MANDI BAHAUDDIN-Before his visit to Mandi Bahauddin tomorrow, the local people criticised Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for reneging on the promises the PML-N made during the 2013 electioneering.

The CM will start the construction work of Road Bridge over the River Jhelum near Malakwal. He will also address a public meeting at Malakwal. Talking about the chief minister’s visit, the people said the bridge was their old demand and its fulfillment would save time and reduce distance to travel between Pind Dadin Khan and Malakwal.

Commenting on the Punjab government’s performance, they said the the CM did not fulfill his promises he made during election campaign. “New DHQ Hospital project was sanctioned in 2004 and work on it started about eight years ago. The project was left halfway and it has not completed yet. Engineering and Technology College Rasul was upgraded to Engineering and Technology University and classes were commenced about two year back. Later, the university was again downgraded to college and students attending university programmes were forced to migrate to other universities,” they said.

About the road infrastructure, the people said highway from Laither village to Miana Gondal had recently been completed. They said it was also sanctioned during PMLQ government and its major portion from Gujrat to Laither was constructed during PPP Government with efforts of PPP parliamentarians of the district. With reference to the government departments’ performance, they said their staff was corrupt and public suffers at their hands. They misuse their powers with impunity and there is no check on them, they said. Claims for improving police culture also proved to be false as police culture has been further corrupted and the poor get no relief from police, they said.

The villagers also showed displeasure over Revenue Department’s performance, they said they have to face problems relating to land. Wrong Khewat blocks with changed entries in revenue records were added to computer system and for their correction the land holders have to make several visits to the revenue centres, they said.

Even the obtaining of the copy of Jamabandi and mutations takes one to two days since all counters in the centres do not function regularly, they said.

They said long time back the CM had ordered the district administration to rehabilitate the village ponds after removing encroachments but these orders were never implemented. Consequently, the land mafia occupied the land and constructed buildings, they said. In some cases, villagers complained to relevant authorities but could not succeed in getting village ponds land vacated, they said.

They however acknowledged that with the efforts of incumbent government, power loadshedding has reduced. About supply of gas they said its unscheduled loadshedding continue and when it comes its pressure remains very low. They said irrigation system had been paralysed due to lack of maintenance and farmers face acute shortage of water to irrigate their fields.

They said farmers were facing several problems in carrying out farming. “Pesticides are not only very expensive but also adulterated. Other agriculture inputs like fertilisers and farming equipment have become more expensive. The expenditure on farming is more than the cost of inputs and labour,” they said. They urged the CM to take a note of the problems.

Protest as police trespass on house

Hundreds of people staged a protest in front of Malakwal Press Club against police for committing house trespass and lifting a 14-year-old boy from his house in Mona Saidan village.

They raised slogans against the police and demanded the DPO dismiss SHO Naeem Gujar and ASI Irfan for misusing their power. They said police continue indulging in registering false cases on the instance of their informers and resort to physical torture if their demands of bribe are not met. They alleged that there was no FIR or arrest warrants issued by competent authority against Saqib Shabbir who was lifted from his home by police. They said there was dire need to enforce accountability in police department for reining in the black sheep. The protest participants blocked the road and set tyres on fire. They said police officials who harass and blackmail citizens be traced out and legal proceedings be initiated against them.