Amarinder government maintains status quo – the loot continues
Chandigarh, February 4: It matters little as to which party is in power in Punjab.
The ten years of Akali Dal-BJP rule angered people to such an extent that they brought in the Congress with an unprecedented mandate in February 2017.
A year later, there is no change on the ground situation. It seems the transition has been too smooth from money-bag Akalis to the ‘poor’ Congress people. It is the turn of the Congress people to make up for the loss and end their ‘poverty’.
The latest to emerge on the Punjab map as the ‘loot capital’ is Bathinda. In news is the ‘goonda tax’ that people from the ruling elite (not just the ruling party) extort from the transporters transporting construction material to Bathinda refinery, Bathinda Cant and Bhisiana Air Force Station to which a civil terminal has also been added.
Everybody who is somebody is learnt to be part of this loot.
The Bathinda refinery used to be in the news even earlier also but that was due to monopoly of the truck union there.
It is the truckers and contractors who are now complaining against hike in goonda tax slab inviting intervention by an official from the Chief Minister’s Office going by the media reports.
These people from the ruling classes have their share in this tax. One leader who wanted a higher share has now been given ‘monopoly control’ of Bhisiana while reducing his share in refinery ‘tax’.
Heavy construction is going on at these three places but the main one is that of petro-chemical complex. The contractors have taken up the issue with the district administration. The contractors have made it clear that this just can’t go on.
The refinery is in Talwandi Sabo constituency from where the Aam Aadmi Party had won. However, the party has never taken up this issue of this extortion from the contractors. This is nothing but open loot.
The ‘Goonda Tax’ had become part of the vocabulary in Punjab during the previous Akali Dal-BJP regime as it was charged by musclemen of ruling dispensation leaders from the truckers transporting sand and gravel. Most of the sand mining is illegal.
Illegal sand mining is as rampant as during Akali Dal-BJP regime. It is now the Congress mafia that has replaced the Akali mafia.
It was the poll promise of the Congress to rid the state of all types of mafias. But then the present regime has backtracked on several issues, including across the board debt relief for farmers.
At one level, the Capt Amarinder Singh government represents the continuity. It is a smooth transition so that people don’t feel the change. The change is only that of people. The loot continues.
Capt Amarinder Singh has no connect with the people and he prefers to be indoors most of the time. The Chief Minister’s Office continues to be as deserted as during the previous government.
He has maintained the status quo-at every level.