Punjab assembly accounts panel summons chief secretary

October 29th, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 29 (IANS) The Punjab assembly’s Public Accounts Committee has summoned the state’s chief secretary to explain “serious flaws” in funding for Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s public meet prorgammes.The committee in its Oct 27 meeting summoned the chief secretary in person, said Sukhpal Singh Khera, a Congress legislator and member of the panel.

“In its report for the year 2003, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has highlighted many errors in the Sangat Darshan (pubic meetings to hear people’s grievances) programme of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,” Khera told a press conference here Wednesday.

“Till date, nobody has answered these serious flaws. So taking a serious note of this, the committee has summoned Ramesh Inder Singh, chief secretary of the state. He has to come before the committee in the next 21 days to explain the delay in replying to the CAG report,” stated Khera.

“The CAG has stated in its report that during the period of June 2000 to December 2001, Badal had distributed Rs.3,089 million across the 17 districts in an irregular manner. There was no separate budget for this programme and money was withdrawn from various other funds of the state,” said Khera.

He added: “The money was distributed to unauthorized societies, clubs, institutions and associations. Moreover, the CAG report also pointed out that there was favouritism while allocating the money.”

“Listening to the grievances of people through Sangat Darshan is appreciable but violating financial accountability is a matter of concern. The chief secretary has to produce the concrete details before the committee about the source of money, mode of disbursement and the final outcome of the financial aid,” said Khera.

Another quandary is that the chief minister neither invites nor informs the local elected representatives of the opposition about his Sangat Darshan, Khera said. “What purpose would it solve if the local representative is not involved?”

Such an unaccountable programme is just a political gimmick to gain easy popularity among masses and the vigilance department should probe financial wrongdoings at the cost of the public exchequer, said Khera.

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