The NaMo wave may buffer the anti-incumbency ripples in Dhanbad, but BJP’s sitting parliamentarian is not taking chances.
Sexagenarian P.N. Singh — who was a three-time MLA from the town seat before he trounced erstwhile Congress heavyweight Dadai Dubey to become an MP in 2009 — is doing rigorous recce of traditional BJP vote pockets such as Jharia to reassure people that he was, is and will be with them in their struggle for development.
“I have worked hard to create a conducive atmosphere for trade and commerce,” he told a gathering at Jharia Bazaar on Sunday. “My efforts have been tireless as far as your issues, like water supply, have been concerned,” he addressed another gathering at the block office, where he promised to ensure execution of the Rs 298-crore Dhanbad Water Supply Scheme.
The Dhanbad parliamentary constituency comprises six Assembly segments of Dhanbad, Jharia, Sindri, Nirsa, Bokaro and Chandankyari, from where a total 18.34 lakh people are expected to exercise their franchise. Jharia alone has 2.48 lakh voters.
“Natural resources are being plundered and this is responsible for the tardy progress of Dhanbad and its adjoining areas,” said Singh later.
On the acute scarcity of water in the district, particularly Jharia and Katras, he sounded a global alarm. “Almost the entire world is reeling from water crisis. We need to explore new sources (of water).” He continued: “During my tenure (as MP), water from the Maithon Lake has been made available to people who were earlier dependent only on the waters of Damodar, which is supplied by Mada through the Jamadoba water treatment plant.”
Singh also raked up the burning displacement issue that arch-rival Dubey — a former union leader — is cashing in on whole-heartedly in his campaigns. “I advocate a rehabilitation policy that takes into account views of the affected people. Making provisions for their alternative livelihoods is necessary before displacing them,” the former state industry minister said.
On the perennial traffic snarls in Dhanbad, which clog arteries during office hours, the MP said only a bypass could solve the canker and entry of heavy vehicles into the town needed to be restricted. “I had raised the issue in Parliament,” he claimed.
The MP squarely blamed the Hemant Soren administration for power pangs in the coal capital. “The state government can purchase additional power from the national grid to meet requirements in urban areas such as Dhanbad, but it never did,” he dealt a definite blow to the JMM-Congress combine.