High Profile Segment
Jalandhar: Major turn of events has been witnessed in Jalandhar Cantonment constituency in the past over a year, bringing entire spotlight on this seat in Doaba region of Punjab.Known as Mecca of Hockey Sansarpur village, Jalandhar Cantonment constituency has been in the eye of storm over key public issues.
Perhaps, it was owing to the importance of Jalandhar Cantt seat that both Congress and Aam Admi Party (AAP) are yet to declare its candidate for this seat. The SAD has fielded ex- Adampur MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar from Jalandhar Cantonment a fortnight ago.
Considered to be a strong Congress bastion till a decade ago, voters in this segment voted consecutively in favour of SAD in year 2007 and 2012 assembly elections. However both the ex-SAD MLAs namely Jagbir Brar and Olympian Pargat Singh left the SAD bastion midway, joining Congress.
Brar joined Congress ahead of 2012 assembly elections while Pargat left SAD in protest against his stand on Solid Waste Management project coming up at Jamsher Dairy complex. Meanwhile, both Congress and AAP was seeing Jalandhar Cantonment as a safe bet, hence the wait over announcing the candidates.
Even the residents in Jalandhar Cantonment had been vocal about their problems ranging from abolition of octroi in cantonment limits which falls under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Defence, setting up of Solid Waste Management plant at Jamsher Dairy complex, broken periphery roads leading to villages and street lights.
One of the major issue, which led to escalating temper among ex-SAD MLA Pargat Singh and SAD-BJP government was Solid Waste Management plant at Jamsher. Pargat strongly opposed the plant with the active support of the villagers, who had announced a do or die war against the project.
“We are glad that Pargat stood by us in our protest against the government. It was following repeated protests and the stand taken by Pargat that the project came to a halt in Jamsher. Nearby villages in the periphery would have been badly affected, as cantonment also houses the Sewerage Treatment Plant at Pholariwal also situated in Jalandhar cantonment”, the villagers said.
Even the continuous water pollution through STP at Pholariwal and the foul smell emanating out of it has made life miserable for the residents in this part of the constituency. “A majority of the people were not much interested in buying houses and property near Pholariwal. Those who have got houses constructed here were looking forward to sell them”, said a group of elderly residents of Pholariwal.
On the other hand, residents of Jalandhar Cantonment too had been on warpath with the Army authorities over roads leading to villages closed by them. Recently, cantonment residents held a protest against the Army authorities and had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his intervention. Villagers from Subhana, Hallotali, Dhina and Garha had shared their woes, stating that the Army authorities had turned a bind eye to their demands.
As if this was not enough, SAD-BJP after coming to power had announced to abolish octroi in Jalandhar Cantonment limits. A major demand of the traders, shopkeepers and the residents, the issue was hanging fire. “The SAD-BJP government won from this seat, promising doing away with octroi. However, 10 years have passed and we were till date paying octroi in cantonment”, the residents maintained.
Incidentally, Sofi Pind village situated in Jalandhar Cantonment was the ancestral village of BJP Punjab chief and Union Minister of State Vijay Sampla, where an ITI would be constructed in a Government School. The foundation stone of Rs 10 crore ITI was laid by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal last week during rally of SAD candidate Sarabjit Singh Makkar.
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