Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s successor in Cabinet, Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra Monday backed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s “non-performer” tag for Sidhu when he said as many as 600 resolutions passed by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) had piled up in the department over last two years.
Talking to The Indian Express, Mohindra, who took over the Local Bodies department a month ago said, “No work was carried out in ULBs as 600 resolutions passed by their elected houses were lying pending in the department. No decision was taken on these resolution and no file was signed. I am now signing a pile of files. I have already cleared 300 of them.”
Mohindra, who has been backing the Chief Minister strongly over Sidhu’s case, also said that no work was allotted on single tender even after Centre’s directions that in the era of e-tendering there was transparency and tenders could be allotted to single bidder.
He said he was already reviewing the One Time Settlement policy brought in by Sidhu which did not have many takers. “We have to take a call. There are 20 to 30 lakh buildings in the state which need regularisation. But only a handful applied to take the benefit. That means there is a flaw in the policy,” he said.
At the same time Mohindra said they were willing to retain Sidhu in the Cabinet. “We really tried. At the time of Dinesh Bassi taking over as Amritsar Improvement Trust chairperson two days ago, I sent Bassi specially to Sidhu’s house. But he was sent back. We wanted Sidhu to be a part of the taking over. But he did not come. I even spoke to Cabinet Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who agreed by forgetting his differences that we should placate Sidhu.”
Hitting out again, he said Dinesh Bassi was a Youth Congress leader who was denied ticket in Assembly elections as Sidhu wanted to contest from Amritsar (east) after joining Congress. “Bassi got ignored then.
He was a hard working man and we wanted him to contest Corporation elections. But Sidhu did not let him get the ticket during municipal corporation elections.”
Mohindra also criticised Sidhu for sending his resignation to party high command instead of the CM, “It is unconstitutional. A Cabinet minister has to send his resignation to his CM. It cannot be sent directly to the Governor or the party chief.”
PROBE INTO CVO’s APPOINTMENT
Mohindra has also ordered an inquiry into the appointment of Chief Vigilance Officer, Local Bodies, Sudeep Manik, appointed by Sidhu two years ago. Mohindra, however, refused to comment on the issue saying he was going through many files and did not want to comment on this yet. Sources said the appointment of CVO was under scanner as it did not have the approval of the government.
The appointment process required a panel of three officers to be sent to the Chief Secretary but the rules were not followed. Sidhu was not available for comment.