Nearly 75 per cent of the discretionary funds of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal since 2012 to till date has been allocated only to four of the 23 districts of the state, information obtained under a Right to Information (RTI) Act application has revealed.
The RTI application was filed by Human Empowerment League Punjab (HELP) activist Parvinder Singh Kitna and social worker Jai Gopal Dhiman.
According to the information, since 2012 till date, the Punjab CM had allocated a total of Rs 42.67 lakh from his discretionary funds to various districts of the state but only four districts have been lucky enough to get nearly 75 per cent of the grant.
Nearly Rs 32 crore were given to these four districts: 17.46 crore (40 per cent) to the CM’s home district Muktsar Sahib, Rs 5. 62 crore to Sangrur district, Rs 4.63 crore to Fazilka and Rs 3.85 crore to Bathinda, the Lok Sabha constituency which is being represented by the CM’s daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts too got over Rs 2 crore each while Amritsar got 1.71 crore, Moga got Rs 97 lakh and the remaining districts got between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 67 lakh. Three districts – Nawanshahr, Mohali Ajit Singh Nagar and Faridkot – got no funds.
The RTI plea information also revealed that in most places, the CM had given the grant for construction of cremation grounds as well as ‘dharamshalas’ (community halls) rather than development purposes. The funds were distributed from December 27, 2012, till date.
Since 2007, when the SAD-BJP government came to power, Badal had used around 66 per cent of his discretionary funds in his home district while in 2011-12 which was the election year of the state, he had spent Rs 18 crore out of a total Rs 20 crore grant in his constituency only from the discretionary funds.