The battle for credit over development projects resulted in a farcical situation at Sangrur district, where Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal inaugurated a rail over-bridge (RoB) on the Sangrur-Bathinda-Patiala highway on Thursday afternoon. The same RoB had, however, already been inaugurated on August 11 by former Congress MP Vijay Inder Singla, in whose tenure the project had been sanctioned by the then UPA government at the Centre.
The district administration had even opened up the rail over-bridge to the general public for about two hours on August 11 but then quickly had it closed by deputing security to the site and cordoning it off with ropes. The administration appeared to have been anticipating the deputy chief minister’s visit, which finally materialised on Thursday, some nine days after the first inauguration.
The foundation for the project, built at a total cost of Rs 30 crore, was laid by then railways minister Pawan Bansal. Singla claimed that it was a project of the UPA government and that it was funded jointly by the ministeries of transport and railways. He claimed that he was responsible for it being sanctioned.
The former Congress MP was, however, also in a hurry to take the credit for himself by throwing it open to the public on August 11.
The authorities then had it closed on the grounds that final touches were being given to the construction work, which began about two years ago.
Ironically, the administration’s decision to close the RoB ended up inconveniencing supporters of SAD, who were all headed to Longowal village, where the Punjab government hosted an event to celebrate Sant Harchand Singh Longowal’s death anniversary on Thursday. The ruling party supporters had to take a longer route to the venue, bypassing the RoB, as Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal was scheduled to inaugurate it only after the function.