OPPOSITION PARTIES came down heavily on the Badals inaugurating their new business venture in the form of a resort and spa in Mullanpur, near here, stating that it smacked of brazen promotion of self-interest. Reacting to the news report by The Indian Express that Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s pet project – the Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort and Spa – has become fully operational from Thursday, senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar said, “The resort would be akin to Taj Mahal for the Badal family where their dreams of ruling Punjab for 25 years will lie buried.”
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Jakhar said the resort was a cruel joke on the people of the state who have been awaiting fulfilment of false promises made by the Akalis. “As they say in Hindi, ye to chhati pe moong dalne wali baat hai. Without feeling any compunction for pain and suffering of the people of the state, they are busy expanding their businesses. This will draw people’s ire who will not tolerate their mockery by putting up extravagant shows of wealth,” he stated, adding that the move will boomerang against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Punjab Congress leaders Jagmohan Singh Kang, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Deepinder Singh Dhillon accused the Badals of brazenly promoting their own interests. Accusing Badals of “misleading and befooling the people with false announcements, without having any intention of ensuring their implementation”, they demanded immediate imposition of the code of conduct by the Election Commission in the state to “prevent the government from continuing to abuse official machinery to promote Akali interests”.
The Aam Aadmi Party, too, issued a statement saying the Punjab government permitted the construction of the Metro Eco Green Resort, Pallanpur, belonging to the Badal family, by violating the state policy regarding ecotourism and other norms and even by concealing facts.
Dinesh Chadha, co-convener of RTI Wing of AAP, said in a statement that construction of this resort was against environment norms and even against the rights of local people and residents of Kandi. Chadha further revealed that according to the Punjab Eco Tourism Policy (2009), the aim of launching the ecotourism project is to secure the livelihood of local residents with development of permissible and ecologically sound ecotourism infrastructure and to improve their economic conditions. “It is specifically mentioned in this policy that the ecotourism project will not be allowed purely on commercial consideration. But, on the other hand, the Metro Eco Green Resort has been constructed on commercial considerations in collaboration with The Oberois instead of improving the economic condition of local residents,” he claimed.
Chadha also alleged that rules regarding setting up of the resort had been circumvented and facts concealed while taking permission to use land for the purpose.