Punjab Congress on Monday lashed out at the Parkash Singh Badal government for allegedly “misusing” Panchayat funds by asking the local bodies to pay for display boards promoting its welfare schemes, ahead of Assembly elections in the state.
In a joint statement, Punjab Congress leaders Kewal Singh Dhillon, Ajaib S Bhatti, Navtej S Cheema and Sukhbinder Sarkaria termed the move as “anti-people”.
They accused the Badal government of resorting to “cheap tactics” to finance its publicity campaign ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.
1,300 Panchayats in the state have been instructed by the government to pay between Rs 5,000 and Rs 11,200 each for putting up display boards in the villages, the leaders claimed.
Panchayats have been asked to deposit the money with their respective Block Development and Panchayat Officers, they said.
The leaders accused the Punjab government of blatant corruption and said it had drained the public exchequer by misusing people’s money.
“Having bankrupted the state, the government has now embarked on a campaign to impoverish other institutions, such as the Panchayats, too,” they added.
The government departments concerned are reported to be defending the move as essential for making the general public aware of the various welfare schemes operational in the state, the Congress leaders said.
They said it was an “atrocious explanation” since most Panchayats were already carrying out awareness programmes in their respective areas regarding the welfare schemes.