Three weeks after Bathinda witnessed waterlogging, Punjab Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra on Friday visited the city and said that blame game will always hamper development.
Interacting with Mayor Balwant Rai Nath and other officials of the Municipal Corporation, the minister said, “Blame game always hamper development. Hence I feel that the MC should stop saying that the Punjab government is not giving them money. Send me viable proposals for the city and I will pass them all, irrespective of the fact that the SAD-BJP alliance is ruling this corporation. Even if the mayor of the city is from SAD, it does not matter to us. We will ensure that Bathinda will not be waterlogged when it rains in next monsoon.”
“At the same time, I need to advise that corporations across the state should be self-sufficient and should be able to raise their own funds. In Bathinda, in the last financial year, expenses amounted to Rs 34 crore while income was Rs 32 crore. Collection from property tax section is in negative. So, I feel that tax collection should be improved as, ultimately, this money will be used for city only. The staff responsible for poor collection of property tax will be questioned and asked to expedite the recovery.”
During an interaction with the media, he admitted that the process of draining out rain water from low lying areas and execution of few projects was slow to some extent. “But now I want to assure everyone that the flaws have been detected now and all problems will soon be resolved,” the minister said.
He pointed out that the big pond near DAV College will soon be de-silted so that maximum quantity of rainwater can be accumulated in it. “The contract between the state government and Triveni Company— assigned the task of developing infrastructure of Water Supply and Sewerage and its Operation and Maintenance—will be reviewed and wherever lies the problem will be sorted out immediately,” the minister said.
Replying to a query about the new projects, the minister revealed that the tender of Rs 48.53 crore has already been invited by the Sewerage Board under AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) Scheme. “Under this scheme, augmentation of sewerage will be done by setting up new pumps and new rising mains will be installed,” he said.
Mohindra further said that monetary benefits would be offered to those whose houses have been damaged in the recent rains. He said that the officials have already been assigned the task of conducting girdawri after which the benefits would be given to them.
Last month, Bathinda had received 178 mm rainfall on a single day and the city was flooded for three days. The city did not have power supply for a few days and even the ration had to be provided to them by the administration.