pathankot mayor Anil Vasudeva told HT.
Mohali mayor Kulwant Singh said clearance to about 250 development works are awaited from the local bodies department even as the corporation has the ₹25-30-crore funds required for the projects. “I think, after the term of our corporation ends, the government will push the development works. The Congress government wants to take credit for the works which were planned by us,” he said.
Civic bodies in Abohar, Kapurthala and Batala were also given the status of municipal corporation, however, they are still to get an elected body as the delimitation of wards is underway.
Apart from the municipal corporations, there are 118 municipal councils and notified area committees across the state whose term will end between March 3 to July 21. The five-year term of Bhagta Bhai Ka municipal council had ended in August 2018, but it is awaiting elections as extension of municipal limits is pending with the department.
Ending of the term of these civic bodies, as per the Punjab Municipal Act, means completion of five years of taking of oath by the general house of these bodies.
Local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra said development works have not stopped in any of the civic bodies. “As far as schedule of (MC) elections is concerned, it will be decided at the party level, as we are holding discussions with MLAs and district-level leaders,” said Mohindra. On delay in clearing projects, he said works involving big budget outlays undergo scrutiny, which takes time.