A day after the poor Class X results in Punjab, and within two months of the new government taking charge, a ruling party MLA has opened a front against the government by levelling allegations against the Education Minister Aruna Choudhary on Tuesday. Kulbeer Singh Zira, a first-time MLA from Zira, is miffed at the posting of Sukhwinder Singh, principal of a government school in Mallanwala, as the District Education Officer (DEO), Ferozepore, after an education department reshuffle on Tuesday.
Zira said he had sought the transfer of the DEO out of the district as he had helped the Akalis during the elections. “I went to the Education Minister today and reminded her of my request. She said she cannot do anything as another MLA Rana Gurmit Sodhi had sent in a request to post him. I do not know what is happening. I am going to meet the Chief Minister tomorrow with my grievances. If he is unable to sort them out, I will hold a press conference tomorrow with a list of all my works that were not done. Is this our government ?” Zira said.
He said another official in the education department, Suresh Arora, posted as DEO earlier, was suspended because of his misbehaviour with a parent, but he continued to work from his seat. “I cannot take this treatment. It seems some kickbacks are being taken to transfer the employees,” said Zira.
Choudhary, when contacted, said she would sue him if he alleged kickbacks. “I have a reputation of 40 years. No one can raise a finger at me. It is my prerogative to transfer the employees. Still, I have a huge file of pending requests by MLAs. We are honouring their word. We are considering that we have formed the government after 10 years and even the teachers should be posted as per the MLAs’ requests.”
She said she had acted on request from Rana Sodhi. “I have recommendations on paper. How can anybody talk about kickbacks? It means these people are only taking money to get transfers done,” she said.
Zira is son of a former Akali minister Inderjit Singh Zira, who joined Congress sometime ago. His son was given the party ticket.
Kulbeer Zira said a “volcano was about to burst”. “There are many MLAs who went with me to meet the minister today. But as of today, I am going to the press alone. We will see what happens.”
Captain Sandeep Singh Sandhu, political secretary of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, said Zira was a responsible member of the party. “He will not do anything that will go against the interests of the party. His outburst is an internal matter. His grievances will be sorted out and he would be given a hearing,” he said.