flaws in the 'Sangat Darshan' programme of the Chief Minister
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Oct. 29, 2008
According to the report of Comptroller and Auditor
General of India (CAG) for the year 2003, there are serious flaws
in the 'Sangat Darshan' programme of the Chief Minister. The CAG
in its report has concluded that "Use of the 'Sangat Darshan'
programme as a mode for disbursement of funds was not only unauthorized
, it was an act of excess as it vitiated the settled norms of public
accountability by compromising the limits of procedural safeguards
accompanying the withdrawal and disbursement procedure. Thus, funds
were irregularly distributed without any guidelines." This
in my view are very serious and alarming observations by an important
watch dog of our financial system. Hence it calls for an immediate
review of the 'Sangat Darshan' programme. These glaring defects
highlighted by the CAG have come to my notice as member of the Public
Accounts Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The Public Accounts
Committee in its last meeting held on 27-10-08 has summoned the
Chief Secretary Punjab in person to explain the inordinate delay
in replying to the CAG report.
The CAG in its report has stated that during the period of June
2000 to December 2001 of the previous regime of Mr. Badal, 308.90
crores were distributed across 17 districts of the state in an irregular
manner. The CAG observed that no separate budget/funds were provided
by the state govt. for the programme. Money was mainly withdrawn
from four funds operating in the state and seven schemes being implemented
by the Deputy Commissioners. The then Chief Minister misutilized
the Rural Development Fund , Punjab Infrastructure Fund, Chief Minister's
flood relief fund, Employment Assurance Scheme, Community Development
funds etc. The CAG also pointed out favoritism while allocating
46.20 lac to a village in his home District of Mukatsar compared
to other parts of the state. The CAG said "This was indicative
of unequal distribution of funds and favour to a particular area."
Besides this the CAG has pointed out gross irregularities of disbursement
of govt. money to non govt. organizations not authorized to execute
works such as societies, sabhas, clubs, institutions, associations
etc. Funds were distributed for unauthorized purposes not covered
under the guidelines.
To sum up the whole exercise of 'Sangat Darshan', I would call
it grossly illegal, unconstitutional, whimsical and violative of
laid down norms of Govt. working. Listening to the grievances of
the people is appreciable but violating financial accountability
is a matter of concern. If the Chief Minister considers 'Sangat
Darshan' so dear to his heart why does he not have an allocation
of this programme in the budget? If the programme was so popular
why only the Chief Minister holds it, why not his ministers, beauracrats,
district administration? Or is it that his colleagues and subordinates
have no faith in the programme. Does not the work of the entire
district administration come to a grinding halt when the Chief Minister
holds this programme in a district? Why elected members of the opposition
are not invited by the Govt. for the 'Sangat Darshan' programmes?
The CM has announced to hold 'Sangat Darshan' in my constituency
of Bholath on 5th November 2008, but I have neither been invited
nor informed. What purpose would it solve if the local elected representative
is not involved? Infact according to me, this whole exercise of
Mr. Badal reflects an old mind set with outdated and obsolete ideas
in a modern era as today. If one carefully analyses this programme
the results would be negligible, it is for mere public consumption
and cheap political popularity.
Therefore, keeping in view serious lapses and malfunctioning of
the 'Sangat Darshan' programme, I would request the Chief Minister
to immediately discontinue spending funds of the state in an illegitimate
manner. I also urge the vigilance department to probe financial
irregularities being committed by the Chief Minister at the cost
of the public exchequer. In case, the State Govt. fails to amend
financial misappropriation and probe the whole illegal affair, I
would be left with no option but to move the Hon'ble High Court
for justice in the interest of public accountability.
Paddy announced by the central
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Oct. 29, 2008
I Welcome the Rs. 50 per quintal bonus for paddy announced by the
central Govt. The farmers throughout India are facing grave financial
crisis particularly the farmers of Punjab are reeling under heavy
debts that have accumulated to over Rs. 25,000 crores. The prices
of inputs of agriculture particularly diesel, labour, seeds, pesticides
etc have gone up manifold during the last couple of decades. Although
the Govt. of India lead by Dr. Manmohan Singh during its present
tenure has raised the MSP of wheat by Rs. 360 per quintal and paddy
by Rs. 370 per quintal, yet it has not been able to mitigate the
sufferings of the agrarian community. I on behalf of the Punjab
Pradesh Congress Committee demand that another Rs 50 per quintal
be added to the bonus announced yesterday.
