M A I N   N E W S

Eye on urban voter, Fazilka, Pathankot made districts
Not fair, says BJP MLA from Batala; threatens to resign
Naveen S Garewal/TNS

Chandigarh, July 27
Months before the assembly elections, the SAD-BJP government in Punjab today announced the creation of two more districts of Fazilka and Pathankot, taking the number of districts in the state to 22.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal said the Punjab Cabinet, at its meeting today, approved the creation of the districts. This was done on the recommendation of a two-member committee comprising Local Government Minister Tiksan Sud and Sukhbir.

The move is seen as part of the SAD-BJP policy to appease the urban voter. Last week, the alliance had announced a package for urban areas at a function in Jalandhar.

Sukhbir said the newly created Fazilka district would consist of three subdivisions (Fazilka, Jalalabad and Abohar) and three sub-tehsils (Arniwala Sheikh Suban, Sito Guno and Khuian Sarwar). Pathankot district would comprise two subdivisions of Pathankot and Dharkalan and the sub-tehsils of Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamial.

While the announcement was welcomed in Pathankot and Fazilka, it came as a shock to residents and BJP leaders of Batala, who were hoping that Batala would be made a district too. The BJP MLA from Batala, Jagdish Sawhney, told The Tribune that he would take up the matter with the party high command and resign from the Vidhan Sabha in protest, if need be.

Sawhney, who was on his way to Delhi, said Pathankot has been made a district merely because Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma belonged to Pathankot and wanted to contest the elections from there. “Batala’s claim to district status was stronger than that of Pathankot. The people were promised that Batala would be made a district way back in 1993. They are bound to be diappointed”.

Surjit Kumar Jaiyani, BJP legislator from Fazilka and Punjab’s Technical Education Minister, had gone on an indefinite fast, demanding district status for Fazilka. Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar had also been pleading for district status for Abohar.

The Cabinet today also approved the upgradation of the sub-tehsil of Dharmkot in Moga district and that of Guru Harsahai in Ferozepur district, making these as subdivisions. 





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