Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) on Sunday threatened to drag SAD-BJP alliance government to the court for its alleged failure to remove picture of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from the ‘national ambulance service’ (NAS) vehicles despite clear directions of the central government to follow standard model and design in this regard.
Addressing a press conference here, Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, PYC chief, said that the union ministry of health and family welfare, in its March 16 instructions to the state chief secretary, said that prototype and conditionalities of the standard model and design of the NAS were already dispatched.
It is pertinent to mention here that Chaudhary met Gulam Nabi Azad, union health minister, in Delhi on March 15 and lodged complaint against the state government for turning the central government sponsored ambulance service into a tool for garnering political mileage by pasting picture of Badal. Subsequently, Azad issued instructions to the authorities concerned for passing on the necessary directions to the state governments.
Though the union government had ordered the state government to implement uniform design and colour coding, without local modifications, before April 1 that too on former’s expenses, the state government deliberately did not comply with the instructions till date, Chaudhary, accompanied by vice president Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, alleged.
Chaudhary, who launched statewide campaign to get Badal’s picture removed from the ambulance service, said that the publicity crazy chief minister was keen to gain political mileage by misleading the public that the ambulance service was a state government funded project.
“The Punjab government was running its daily affairs on the central government funds. The cash strapped state government has failed to pay salaries for the month of March to its employees. The SAD-BJP government now stood exposed since their attempts to claim credit for the ambulance service proved false in the eyes of the public,” he said.
The central government instructions, meanwhile, said that in case these instructions were not implemented, the central government would be constrained to discontinue the financial support to the ambulances. “Now it will be seen whether Badal prefers to get his picture removed or his government’s defiance to the central directive will lead to discontinuation of medical services to the people,” he said.
The instructions said that the state governments would ensure that ‘National Ambulance Service’ be written in three languages – English, Hindi and regional language – on every 108 ambulance provided by the central government to the states. These ambulances will carry logo of the National Rural Health Mission. It will not carry any pictures of political dignitaries.
The PYC had launched a statewide protest against the SAD-BJP government for claiming credit for Centre-sponsored projects. After pressing hard for removal of Badal’s pictures from ambulances in different districts, Chaudhary along with several other Congressmen was arrested after being booked for defacement to public property as he pasted the prime minister’s pictures over Badal’s on some of the ambulances.