Hearing a contempt of court petition by Punjab leader of opposition Sunil Kumar Jakhar, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday pulled up the state government for failing to use disaster management funds and sought to know where the money for buying fire tenders had been spent.
The directions came from the court headed by justice Augustine George Masih on Jakhar’s petition alleging no action by the state government on the earlier court directions for deciding on deploying fire tenders across the state and at Abohar especially.
The petitioner had submitted that based on the 13th Finance Commission recommendation, the union government had approved `96.77 crore in the year 2013-14 and `101 crore in the year 2014-15 as grant-in-aid for state disaster response fund. He submitted that the state government had failed to use the money for the stated purpose in spite of clear directions from the high court.
Appearing for the Jakhar, advocate SPS Tinna submitted that during the last hearing, the state government had given an undertaking that it would release `45 crore for the purpose to various municipal bodies; but till date, nothing had been done.
On February 12, based on the petition from Jakhar, the high court had given the state government a month to decide on keeping fire extinguishing equipment, fire tenders, and fire staff across the state. When the state did not take any decision, Jakhar moved the high court with a contempt petition.
The next hearing is on November 5.