Navjot Sidhu who exited Cabinet last year writes to ex-boss. He has a complaint
Almost a month after targeting his own government over mounting debt and corruption at the Overseas Congress’ “Speak Up India” initiative, former cabinet minister and Amritsar East MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu wrote a letter to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh saying that his constituency was being ignored and all development works have come to a standstill.
It is Sidhu’s first communication with the CM after the cricketer-turned politician quit the Punjab cabinet on July 15 last year after he was stripped of key portfolios. Amarinder and Sidhu had been at loggerheads since his (Sidhu’s) controversial visit to Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan where he had hugged the Pak army chief leading to a huge controversy back home.
The rift was further widened during the general elections when Sidhu and his wife accused Amarinder of having had a hand in the denial of ticket to her to from either Chandigarh or Amritsar.
In the letter addressed to the CM on July 16, Sidhu points out at “serious lapses” in development works in his constituency. The copy of the letter has also been marked to chief principal secretary to the CM Suresh Kumar and Amritsar deputy commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon.
“The work on five bridges that the CM inaugurated in October 2018, costing Rs 137 crore, (two of these bridges are in Amritsar East), has been going on at snail’s pace. Even after I personally made efforts to take approvals by hand from the railway ministry, which otherwise takes years, tenders done, permissions taken and funds submitted, nothing has fructified so far,” reads the letter.
“In December last year, the CM had recommended works worth Rs 5 crore under the Punjab Environmental Improvement Project (Phase-1) for Amritsar East. But nothing has been done so far,” Sidhu said in the letter.
The MLA further says that the CM had allotted Rs 24 crore under Punjab Environmental Improvement Project (Phase-2) in June this year and “I had submitted details and specifications for Rs 11 crore worth development works under the aforesaid scheme. But the MC has sent me details for the projects worth Rs 7 crore to be recommended for future development of my constituency”.
Sidhu, who is keeping distance from the media for several months, was not available for comments regarding the letter.
The letter further reads that the Amritsar Improvement Trust had sanctioned Rs 13 crore for his constituency, but the “works have been stalled”. “It is unfortunate but true that nothing has moved in my constituency since I resigned. Patiently waiting for over a year for these works to start. Repeatedly enquiring from the deputy commissioner and various departments, but these works exist only on papers,” the letter concludes. Officials who don’t want to be named said the DC has forwarded a copy of the letter to the municipal corporation and the improvement trust authorities and has sought a status report of these projects.