It is Singla’s vision versus Sidhu-ism
Sanjay Bumbroo & P.K. Jaiswar

As the poll campaign has reached a feverish pitch, the two major political contenders for the by-election of the Lok Sabha seat, Mr Surinder Singla and Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Congress and BJP candidates, respectively, have listed their priorities if they are voted to power.

Mr Singla says that unlike the BJP candidate he is a thorough politician and has accepted the challenge to contest the Lok Sabha election with a single motive of serving the voters of the constituency.

“I don’t have any other work to do except serving the voters since I am not going to spare time to earn money by participating in TV shows like “Laughter Challenge” or promoting the interests of business houses by appearing in advertisements or giving cricket commentary.”

He says he would focus on making the historical town into a international cultural pilgrim centre besides seeking to resurrect the infrastructure as mentioned in his “vision paper” (poll manifesto).

Handing out a well-documented list of poll promises, Mr Singla says the government is in the process of implementing Rs 3,150 crore Centrally-sponsored projects for water, sewage, roads and a mass rapid transport system for improving the infrastructure under the Jawaharlal Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

He claims that the Holy City would be developed as an agro-based food processing destination besides developing it as the regional hub for health and education by initiating integrated infrastructure development plan with focus on strengthening the existing system and providing improved access to planned housing and urban needs.

The government has earmarked Rs 36 crore for the conservation of the heritage of the city. Besides, the tourism sector will get an international convention centre at a total outlay of Rs 105 crore.

He says he would also stress on urban basic infrastructure through the implementation of a drinking water and sanitation scheme at a cost of Rs 312 crore. The project also envisages an integrated and sustainable transport system for setting up of mass rapid transit system at a cost of Rs 2,567 crore which will soon be implemented.

On the housing scheme for the poor, Mr Singla says his main thrust would be to provide 14,000 housing units and basic infrastructure facilities at a cost of Rs 120 crore besides strengthening the urban governance by investing Rs 10 crore.

His ambitious projects for the city include the setting up of a textile park. He proposes to invite national and international textile companies to establish units under the national textile parks policy.

He says he would also strive for setting up a jewellery manufacturing and export zone-cum-trade centre in the city on lines of Surat and Mumbai.

He says he would also take steps for setting up a fruit and vegetable hub at the cost of Rs 200 crore, a cricket stadium and an international export centre.

Navjot Singh Sidhu

“I have highlighted various issues concerning the residents of this constituency in the Lok Sabha. Apart from inspecting the Wagah border and Rajasansi International Airport, I visited remote areas to have first-hand information regarding plight of the voters. I raised 400 questions in Parliament which no other MP from the region had ever done in such a short period. My main thrust was to pressurise the Centre into announcing various projects for the economic development of the city.

It was due to my efforts that the Centre had initiated several projects which include the completion of four-laning project from Jalandhar to Wagah which was stalled due to various reasons.”

Mr Sidhu says: “During my tenure as MP, I had distributed all funds granted under the MP Local Area Development fund (MPLAD) to the tune of Rs 6.7 crore. I was also instrumental in the release of MPLAD funds which remained unutilised by the previous MPs, including Mr R.L. Bhatia.

He says his main priorities for the city would be setting up of the Amritsar Development Authority, which would be responsible for overall and systematic development of the city, besides promoting religious tourism.

He says various religious places and tourist spots in and around the city would be connected through widening roads and developing the infrastructure. These roads would be further connected with Rajasansi International Airport which would facilitate the tourists not only from India but also from abroad.

He wants to turn the city into a model city by upgrading Amritsar International Airport, setting up infrastructure to provide better facilities to the tourists besides increasing the flights to the city to boost the economy.

He says he would also strive to provide flats at subsidised rates to the economically weaker sections and people living in slums. He says he would lay stress on the revival of traditional trades, including textiles, fan, jewellery and other industries, which have been on verge of extinction due to the wrong industrial policies of the Centre.



No big talk, only silent work
Sanjay Bumbroo & P.K. Jaiswar

The election battlefield is not new for Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, the lone woman candidate from this border belt.

A BJP candidate from the Amritsar (Central) constituency, she started her political career in 1967 as a youth leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

She has a number of achievements to her credit during her political career spanning over 34 years. The prominent ones are the opening up of the Government College for Boys, which was closed by the Congress government even after a protest by poor students.

Now the state vice-president of the BJP, Ms Chawla remained an MLA for two consecutive terms from 1992. She lost the election in 2002 to Mr Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha.

The firebrand leader is known for her crusade against police atrocities and social evils like female feticide, domestic violence against women.

About her priorities, she says if the SAD-BJP government is formed, she would strive hard for making education for girls up to Class XIII mandatory as they are the most affected due to illiteracy and poor financial conditions of parents.

She says she would urge the government to waive the fee for the girls so that these girls do not have any problem in getting their education.

The BJP stalwart, who is a law graduate and has done her three post graduate degrees, says the crime rate in the Central constituency as well as in the district has increased manifold as the police had failed miserably to contain the activities of anti-social elements.

Due to unemployment, the youths are getting addicted to drugs, which also led to spurt in the petty crimes like chain and mobile-snatching incidents.

Condemning the Congress, she says it has failed to control the prices of the essential commodities.



150 students participate in contests

The Postgraduate Department of Computer Science of the Khalsa College for Women has organised a two-day programme wherein competitions were held. As many as 150 students from different colleges in Jalandhar, Nakodar, Mukandpur, Phagwara, Sarhali, Batala, Deena Nagar and Gurdaspur participated.

Bug hunting, software development, quiz, paper presentation, web page designing, programming skills, songs and solo dance competitions added charm to the programme.

If the boys showed their sharp wits by being winners in the technical competitions then the girls did not lag behind as they brought laurels by winning the singing and dance competitions. — OC



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