December 3, 2021 4:29:26 pm
Hitting out at Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s 72-day ‘report card’ in which he said 60 decisions had been implemented in the state after he took over, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday said “not even a single thing was implemented on the ground”.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh Friday, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said Channi was making “fake announcements and practically not even a single thing was implemented on the ground”.
Taking a jibe at the chief minister by calling him “Ailaanjeet Singh alias Vishwasjeet Singh”, Cheema said crores had been spent on advertisements, though Channi did not mention anything about the Congress government’s five-year rule or the promises the party had made in its manifesto. “At least give an account of your own department’s performance of five years,” he said.
Cheema mocked Channi by saying that the public relations department of Punjab had meted out “injustice” to the chief minister by not mentioning “transparency as a major achievement of Channi”. Referring to the recent dismissal of Punjab Police ASI Sarabjit Singh for selling confiscated Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA), Cheema added, “Transparency is a major achievement of Channi because ENA, which was sold illegally at dhabas, is now being sold from the police station.”
Cheema said after 120 people had lost their lives due to the hooch tragedy in Majha region, the Congress government had formed a committee to track the movement of ENA from distilleries and had promised a fool-proof audit. The Akali leader asked Channi to announce the names of Congress ministers and MLAs who patronised the sale of ENA by a cop. “I also want to ask Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to declare the names of police stations where this service is being provided.”
Cheema said after the repeal of the three farm laws, “now it is the turn of the Punjab government to implement the Rs 90,000-crore farm loan waiver… The report card by Channi also did not mention how many jobs were given… The chief minister forgot to announce the current status of Punjab’s debt… Channi had also announced Rs 1,500 crore for PSPCL to waive off power bills… I ask Vishwasjeet to show any entry which proves that Rs 1,500 crore reached the Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL). On the contrary, PSPCL officials have switched off their phones to avoid public anger. The officials have switched off their phones because the management does not listen to them. Ailanjeet makes announcements, but Finance Minister Manpreet Badal does not sanction funds.”
The SAD leader lashed out at Channi for announcing that power tariff will be reduced to Rs 3 per unit from January 2022. He also took on the Channi-led government on the issue of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and said that in the Bill presented in the Vidhan Sabha “not even at one place is it written that PPAs have been cancelled. It only says that rights have been given to the state government to review the PPAs.”
Taking another jibe, Cheema said, “Another big achievement of Channi was the announcement of research centre on Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvad Gita, for which the government has said that a suitable place is being searched.” He questioned the announcement of chairs in the name of prominent persons with “no mention of monetary allocation”.
The Akali leader accused Channi of trying to take credit for having studied Punjabi as a compulsory subject in matriculation for a government job in the state. A provision to that effect was made in The Punjab Official Language Act, 1967 and was amended in 2008. “Tell me if there’s any recruitment in Punjab that does not require taking Punjabi as a compulsory subject in matric or without a certificate by the languages department.”
In contrast to Channi’s promise of making sand available at a cost of Rs 5.5 per cubic feet, he said it was being sold in the market at Rs 28 per cubic feet.
The Akali leader also said that the Channi-led government’s claims on the Sixth Pay Commission were wrong. “Tell me the name of any department where officials are not observing dharnas. If one goes from Mohali to Ropar, there are dharnas everywhere. I request the chief minister to at least honour the decorum that comes with the office. You have not done anything. Crores of rupees have been spent on advertisements,” he said.
Cheema said the AAP government in Delhi was competing with the Punjab government in issuing advertisements. “The people of Punjab are very wise and cannot be misled by such false announcements.” Responding to a question, he said Delhi, being the national capital, received the most funding from the Centre. “Kejriwal’s duty was to use the broom, his party’s poll symbol, to clean Delhi, in which he failed miserably,” he said, alleging that migrants faced a lot of hardships and had to walk up to 3,000 km from Delhi during the pandemic.
Regarding schools, the former education minister said comparison cannot be drawn between Delhi and Punjab as the latter had 19,500 schools as opposed to 1,500 in Delhi. In border districts, Cheema said, there were many challenges and schools had to function for 10 to 20 students… Manpower and resources get wasted at such schools. In Delhi, manpower and resources don’t get wasted.”
Questioning the credibility of the AAP in Punjab, he said, “11 AAP MLAs joined the Congress. Out of 117 candidates who contested in 2017, as many as 67 have left. There were four MPs in the AAP, three left. Where is the credibility? Who will deliver? Only MLAs will deliver… On whose head will you put this bundle of lies.”
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