Updated: September 10, 2021 7:43:42 am
Union minister Som Parkash on Wednesday wrote to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh demanding that Phagwara, a sub-division in Kapurthala, be named as a separate district.
The letter from Parkash, who is an MP from Hoshiarpur, comes at a time when Amarinder has stated stated that a proposal to declare Batala sub-division under Gurdaspur as a separate district was under “active consideration”.
“It has been reported in the media that the Punjab government is considering making Batala a district. It is pertinent to mention that Phagwara is an old industrial town on the main national highway between Ludhiana and Jalandhar. It is separated from the main district (Kapurthala) by Jalandhar district – it is not contiguous with the main district. People of this area face a lot of problems as they have to travel far to the district headquarter for redressal of their grievances,” Parkash wrote in his letter to CM.
The letter, whose copies were released to the media too, further said, “It has been a long-standing demand for granting district status to Phagwara by including Phillaur, Goraya (in Jalandhar district) and Behram (in Nawanshahr). Earlier also, requests to this effect have been made which are pending consideration.”
The minister of state for commerce and industry wrote, “Keeping in view the emerging needs from administrative point of view and demand of the general public, it is expedient that creation of a new district of Phagwara be announced in order to give justice to the aspiration of the people.”
Meanwhile, former Congress minister and serving chairman of Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, Joginder Singh Mann, too said that they have been trying to get Phagwara declared as a district since 1985, when the residents of Madali village, led by Dr Des Raj Sharma, had formed an Aman Committee to press for the demand.
“The matter was raised before then chief minister Harcharan Singh Brar of Congress. During his visit to Nawanshahr, the Aman Committee had put forth their demand. But nothing was done,” said Mann.
“We have a separate Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) for Phagwara, separate Superintendent of Police and a separate Municipal Corporation since 2015. What else do we need to become a district now,” asked Mann, adding that Phagwara municipal corporation came into existence much before Kapurthala MC did in 2019 despite the fact that the latter was a district ever since the formation of Punjab.
“We need to travel at least 50km to get our work done at the district headquarter in Kapurthala. Phagwara has no direct connection with its district headquarters. So, we first go to Jalandhar district and then reach Kapurthala, which makes no sense,” he said.
Jasbir Singh Garhi, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state president, however, slammed Parkash for bringing up the demand now and stated that the BJP was in power for 10 years during the SAD-BJP regime from 2007 to 2017 in Punjab. Som Parkash was the MLA from Phagwara during that time. “Why did he not write such letters to the government then. If it is a long pending demand of the people of Phagwara, then why was Som Parkash silent during his tenure as the area’s MLA,” Garhi asked .
He, however also, made it clear that he wasn’t against Phagwara being declared as a separate district.
“I personally feel that Phagwara should be declared as a district because of its detachment from Kapurthala which causes inconvenience to the people. But shooting off this letter (to the CM) is just a political gimmick and nothing else,” he said, adding that SAD-BSP will set right the entire administrative structure of Punjab if it comes to power in 2022.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.