Chandigarh, January 23, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today condemned ‘Khazana Khali’ finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal for flying off to a jaunt along with his family in the Swiss Alps in the name of attending the Davos Summit adding this would cause further misery to those waiting for the finance department to release funds for development besides release of dues to employees as well as social welfare beneficiaries.
In a statement here, former minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it was shocking that a finance minister who had announced that he was against foreign trips and who had even refused to offer tea to guests to save money, had no qualms about attending repeated annual meetings at Davos.
“Manpreet has failed to explain one benefit of attending the Davos Summit last year. He has failed to mention a single investment coming into the State following his visit last year. However this has not dissuaded him from proceeding on a holiday again along with a contingent of officers as well as his family”.
Asking the finance minister to practice what he preached, Dr Cheema said the hollowness of the former’s claims of austerity had already been exposed with an RTI inquiry revealing the presence of 27 air conditioners at his official residence in Chandigarh. “The FM has also spent a large amount of money in modernizing his office even as he preaches frugality to others”.
The SAD leader said it was cause of concern that even as tax payer money was being used to finance expensive trips to Davos, no solution was forthcoming on the total freeze on all development works following a notification by the finance department.
He said similarly before leaving for Davos Mr Manpreet Badal did not think it fit to release the Dearness Allowance dues of State employees which had gone up to Rs 4,000 crore. “The FM had no qualms in extending the tenure of the Sixth Pay Commission and even now is refusing to regularize more than 27,000 contractual employees whose case was cleared by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government”.
Asking the chief minister to take serious note of the development, Dr Cheema said frugality should be practiced in reality. He said as a first step the government could ban foreign jaunts besides doing away with an army of Advisors and superannuated officers on its rolls.
He said besides this a concrete plan should be devised to bring Punjab back on its feet by removing wasteful expenditure as well as inefficiencies and large scale corruption which had paralyzed government functioning.
“Then only should finance ministers of Punjab be allowed to extol about their word at Summits abroad. It is of no use to attend such events and waste public money when your own house is in disorder and needs urgent attention”, he added.