FORMER LEADER of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, and other MLAs from the newly-formed Punjab Democratic Alliance, have demanded that a sitting High Court judge must look into the construction of a dam near Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s farmhouse in Siswan village near Chandigarh.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday following a report in The Indian Express that revealed the check dam’s construction by the department of soil and water conservation, which falls under the agriculture portfolio held by the CM, Khaira said this was a “clear case of misuse of public funds by Amarinder for his own benefit”.
“On one hand, the state government says it does not have money to pay farmers and waive farm loans but on the other, the CM is splurging lakhs to ensure that water from seasonal rain does not destroy his flower beds,” he said.
Surrounded by supporting MLAs, Khaira said that this was a clear case of conflict of interest. Khaira claimed that the village panchayat of Siswan was made to pass a resolution in order to facilitate the check dam. “This is a case of misuse of authority. We have come to know that work on the dam had started much earlier and the resolution that the panchayat passed was an afterthought,” he said.
Khaira compared the misuse of public money with that of the road built in Palanpur leading to the Sukhvilas resort of former Deputy Chief Minister and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu, under whose constituency the CM’s farmhouse and the dam falls, said he had written to the Chief Minister in the recent past pointing out that the spillover from the dam was flooding the fields of a farmer next to his farmhouse. “I received no reply to the letter… This dam itself is illegal because forest land has been cut into in order to raise this dam,” he said.