The AAP Thursday asked the Amarinder Singh government to pay Rs 1 crore each as compensation to families of all 27 victims of the Iraq tragedy from Punjab. Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira , who raised the issue in Zero Hour, also said that the district officials were not helping the families waiting for the remains of their kin. Citing the Amritsar airport incident, where families of two victims waited for hours due to a slip-up by the district administration, he asked CM Amarinder Singh to issue strict instructions to the DCs on the matter.
CM responded by saying the incident a sad issue and said that the bodies would arrive this week. He told the House that he was in touch with Union Minister Sushma Swaraj. About compensation, he added that the standard procedure was being followed.
“We will definitely compensate them,” said the CM. Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia accused the government of not paying the families monthly assistance, which interestingly made Khaira jump to the CM’s defence and that Amarinder had shown magnanimity by promising compensation.
As Speaker pleaded with the leaders to maintain peace, Congress member Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi said that SAD-BJP, who are a part of NDA, should go with Congress to seek compensation from the Centre. MLA Kushaldeep Singh Kiki asked Majithia to tell his sister (Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal) to take up the issue with Centre.
The proceedings also saw a war for credit over the state’s decision to waive off its share of GST on langar in Golden Temple.
The credit was led to heated arguments between Majithia and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, which led to the House being adjourned for half an hour. While Congress moved in a resolution to thank the Chief Minister waiving off state’s share and the Assembly passed it, Khaira kept pushing for the resolution to mention his name as “the CM made the announcement after he raised the issue”.
Former Finance Minister and Akali leader Parminder Singh Dhindsa said during Zero Hour former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and party MP Prem Singh Chandumajra had met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday and urged him to waive off GOI’s share from the langar. He claimed that Jaitley gave an assurance that Centre’s share too would be waived. This led the Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, and Congress members to protest Dhindsa’s claim. Sidhu said if the Centre should have done it earlier.
After Sidhu, it was the turn of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who said he had raised the demand for waiving off the GST in three consecutive GST council meetings but it was outright rejected. Later, he also read out the minutes of GST council meeting quoting Jaitley the demand could not be met with.
“Was the Centre asleep for six months? Why did they not give the assurance earlier?” Sidhu asked angrily as Majithia tried to counter him.