Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh pointing out “serious lapses” in the developmental works in his Amritsar East constituency, reported NDTV on Friday. This is the first time Sidhu has directly communicated with the chief minister after he quit from his position in the state Cabinet last year.
“The work on five bridges that the CM inaugurated in October 2018, costing Rs 137 crore, (two of these bridges are in Amritsar East), has been going on at snail’s pace,” the letter, dated July 16 said, according to Hindustan Times. “Even after I personally made efforts to take approvals by hand from the railway ministry, which otherwise takes years, tenders done, permissions taken and funds submitted, nothing has fructified so far.”
The letter pointed out that Singh had recommended work, costing Rs 5 crore, under the Punjab Environmental Improvement Project (Phase-1) for Sidhu’s constituency in December but “nothing has been done so far”.
The MLA also noted that Singh had allocated Rs 24 crore under the Punjab Environmental Improvement Project (Phase-2) in June this year. “I had submitted details and specifications for Rs 11 crore worth development works under the aforesaid scheme,” the letter added. “But the MC has sent me details for the projects worth Rs 7 crore to be recommended for future development of my constituency.”
The letter added that the Amritsar Improvement Trust had approved Rs 13 crore for his constituency but the projects were stalled. Sidhu claimed that “nothing has moved” in Amritsar East since he resigned. He further added that he had patiently waited for more than a year and been in touch with authorities.
The letter was also marked to the state’s Chief Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Suresh Kumar and Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon. An unidentified state government official told Hindustan Times that Dhillon had sent a copy of the letter to the municipal corporation and the improvement trust officials. A status report on the development projects has also reportedly been sought.
The relationship between Singh and Sidhu worsened since the General Elections in April and May. Sidhu had backed his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s allegation that Singh was responsible for her not getting a ticket for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. Singh had dismissed these allegations.
After the results were out on May 23, the chief minister had said Sidhu’s “damaging remarks” may have led to the party’s defeat in the Bathinda seat. In response, Sidhu alleged a nexus between senior Congress leaders and the Badals of the Shiromani Akali Dal. However, he did not name the chief minister in this alleged network. Following this, Sidhu resigned as state minister on June 10.