Nilokheri town was established in the 1950s by social visionary S. K. Dey for the displaced persons coming from Pakistan after India's partition in the Karnal district. It was planned as the new capital of the state of Punjab then and impressed by the planning of the town, the then Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru used to call it the town of his dreams. However, heavy floods at a time when only seven sectors were developed spelt doom to the prospects of the town as Chandigarh was made the capital of Punjab and also Haryana when the new state was formed in 1966.
Today Nilokheri is a tehsil town which is a classic example of state government's neglect.
For more than two decades, Jai Singh Rana has represented the Nilokheri assembly constituency first as an Independent, and thereafter as a Congress candidate. In between, Dharam Pal of Indian National Lok Dal, too represented the constituency when he defeated Rana in the state elections in 2000. Rana again won the election in 2004. Yet Nilokheri has trailed in development all along Rana's tenure from 1987 to 2014.
Besides, the internal rumblings between the councillors and the municipal administration too have affected the tehsil. The roads are in bad shape and the delay in the construction of the railway over bridge too has compounded the commuting problem.
There are three rice mills and plywood factories in the Division. The government printing press here just has a staff of about hundred people. Yet it is not making any fresh recruitment.
The region is blessed with fertile land and there is heavy demand for the agricultural produce in the neighbouring markets. There are many national and state level institutions. Yet the youth of the region are jobless because of the wrong policies of the government. The non recognition of the state-run technical institute as a degree college despite meeting all requirements means that the students have to travel to Kurukshetra for higher education. Yet, to reach such destinations, the commuters face hardships because, despite falling in the main Delhi-Amritsar rail route, long route trains don't halt here. Even long route buses don't stop here.
Nilokheri has historical monuments too which are in utter neglect. The fort of Prithviraj Chauhan at Tarawari township of the tehsil is in a dilapidated state because of government's neglect. Many local residents have constructed residential colonies inside the fort and the state government has turned a blind eye to these illegal settlements.
The ancient Shiva temple in the adjoining Poojam village is where thousands throng to worship. It is believed that just before the Mahabharata war, both Kauravas and Pandavas had together performed weapon pooja at this place. Lord Sri Krishna had called the place 'ati poojyam' (highly respected) and thereafter the village became famous as Poojam.
Yet the region earned notoriety because of the honour killing of Manoj and Babli who were abducted by their relatives in broad daylight from the GT Road, just about four kilometres from Nilokheri when the couple was travelling from Chandigarh to their native Karora village in Kaithal district. Besides, the attack in 2007 on Baba Ram Rahim Singh, the spiritual head of Sirsa-based Dera Sachcha Sauda, too had brought Nilokheri to international limelight for all wrong reasons. Baba had escaped miraculously then.
Indeed because of the recent chequered history and crass government neglect, Nilokheri today is struggling for its survival.