Sunny Deol, Congress ministers spar over NSG centre project

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, February 7

Gurdaspur Member of Parliament (MP) Sunny Deol’s allegation that the Punjab Government was stalling the establishment of a training centre of the National Security Guard (NSG) in his parliamentary constituency has triggered strong reactions from senior Congressmen, who claimed “he was creating a mountain out of a molehill”.

Ever since the local airbase was infiltrated by four Pakistan-based militants on January 2, 2016, residents and politicians, cutting across party lines, have been steadfast in their demand of setting up such a venture in the city. Deol, immediately after becoming an MP in 2019, had taken up the matter with Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Notably, when the airbase came under attack, officials had to airlift an NSG unit all the way from New Delhi thus wasting precious time in their fight against the militants.

The minister, in turn, had acceded to the MP’s request but with a rider that the state government should provide land free of cost.

“It is high time that the Punjab Government clears the project,” said Pankaj Joshi, the MP’s personal secretary.

On February 3, Deol had shot off a letter to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh reminding him that “progress in the matter has been held up for over a year now in view of the inordinate delay in provision of free land”.

The MP’s missive has evoked a strong response from Cabinet Ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, both of whom represent Assembly seats falling in the MP’s constituency. Randhawa said, “The problem with the actor is that he lives in a world of fantasy. I’ve checked the facts. The Pathankot SDM has already submitted a report to the DC pertaining to the availability of land. Once the same is forwarded to the state government, things will start moving.”

Bajwa, too, trained his guns on the MP. “There is an adage in English that ‘think before you speak.’ The process of allocating land has already commenced and Deol should not create a controversy where none exists,” he said.

Sunny Deol, Congress ministers spar over NSG centre project