CHANDIGARH: Former cricketer and Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who often points a finger at others, is under fire, with eight mayors of municipal corporations in the state raising a banner of revolt against him, alleging that he is not giving any funds for development to their municipalities.
It is learnt that under the leadership of Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu, the eight mayors have decided to meet Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in the coming days to tell him about the functioning of the local bodies department. A Mayor Association of Punjab has also been formed in this regard. Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu has been made the president of the association, as the CM is from Patiala, which will make it easier for Sanjeev to meet Amarinder and tell him about the difficulties faced by the mayors and the municipalities.
The Congress government came to power in the state some seventeen months ago, and Sidhu was made the local bodies minister. The mayors allege that Sidhu is not giving any money to these corporations for developmental work has not been able to fulfil his responsibilities towards the municipalities. "He is just interfering in the work of others to be in the news for right or wrong reasons. He has been poking his nose into other departments and has been giving controversial statements,'' a mayor alleged.
The source said that in various meetings with Sidhu, the eight mayors and the municipal commissioners of the corporations had demanded that the local bodies department release funds for developmental and other works. But the department had hardly given them any money, with only grants from some Centrally sponsored schemes being given.
A 'financial emergency' would -have to be declared in these municipalities as they had hardly any money left for developmental work or to pay the salaries of their staff, the mayors said.
It is learnt that the Mayor of Mohali, Kulwant Singh, has played a vital role in the formation of the Mayor Association of Punjab against Sidhu. Sidhu and Singh have crossed swords on many issues and are bitter critics of each other.
A few months back, Sidhu had said he was deeply hurt as the state government and the Congress party had not sought his views while selecting candidates for mayoral posts.