As far criticism by Sh. Badal is concerned it is one of shedding
crocodile tears, I want to remind Mr. Badal that during the tenure
of NDA rule to which the Akali's were partners, the increase of
MSP of both wheat and paddy was negligible. When the NDA came to
power in 1999 the MSP of wheat was Rs 610 per quintal and that of
paddy was Rs 510 per quintal. On the completion of their term in
2004, the MSP of wheat was Rs 640 per quintal a meagre increase
of Rs. 30 per quintal in 5 years. Similarly the MSP of paddy was
Rs. 510 per quintal in 1999 and at the end of NDA rule it was Rs
560, an increase of Rs 50 per quintal. As stated earlier the UPA
has increased MSP of both wheat and paddy with more magnanimity,
yet we feel that more needs to be done for the farmers of our country.
I take to task Mr. Badal as to why the Akali's did not 'Gherao'
or demonstrate for such meagre increases during the NDA rule while
being their partners? In the year 1978 while S. Surjit Singh Barnala
was the Agriculture Minister of India as a representative of the
Akali's in the Union Cabinet, the then Janta Party had increased
the MSP of wheat by Rs 1 per quintal, was it not a joke? Yet the
Akali's call themselves champions of the farmers. Mr. Badal must
immediately take care of the procurement and lifting of the paddy
stock in Punjab and prevent distress sale by farmers. I at the same
time urge Mr. Badal that if he is really concerned about the plight
of the farmers of Punjab, he must announce a bonus of Rs. 100 by
the Punjab Govt.
A deputation led by Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Oct. 22, 2008
A deputation led by Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, CLP
leader, consisting of S. Sukhpal Singh Khaira MLA, S. Harminder
Singh Jassi MLA, Sh. Luv Kumar Goldy MLA and Sh. A.C Kaushik Office
Secy. CLP (Photographs attached alongwith) today met the Hon'ble
Speaker S. Nirmal Singh Kahlon in his office chamber at the Vidhan
Sabha. Following is the text of a petition signed by 16 Congress
MLAs (List attached alongwith) seeking the interference of the Speaker
towards illegalities being committed by the ruling SAD-BJP Govt.
S. Nirmal Singh Kahlon
Subject: Petition for appropriate action against breach of privilege
and infringements of the rights of elected members of the Vidhan
Through this petition, we wish to bring to your notice an important
issue of continuous breach of privilege and infringements of rights
of the elected members of this August House by the defeated candidates
so called Halqa –in-charges in the constituencies of opposition
members with the active support of government machinery by ignoring
the elected representatives of the people. This is not the case
of ruling party MLA's and they are fully associated with the developmental
works, disbursement of grants etc.
The present SAD-BJP Govt. has adopted an unprincipled methodology
of bypassing and ignoring the elected members of the opposition
in their respective constituencies. The ruling party has nominated
as 'Halqa' or constituency incharges those SAD-BJP candidates who
were defeated in the assembly elections and through these persons
the Govt. has preferred to get all developmental works done. These
'Halqa' incharges have taken upon themselves the duties of elected
representatives. All foundation stones, inauguration of important
projects, distribution of cheques for development works, recommendations
for transfers of Govt. employees etc. is being undertaken by these
SAD-BJP defeated candidates or 'Halqa' incharges as they have come
to be known. By doing so the present Govt. is violating all laid
down norms of legal and constitutional working.
The Chief Minister has abdicated his authority to his son Sh.
Sukhbir Singh Badal MP Faridkot, who has being laying foundation
stones throughout the state, of those important projects which are
supposed to be the constitutional authority of the Chief Minister.
Ministers of various departments have become mute and meek spectators
of these gross violations indulged in by Sh. Sukhbir Singh Badal.
By doing so Sh. Sukhbir Singh Badal is acting like a de-facto Chief
Minister, reminding us of the days of the medieval India when dynasties
ruled the country.
