Dr Daljit Singh Cheema condemns govt decision to deny Rs 300 crore subsidy for 23,500 straw management machines
Says govt misleading SC, is yet to exhaust central funds received to tackle COVID
Chandigarh, August 10 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said Punjab farmers were being made to pay the price for the loot of the State exchequer by Congressmen with the government running away from releasing Rs 300 crore given by the centre to subsidize paddy stubble management machinery by giving an excuse in the Supreme Court that the same had been used to fight COVID-19.
In a statement here, former minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it was shocking that the Congress government had submitted in the apex court that it had used the funds meant for purchasing 23,500 straw management machines to fight COVID-19 when it had not even fully utilized the funds received for the same from the centre. “The Punjab government seems to have misled the apex court as it had not utilized the Rs 6,000 disaster management funds which have accumulated with it. The Congress government has also admitted that it has not utilized Rs 60 crore accumulated with it as part of the CM Relief fund which is to be used exclusively to fight the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Dr Daljit Cheema said this was not all. “Central funds have been received by the Punjab government under various heads to fight the pandemic. The government is yet to exhaust this money and submit utilization certificate for the same”.
The SAD leader said it the light of these facts, it was shocking that the government was running away from releasing funds to farmers to purchase straw management machines at subsidized rates. He said the government should explain why it was taking stringent action against farmers burning paddy stubble when it could not release money to allow them to manage the same. He said this step would also have dire consequences for the State’s environment and would lead to increased pollution. “The SAD condemns this anti-farmer decision of the Congress government and asks it to release money to farmers to purchase the necessary equipment immediately or be ready for a stir to force it to do the same”.
The Akali leader also pointed out the government had allowed loot of the State exchequer in league with Congressmen as well as the liquor and sand mafia. He said while a direct benefit of Rs 676 crore had been given to liquor contractors during the pandemic, sand miners had been given a benefit of Rs 150 crore. “Besides this the government has allowed excise revenue leakage of Rs 5,600 crore. These are the real reasons why the government treasury is empty today and not because of the fight against COVID-19”, Dr Cheema added