As life in Bathinda limped backed to normalcy after being severely waterlogged for two days, the ruling Congress and the opposition Akali Dal continued trading charges over the civic mess in the city.
While Congress claimed that the Municipal Corporation, which was elected in February 2015 and has Akali Dal in majority, has Rs 40 crores lying unused in its kitty, SAD accused the ruling party of not releasing funds for development work after coming to power in the state.
On Thursday, water receded from most parts of the city, except in few areas like Sirki bazar and the bus stand area. Electricity supply resumed and schools opened after a gap of two days.
Mayor Balwant Rai Nath and other SAD leaders held a meeting to assess the situation Thursday. After the meeting, Rai alleged that Congress played politics just because corporation house had SAD’s majority.
“Before Congress government, all works were being done smoothly in MCB, but problem arose after Congress came into power. They didn’t provide funds, pending payment of Trevani hasn’t been released by them.”
Bathinda Congress chief Arun Wadhawan said: “Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal tried to shift entire blame to Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal. Bathinda Mayor Balwant Rai Nath and former MLA Sarup Chand Singla always claim of not having funds, but Rs 40 crore, which were released for various projects, have not been used by the corporation. Out of this, Rs 43.46 lakh unused amount was released from the MPLAD fund of Harsimrat Badal. Will Mayor Balwant Rai Nath reveal why these funds are still unutilised even as Harsimrat Badal has become MP for the third time. Is it the nalayaki of the Mayor.”
Congress leaders also released details of the funds earmarked for various projects lying with the Bathinda Municipal Corporation. Congress leaders said that the previous SAD-BJP government gave contract of Rs 211 crores to a firm, Triveni, for enhancing the sewage treatment plant’s capacity and also carry out maintenance work for 10 years. They alleged that while the government rate was Rs 184 crore for the project, SAD picked this private firm at an extra cost of Rs 27 crore.
Congress leaders Jagroop Singh Gill and KK Aggarwal alleged that the waterlogging was due to ill-managed cleaning of the sewage pipes.
The Akali Mayor claimed: “We decided to cancel the maintenance contract of Trevani and agenda was also sent to government but they haven’t cancelled it till date so as to defame us. They didn’t even provide an executive engineer of sewage board for more than a year. That appointment was done a fortnight ago.