In Congress regime, ‘Iron Bird of Asia’ becomes the dirties town in Punjab
Batala, the rusted industrial town of Punjab, has become the worst-performing civic body in the state as per the recent Swachh Survekshan rankings released by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs.
From 186th rank in 2015 it has come down to 438th in 2018 in the country.
In 2015, Batala municipal council got the 4th rank in the state for sanitation conditions. It slipped 17th this year, the worst in the state.
Batala, 32km from Gurdaspur, was once known as the “Iron Bird of Asia” for its foundry industry. The town also holds significance for Sikhs as marriage of Guru Nanak was solemnised here in 1485.
Giving reasons for insanitary conditions in the town, sewerage board junior engineer Balkaranjit Singh said: “We are facing shortage of machinery and manpower. We have only 14 permanent employees and 19 contractual workers. As many new colonies have been added to the sewerage system, we need at least two dozen more employees. Besides, most of the machinery required to clean the sewage is lying defunct due to lack of funds.”
Thought the municipal council has 128 permanent sweepers, the contract of cleaning roads and lifting garbage has been given to a private contractor who has engaged 243 employees.
Admitting laxity, newly appointed executive officer of the municipal council Bhupinder Singh said not only the sanitation wing but the entire administration of the council was responsible for the poor performance.
An MC official, who didn’t want to be named, said despite complaints from residents and sanitary inspectors, the council has not changed the contractor for the past two years.
Three posts of sanitary inspectors are also lying vacant. Moreover, in the absence of a dumping ground, garbage is disposed of in vacant areas of the town.
Local MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal alleged that the council was playing with the lives of the residents. “Heaps of garbage can be seen in every nook and corner of the town, and the MC authorities are not bothered,” he said.