Punjab Congress leaders on Thursday lambasted deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on the issue of central grants, claiming that the opposition party was in favour of higher allocation to the border state for its all-round development.
They said Sukhbir was trying to "mislead" the people by saying that the Congress was trying to scuttle allocation of central funds.
In a statement issued here, party MLAs Parminder Singh, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Bharat Bhushan, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Navtej Singh Cheema and Sukhbinder Singh Sukhsarkaria made it clear that they only wanted accountability and responsibility to be fixed regarding misutilisation of central funds.
They pointed out that even finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa had now admitted diversion of central funds. The Congress' concern was to take the state into the higher orbit of development rather than indulging in petty politics. The approach should be pro-people, while avoiding a parochial view in matters such as development, they added.
The Congress leaders said they had pleaded with the UPA government at the Centre to set up a super-speciality health institution in Punjab on the pattern of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) or the PGIMER, adding that it was a fallacy that they were trying to block central grants to Punjab. However, the state government must ensure proper utilisation of these funds, they added.
They said they were also demanding local area funds for MLAs on the pattern of Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Assam. In Jharkhand, an MLA gets Rs 4 crore per annum, while in Maharashtra and Assam, it is Rs 2 crore each for the development of the constituency.