Acting on the lines of Sh. Sukhbir Singh Badal these so called
'Halqa' incharges are also infringing on the rights of elected members
of the house, thereby causing breach of privilege of the members.
To quote one specific example, we are attaching as annexure-P1 the
press clipping and photograph of a foundation stone of a 'Pradhan
Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna' (PMGSY) at village Nadala, part of Bholath
Assembly constituency. The defeated candidate of SAD-BJP Bibi Jagir
Kaur not only inaugurated the road project, her name is inscribed
even above the name of Hon'ble Deputy Speaker Sh. Charanjit Singh
Atwal, the sitting MP of the constituency. It is known that Bibi
Jagir Kaur holds no official authority or position, yet she inaugurated
a road project of central Govt. and none less than the Prime Minister's
Scheme, by doing so the rights of our elected Bholath MLA S. Sukhpal
Singh Khaira have been infringed causing breach of privilege of
the member. More details of the unconstitutional and illegal working
by the said defeated candidate in Bholath constituency are also
attached alongwith as annexures-P1-P10. The entire district administration
including the Deputy Commissioner are a party to the new illegal
and unconstitutional mechanism of the present Govt. Many more glaring
instances of such violations being committed by various 'Halqa'
incharges can be given throughout the state.
Since you are the custodian of the August House of Vidhan Sabha,
we elected members of the opposition, request your honour to take
serious note of these unconstitutional methods being adopted and
refer this issue to the Privilege Committee of Punjab Vidhan Sabha
to summon the Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab. That
the Govt. must involve all elected representatives in the day to
day functioning of the Govt. and that nomenclature such as 'Halqa'
incharges be done away with immediately.
We hope you would ensure justice to the members of the 13th Vidhan
Sabha, being the protector of their rights.
1) Sukhpal Singh Khaira MLA Bholath
2) Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu MLA Talwandi Sabo
3) Ajitinder Singh Mofar MLA Sardoolgarh
4) Avtar Singh Brar MLA Faridkot
5) Darshan Singh Brar MLA Bagha Purana
6) Balbir Singh Sidhu MLA Kharar
7) Makhan Singh MLA Pacca Kalan
8) Ishar Singh MLA Koomkalan
9) Ajit Singh Shant MLA Nihalsingh Wala
10) Harmohinder Singh Pradhan MLA Raikot
11) Mangat Rai Bansal MLA Budhlada
12) Brahm Mohindra MLA Samana
13) Sadhu Singh Dharamsot MLA Amloh
14) Lal Singh MLA Dakala
15) Harminder Singh Jassi MLA Bathinda
16) Luv Kumar Goldy MLA Garh Shankar
And all other members of the CLP.
With no government support,
farmers resort to distress sale of paddy
Oct. 14, 2008
Former Chief Minister and the Chairman of the Campaign Committee
of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh today
lambasted the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party government
in the state for its failure in ensuring minimum support price to
the farmers for their paddy.
In a statement the former Chief Minister said, he had got reports
from across the state that the farmers had been forced to sell their
paddy much below the MSP of Rs 850 per quintal. He revealed that
in absence of the government support the farmers have been forced
to sell their paddy for as low as Rs 750 per quintal and that too
not with so many hassles.
Besides, Capt Amarinder said, the farmers were not also being given
the direct payment and it was being paid to the arthiyas (the commission
agents). He said, the farmers have been facing a lot of problems
in selling their paddy in the mandis.
He pointed out, during his regime the farmers did not face any
difficulty and they would invariably sell their paddy and also wheat
more than the MSP. Moreover, the procurement was hassle free. He
observed, since the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal had not
taken the issue seriously the farmers had been left at the mercy
of the officials and arthiyas who were raising petty objections
and forcing the farmers to sell off their paddy for much less the
price than the MSP.
Capt AmarinderSingh through Jeetmohinder Singh Sidhu
This is to inform all in the print and the electronic media that
Capt Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister Punjab, will be holding
a press conference at the Press Club, Chandigarh on the 7th October
2008, at 4.00pm.You are requested to stay on for tea and snacks.
Jeetmohinder Singh Sidhu MLA