Gurdaspur, September 17
Eleven years after the then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal laid the foundation stone of the new bus stand in Gurdaspur, the venture is yet to see the light of day.
When Badal had laid the foundation stone in August, 2012, little would he have imagined that the project would perennially get mired in red tapism and politicking.
The list of politicians and bureaucrats involved in its planning and execution included two CMs, one Deputy CM, an MP, two MLAs and several DCs. As things stand out, it is turning out to be a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
In the beginning, the 5-acre site, acquired by the Improvement Trust (IT) for the project, remained mired in controversies for several years. The planners failed to take cognisance of a religious place located nearby. A committee headed by the DC was formed to look into the issue.
However, even after several months of its formation, the panel failed to come up with anything concrete. Some order to the chaos was brought when yet another committee, this time headed by Dy Director, Local Bodies, managed to find a solution.
Finally, after much dilly-dallying, tenders were called. In March 2012, a local contractor was given the assignment for Rs 14.92 crore with a mandate to complete the project by December 2021.
The deadline was extended on multiple occasions. Based on a technicality, the government released Rs 1.49 crore more for the project. The contractor was blacklisted after he again overshot the time limit. Now, he has been substituted by another contractor. The rigmarole goes on while residents continue to suffer.
DC Himanshu Aggarwal has now decided to get tough. He has warned the new contractor of any laxity.
“It is a money-spinning project and obviously everyone wants to milk the cow. The delay suits the interests of the stakeholders,” an official said.
The bottom-line is that nobody knows for sure when the first bus will move out from the stand.
Will ensure project’s completion soon: aap leader
Senior AAP leader from Gurdaspur, Raman Bahl, said he was coordinating with the government to ensure that the project gets completed soon. “In future, the completion of projects where public money is involved should be made time-bound,” he said.
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