Row over crackdown on illegal construction: Jalandhar MP, MLAs to meet Sidhu to bury the hatchet as CMO intervenes
After local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s strict action against illegal colonies and the suspension of eight officials of the building branch of the municipal corporation here created a controversy with a few MLAs from the city expressing resentment, the chief minister’s office (CMO) has intervened to bury the hatchet.
The major embarrassment for the party and the government came when Jalandhar (West) MLA Sushil Kumar Rinku joined the protesters and mounted a JCB earthmover to stop the demolition of an illegal colony near Deol Nagar on the Kala Sangha road here.
Following instructions from the party high command, member of Parliament Santokh Singh Chaudhary, all the four MLAs of the city Rinku, Pargat Singh (Jalandhar Cantonment), Avtar Henry Junior (North) and Rajinder Beri (Central) and mayor Jagdish Raja held a meeting and decided to meet Navjot Sidhu in a day or two to settle the differences. Deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma, commissioner of police Parveen Kumar Sinha and MC commissioner Basant Garg were also present in the meeting.
Highly placed sources said that the meeting of MLAs was held after the administration informed them of serious repercussions for disrupting public servants from carrying out their duty.
A political adviser to the CM, who is organising the meeting of MLAs and the MP with Sidhu, pledging anonymity, said that they have to bring the situation under control as the resentment expressed by the MLAs has already dented the image of the state government.
“The differences must be settled as the image of the chief minister is at stake,” he said.
Asked about the proposed meeting with Sidhu, Rinku, a highly vocal leader, who was the first to oppose Sidhu’s move, said that they have decided to meet Sidhu to share their problems with him.
MLA Beri, who was also one of the opponents of Sidhu’s action, said that they will request to bring out a one-time settlement policy for regularisation of illegal colonies and buildings.
MLA Pargat Singh, who was the one to accompany Sidhu during the operation, said that the MC commissioner has informed him and other MLAs that Sidhu is coming for surprise checking.
“Sidhu is minister of local bodies and he has done what was right for the welfare of the city. The operation was carried out even in my constituency, but residents are happy,” he said.
Mayor Jagdish Raja said that their main demands will be zoning of the city and declaration of a one-time settlement policy at the earliest.
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar said that the meeting of MLAs with Sidhu, the government will try to sort out the problems being faced common men and discuss action against illegal colonisers.
“This the high time that the government should tighten the noose around encroachments, which have gone on unchecked. Our aim is to check illegal construction,” Jakhar said.