Thursday, April 28, 2011

District status for Fazilka: Let-down residents get into stir mode

FEROZEPUR: Even after expiry of the one-month deadline set by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to examine the issue of restructuring districts and declaring Fazilka as one, at the time of constituting Sukhbir-Kalia committee, nothing has happened. 

In absence of any concrete action by the government, which promised to accord district status to Fazilka by March 31, various social, religious and labour organizations have planned a series of agitations to mount pressure on the government. Sushil Gumber, president of Sanjha Morcha, said if the government failed to make an announcement by month-end, the body would launch a people's stir. 

Earlier, the 150-day stir, spearheaded by the morcha, was called off on January 8, after Punjab forest minister Tikshan Sud assured that Fazilka would be made a district by April-end. Local BJP legislator Surjit Jiyani, who along with Charan Singh, circle president, SAD, went on fast-unto-death at the Clock Tower for a few days in January, had ended their protests following Sud's assurance. 

Though Surjit Kumar Jiyani, local BJP MLA claimed that the state government would keep its promise, political experts pointed out that denial of district status to Fazilka would adversely affect the image of BJP. 

Local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia, who is heading the committee along with Sukhbir Badal, said they had held a couple of meetings in the last few months to discuss restructuring of districts. ''We are hoping that something positive will emerge during the next meeting, which would be convened once Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal returns from abroad,'' he said. 

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