Patiala lagged behind in development despite ”maharajas” being in power as they had vested interests, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said on Friday in an apparent reference to BJP leader Amarinder Singh.
Singh (80), a former Punjab chief minister, is the scion of the erstwhile royal family in Patiala.
Those in power decorated their own palaces at the cost of the city, Mann alleged after reviewing development projects worth Rs 167 crore.
It is ironic that the ”maharajas” in power were more concerned about their own development rather than that of the city, he said. He said that though Patiala was known as the ‘City of Gardens’, it had lost its sheen in the last few years due to the apathy of those in power. Mann also bemoaned that ”rulers of Punjab” who hailed from Patiala remained callous about the city’s development.
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Mann’s comment evoked sharp reaction from former Singh.
In a tweet, the former chief minister said, ”How ironic! Bhagwant Mann comes to Patiala and says that I have done nothing for the city and then in the same breath goes on to announce the same projects that I had already initiated during my tenure and are near completion.” ”Will the CM stand up and tell us which new projects has he given for the city or state? I think not!” Singh said in another tweet.
Mann said work on majority of the development projects, including the construction of a new bus stand, roads, drain channelisation and beautification, construction of a digital library at Musafir Memorial Central State Library and others, had been hanging fire for a long time. However, his government, which is committed to the development and progress of Patiala, has put these projects on fast-track mode, the AAP leader said. Mann said work on the state-of-the-art bus stand, being constructed to cope with the city’s future needs, would be completed by April 1.
Once operational, 1,500 vehicles will ply from the new bus stand, work on which is 93 per cent complete, Mann said in an official statement.
The existing stand will be used as a city bus stand with shuttle services being introduced to various parts of the city, he said. Rs 20 crore is being spent on ensuring round-the-clock canal water supply to city residents and work to channelise and beautify the model town drain will be completed by March 31, Mann added.
The chief minister also announced that work on all these projects would be completed in a time-bound and result-oriented manner. Responsibility of officers will be fixed if the work is not completed within the stipulated time, he said.