While the Lok Sabha elections could be announced any time and the model code of conduct enforced, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the president of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, and his wife Harsimrat Kaur, the party’s MP from Bathinda, have gone on a foundation stone-laying spree.
On Thursday, Mr. Badal laid the foundation stone for 10 “development projects” worth Rs 267.07 crore, which included sewerage treatment projects at Majitha, Kot Isse Khan, Dharamkot, Nihalsinghwala, Badhni Kalan, Mallanwala, Mamdot, Guru Har Sahai, Fazilka and Abohar. Wednesday witnessed Mr. Badal laying the foundation stone of north India’s first metro bus system that would become operational in Amritsar at a cost of Rs. 580 crore.
It is claimed that the project, to be constructed and implemented under the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), will transform the tourism scenario by providing the “ultimate mobility solution.” The project will have a six-km elevated passage along with metro stations.
Mr. Badal also laid the foundation stone for Cargill’s Rs 70 crore greenfield dairy feed project, which will make Punjab a “Dairy Hub” of the country besides boosting the income of dairy farmers. The Bathinda-based facility is expected to produce 1.20 lakh metric tonnes of feed annually.
At another function, the Deputy CM laid the foundation stone for a Rs. 450 crore multi-storey housing project in Bathinda. The project is part of the State government’s scheme to construct one lakh dwelling units for the economically weaker sections in the next two years.
On February 22, Ms. Kaur presided over 27 functions to launch “development projects” and, on February 26, her itinerary included 47 events where she laid foundation stones or inaugurated projects. She is also reported to have distributed cards to 15,000 beneficiaries of the scheme to provide atta at subsidised rates.