The long-pending demand of at least five villages located in the foothills of Shivalik ranges in Mohali, to construct small bridges on the seasonal rivulet Patiala Ki Rao, is yet to be met by the administration. The lackadaisical attitude of the administration has claimed five lives in the span of one and half months.
Sajjan Singh, the sarpanch of Tanda village, where a couple died after being washed away in the strong currents on Sunday evening, told The Indian Express that they have been demanding small bridges (pulleys) at six places in the seasonal rivulet for the safe passage of the people in the area.
“The rivulet swerves at many places in our area and there is a need of six pulleys. One is most urgently needed in our village, where two incidents of people being washed away in the flashfloods have been reported since July 6, but the administration has not done anything,” Sajjan Singh said. He added that he has written letters to the local MLAs, MP and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, but to no avail.
Sajjan Singh also claimed that in the past, outsiders lost lives in the area. He added that a pulley had been built at Haryana side but they have been demanding it on their side as well. Tanda is the last village of the district on Punjab-Haryana border and is prone to flashfloods after heavy rain.
Kuldeep Singh, a panchayat member of the village, further explained that due to the absence of pulleys, at least five villages – Tanda, Tandi, Masol, Kanhe ka Bara and Parch are affected. He said that the residents of the five villages face danger of flashfloods and also could not cross the rivulet safely.
Gurnam Singh, another panchayat member said, “It is not a big deal for the administration but due to their ignorant attitude, the people here are suffering. The area is located near the state capital Chandigarh and on the outskirts of New Chandigarh (Mullanpur Garibdas), where top bureaucrats and politicians reside but nobody cares for us.”
Police had also recovered the body of a Chandigarh resident, John Masih, from Teera village near Mullanpur Garibdas (New Chandigarh). Masih, a resident of Sector 56, had gone to the church on his bicycle when he got washed away. His body was recovered on Monday.
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The area falls in Kharar state assembly constituency and in Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency. Punjab cabinet minister Anmol Ganag Maan is the MLA from Kharar while Congress’s Manish Tiwari is the MP from Anandpur Sahib. Maan was not available for comments as her phone was switched off. Speaking to The Indian Express, Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tiwari said that he had taken up the issue with the deputy commissioner on Monday after the unfortunate incident. He added that he would take up the issue with the state government to expedite the project. “The DC informed me that the estimates were already sent to the concerned department to build five bridges in the area,” the MP added.
Bodies of Sajjan Singh and Sunita Rani, the couple who washed away on Sunday evening, were recovered Tuesday from Dhanas in Chandigarh. Sunita was also a panchayat member of Tanda village. The couple is survived by two young sons.