Demolition drive at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront: Ludhiana MC, forest dept caught in blame game over damage to public property

As per the Ludhiana MC officials, the action taken by forest department on April 6 damaged public property worth around 25 lakh at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront
Damaged concrete structures around trees at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront in Sarabha Nagar in Ludhiana. An inquiry was marked to MC additional commissioner Aaditya Dachawal over the issue, which is still going on. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Damaged concrete structures around trees at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront in Sarabha Nagar in Ludhiana. An inquiry was marked to MC additional commissioner Aaditya Dachawal over the issue, which is still going on. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Published on May 17, 2022 11:10 PM IST
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By, Ludhiana

Even 40 days after the forest department demolished seating areas (marble), cycling and jogging tracks established within one-metre radius of the trees at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront in Sarabha Nagar, the authorities have failed to fix the responsibility of the officials for damage to public property.

MC and forest department at loggerheads

As per the forest department officials, the action was taken on the orders of district court wherein the department was directed to comply with the orders issued by National Green Tribunal (NGT). Last year, the NGT had ordered removal of concrete/tiles installed around 1 metre radius of trees. The petition was filed by the Council of Engineers over alleged damage to the trees due to installation of tiles and pouring concrete around them.

The civic body officials claimed that no notice was issued by the forest department regarding the demolition drive and the department officials also allegedly trespassed into the waterfront by breaking the entry gate lock. The MC officials further said even if the forest department had to comply with the court’s orders, changes should have been made manually to reduce the loss, rather than deploying JCB machines. Claiming that they had availed no-objection certificate (NoC) from the forest department, the municipal authorities questioned why no action was not taken by the forest department when the waterfront was being established.

As per the civic body officials, the action taken by forest department on April 6 damaged public property worth around 25 lakh. The project has been established by the municipal corporation (MC) at a cost of 4.74-crore under Smart City Mission.

MLA Gurpreet Gogi had also inspected the site and assured that responsibility will be fixed.

An inquiry was marked to MC additional commissioner Aaditya Dachawal, which is still going on.

Mayor Balkar Sandhu said he had written to the then MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal to register an FIR against the forest department officials. As he (Sabharwal) has been transferred, he will take up the matter with current MC commissioner Shena Aggarwal, he said.

Gogi said he will be conducting a meeting with Aggarwal soon, and responsibility of the concerned officials will be fixed. Strict departmental action will be recommended against the officials responsible for the same, he said.

Dachalwal said the inquiry is going on and soon, a report will be submitted with the MC commissioner.

MC initiates repair work

The MC officials said for now, the MC has initiated temporary repair work at the waterfront site for convenience of the public as a large number of residents visit the green belt for morning and evening walk, and for spending leisure time.

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