Bathinda, August 21
Started a month before the Vidhan Sabha elections this year, the project to metal a 5.5-km road stretch that connects six villages in the Goniana block, has come to a halt for “want of funds” now.
There is a huge resentment among villagers even as some of the material brought to the site for the work is lying piled up at the spot. The project was started by the Congress government, but now with the change of guard in the state, the work has stopped.
For decades, residents of Mehma Sarja, Kothe Gehri Wale, Mehma Swai, Kothe Inder Singhwale, Kothe Natha Singhwale and Kothe Sapura Singhwala villages have been demanding that the ‘kutcha’ road stretch be metalled so that they do not have to face inconvenience for daily commute. However, the successive governments have failed to take concrete steps to take up and finish the project till now.
Villagers feel cheated, threaten stir
We have been cheated by the previous government for the sake of votes. One layer of crushed stone was laid by the contractor before the model code of conduct came into effect, but the work never resumed after that. If the work does not resume, we will start an indefinite agitation against the AAP government. —Jalandhar Singh, Bathinda resident
A villager, Malkit Singh, said, “The project was conveniently planned just before the elections by the Congress government so that votes of these half-dozen villages can be garnered easily. Now it has come to halt as the AAP has formed the government in the state. However, our demand is that developmental works like this one, which will benefit residents of six villages directly, must not be stalled merely for politics.”
Residents of these villages are upset as the contractor for the project has started lifting the material such as stones and gravel from the site. The residents are now raising their concern over the recent development and want the administration to intervene and resume the work.
Another local Jalandhar Singh said, “We have been cheated by the previous government for the sake of votes. One layer of crushed stone was laid by the contractor before the model code of conduct came into effect, but the work never resumed after that. We will not let anyone lift the material meant for metalling of the road. If the work is not resumed then we will start an indefinite agitation against the administration and government.”
Executive Engineer, PWD, Satish Kumar Goyal said, “The previous government had provided Rs 10 lakh for the project, but the estimated cost for completion of the project is around Rs 1.5 crore. We are looking for a contractor of MGNREGA.”
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