No more Paris of Punjab

After the Partition, the only planned colony developed by the improvement trust has been the Model Town. The lackadaisical attitude of the Urban Development Depart-ment has helped private colonisers to exploit the housing sector. Colonies have been carved out of governent land. These colonies have no sewerage, drinking water supply system, metalled roads, parks etc, which are the necessary components of planned development.  

While the health services have been in a shambles since Independence, the condition of the Civil Hospital’s building has been dilapidating with each passing year. The X-ray plant is out of order t of the times, forcing poor patients to get their X-rays from private clinics, which are mushrooming in front of the hospital. The intensive care centre has broken beds and dirty linen.   The indifferent attitude of the authorities towards maintaining the bus stand, can be gauged from the fact that garbage is dumped in front of the bus stand and the entire area is full of potholes which are a great nuisance during rains. The bathrooms are not properly maintained and the shops selling eatables overcharge.  

The town has the famous Shalimar Bagh which was once famous for holding the Basant Mela. Earlier, the bagh had beautiful flowers, trees and fountains. Today it is without any greenery and has become encroachers’ paradise. Even a local girls’ college has encroached upon its area. The swimming pool in the bagh requires minor repairs to make it functional, but it is beyond comprehension as to why the municipal council is shy of undertaking repairs.  

The Kamra Gardens and the Mall Road where once laburnums stood with their yellow flowers hanging gracefully in summers, now don’t have a single tree. One of the t neglected building, however, is the local club here. Having a French architecture, its beautiful ceiling has been demolished by the club management. And it is not even being maintained on a regular basis.  

The civic amenities provided by the government are in a pathetic state. The Horticulture Department here has hardly planted any trees to beautify the town. Telephone Department does not attend to complaints for days. The poles of telephones and electricity are a major hazard for the traffic since they are located unstrategically on the roads.  

Before the establishment of Lahore University, the local Government College was affiliated to Calcutta University and the college was famous for producing students like Ghulam Mohammad, Governor-General of Pakistan, Swaran Singh, former Union Minister for Defence. But today the education facilities offered to students are inadequate and students have to commute to Jalandhar for postgraduate studies.   Meanwhile, the recent drive against encroachments launched by the district administration under the mandate of High Court was only an eyewash as the Deputy Commissioner’s official residence is encroaching upon an area of 800 ft by 8 ft on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road. This encroachment is a ‘moral booster’ for other encroachers.  

The only Sainik School in the state, established in 1961, is in a dilapidated condition today as the state government has not issued any funds since 1961 for its maintenance. While the school has so far churned out alt 600 officers, the highest amongst all Sainik Schools in the country, the school is barely being able to manage to pay its 125 staff members from a meagre fees being charged from its 600 residential students.  

The usual excuse of resource crunch is not applicable to the municipal council as nazool land/maufi land which vests in the municipal council valued at Rs 100 crore is not being resumed by the bureaucracy.   The successive municipal committees of Kapurthala have eroded its beauty – the stately mansions, beautiful orchards, lush green lawns. Fountains have been demolished and the Mall Road subject to restaurants. This is a dying town due to the apathy of its citizens.

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