With the change in guard at Local Bodies Department, earlier headed by Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Improvement Trusts across the state are set to get chairpersons.
These chairpersons, who were political appointees, were relieved by Sidhu in March 2017, who had handed over their work to government officials designated as Administrators or Improvement Trusts.
After Sidhu’s exit, a month ago, the state government has now prepared to appoint political leaders of Congress party as chairpersons. To start with, four ITs in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala are set to get chairpersons. The orders are likely to be issued this week. The file is awaiting Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s clearance.
Sources said the government was planning to accommodate several political leaders in Improvement Trusts. As the only less than three years of this government’s regime is left, several political leaders have been awaiting to be accommodated in government departments. The delay has been a cause of disquiet.
Sidhu had dissolved all the Improvement Trusts in the state and relieved chairpersons and trustees across Punjab.
He had said he had taken the decision to ensure greater transparency and efficiency in the working of these trusts. He said the trusts would now be headed by Administrators (Deputy Commissioners/SDMs) appointed by the government, till further orders. Since then IAS and PCS officers were heading these trusts.
The chairpersons and trustees of Improvement Trusts are political appointments. There are 28 Improvement Trusts in Punjab.
Sidhu has said till the time they appointed new chairpersons and trustees, they had handed over the work to the government officials so that people do not suffer and the work did not come to a standstill.
Earlier, soon after taking over the reins of the state the government wanted to disband all trusts saying these had no work to do as municipal bodies were taking care it all public works. When the issue was taken to Cabinet two years ago, Sidhu had opposed it tooth and nail. However later, Sidhu had relieved all chairpersons.