In a credit war ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, cracks were visible in the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday as SAD candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali and MLA Simarjit Singh Bains, who may contest as an Independent, locked horns over the town planning scheme re-modulation of Janta Nagar.
At the general house meeting of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation at Zone A headquarters, Bains criticised the Akali government and Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria for not working on the resolution that was passed in 2008, when he was the councillor.
The issue pertains to the town planning schemes of Janta Nagar, New Janta Nagar part-1A, New Janta nagar part-2, part 4-C, part-7, part-6, Miller Ganj part-1, 2, Miller Ganj part A, B, C which were originally started as residential schemes but for the past 30-35 years more than 85% households here have been running small industries.
An agenda was proposed in the house meeting on Monday asking for permission to propose change of land use from residential to mixed land use of these areas so that town planning scheme can be re-modulated and people can get all facilities like new electricity connections. Till now PSPCL and GLADA had put a ban on all facilities as industries were running in residential areas.
However, on Monday, the first agenda item was put before the House and passed unanimously. But Bains termed the move ‘politically motivated for gains in Lok Sabha polls’. “We passed same resolution in 2008 and a letter was sent to the local bodies government which is pending to date. I would like to tell Mayor that they cannot befool people and take whole credit alone to get votes for Akali Dal in coming polls. Why was the matter not completed when I proposed it? Why this fresh proposal? Area falls in my constituency and I am well aware of people’s problems there.” He also waved copies of letters he wrote to the government on the issue.
Ayali fires back
While the mayor maintained silence on the issue at the meeting, Ayali reached the mayor’s office after the meeting and a detailed discussion on the issue was held for hours. Late in the evening, Ayali addressed the media along with the mayor and declared that “it is not a political stunt”.
Waving copies of letters from GLADA and the local bodies department, Ayali said, “We do not know how to do political stunts. Here are the copies of letters and from Tuesday people can get new electricity connections in Janta Nagar and Shimlapuri. We have got instant solution to problem which had been hanging fire for years and all bans from the area have been lifted.”
“The industries here provide employment to more than 5 lakh people and now they do not have to shift anywhere. We have moved the legal way and on the basis of the High Court judgment in a similar case in Patiala, we have found solution to problems of Janta Nagar,” said Ayali. “I would like to ask why this case moved at a snail’s pace when the resolution was passed in 2008?” Asked why the whole procedure was completed in a single day, especially after Bains’s allegations, he said, “We wanted an immediate solution to people’s problems who have been demanding it for the past 30 years.”