Badals’ home dist got lion’s share of rural funds in 15 yrs
Muktsar, January 8
In the last 15 years (2003-2017), the lion’s share of rural development funds (RDF) were transferred to Muktsar, Amritsar and Tarn Taran – home districts of former CM Parkash Singh Badal, former ministers Bikram Singh Majithia and Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, respectively.
The SAD-BJP alliance was in power in the state from 2007-12 and 2012-17.
As per records, these three districts got Rs 566.77 crore of the total Rs 1,865.93 crore given to all 22 districts in the state, which means over 30 per cent of the total rural development funds were diverted to these districts of top Akali leaders.
The perusal of records shows that Muktsar district got the maximum Rs 260.11 crore in the state, Amritsar got Rs 187.25 crore and Tarn Taran Rs 119.41 crore.
In comparison, Patiala, which is the home district of incumbent Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, got just Rs 68.25 crore during this period.
A list sent by the state government to the Deputy Commissioners on January 5, asking them to submit the remaining utilisation certificates of Rs 596.59 crore at the earliest, also showed that Jalandhar district got rural development funds amounting to Rs 184.26 crore and Ludhiana Rs 156.55 crore. All other districts got less than Rs 100 crore each, which include Moga that got Rs 99.49 crore), Bathinda that received Rs 99.05 crore, Gurdaspur Rs 81.76 crore, Ropar Rs 65.32 crore, Hoshiarpur Rs 64.39 crore, Mansa Rs 62.06 crore, Nawanshahr Rs 56.6 crore, Sangrur Rs 55.77 crore, Mohali Rs 48 crore, Faridkot Rs 41.43 crore, Fazilka Rs 40.64 crore, Barnala Rs 40.25 crore, Fatehgarh Sahib Rs 38.89 crore, Kapurthala Rs 35.2 crore, Ferozepur Rs 32.25 crore and Pathankot that got Rs 29 crore.
Arun Kumar, District Development and Panchayats Officer (DDPO), Muktsar, said, “A major part of the funds came before my posting here. Various works like the construction of concrete streets and the laying of sewage pipes were done with this amount in Lambi block. I have recently submitted the utilisation certificates of about Rs 50 crore and am trying to collect the remaining utilisation certificates of about Rs 83 crore from the panchayat secretaries. The DC on the directions of the state government has asked me to submit the pending utilisation certificates at the earliest.”
Repeated attempts to contact Viswajeet Khanna, Financial Commissioner (Development), proved futile.
A senior officer said there were a number of districts larger in area and population, but funds were diverted mainly to Muktsar, Amritsar and Tarn Taran, which showed the priority of the government at that time. Perusal of documents, in possession of The Tribune, further showed that a majority of funds were sent in these districts in the 2016-17 financial year, just close to the state Assembly polls.