Pathetic state of civic amenities in Punjab
I have spent almost all my life in Amritsar and seen this place grow from a spiritual hub to one of the most visited cities by the tourists in India. Since my college days, I have met with people in and around this constituency, talked to them about what they feel has been lacking in Amritsar. And it is the same old story. Lack of civic amenities still plagues the golden city. Despite the ruling party clearing 6,000 crores for civic amenities projects a year ago with 2016 fixed as the deadline for completion I literally see no change whatsoever. Take a stroll in the bazaar adjacent to the Golden Temple and you will understand what I am talking about. The Amritsar railways station is as ill maintained as anything and we have all witnessed the poor state of broken roads, defunct street lights and sinking swamps of sewage that characterise Amritsar probably more than other cities in the vicinity.
Punjab, as we all know, is highly developed economically but when it comes to basic infrastructure and civic amenities we are left red faced. Illegal hotels have mushroomed all around the DarbarSaheb and close proximity to the bus stand and railway station has given them great business but it is the local residents who are suffering as these hotels do not follow the bylaws laid down by the Municipality. Another major problem is the poor sewage and drainage system in Amritsar. According to the World Bank report of 2014, Punjab was providing 65 % covered sewage facility to its resident. More than half of them are broken and are in dire need of a getting fixed. Some tenders were passed but the work has not been carried out and it is the common people who continue to suffer. We don’t even have a single clean and well maintained park that is not infested by stray animals in this area. Is this what the golden city has come to? Is Amritsar only for the living of tourists who contribute to its economy and not for the residents?
Punjab provides 200-260 Litres of water per capita per day (LPCD) as compared to the national average of 89.9 LPCD. Then why is that we constantly see water tankers being called to fulfil the requirements? The condition in villages is even worse. There is no one to listen to their plea and no structure whatsoever to handle the problems. What this city lacks is a proper framework to tackle civic problems. Every city faces such problems but not every government keeps sitting on it only to do nothing. I plan to propose a blueprint for water augmentation to reach the demands, to ensure high operation and management and most importantly accountability to customers. We have plans to introduce water and electricity distribution reforms, to renovate and restore parks, sewages, drains and roads and keep the illegal encroachment of hotels in check. We will be sitting with and talking to the various Resident’s Welfare Association of various blocks to address the civic problems at their grassroots and come up with substantial solutions to ensure that the issues of public services are solved at the earliest. The achievement of these tasks depends on the willingness of the state government and we are a strong willed party that believes in developmental politics, unlike the current government.