The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) in Punjab has no information about chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's sangat darshan programmes held across the state, according to a reply given by the CMO to an RTI plea filed by the state Congress.
State Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said in a statement here on Wednesday that RTI Cell state unit chairman RR Bhardwaj had filed an application with the CMO seeking details, including disbursal of funds, at the sangat darshan programmes of Badal.
But the reply given by the CMO said the office did not have information relating to the programmes, Bajwa said.
"Sangat darshan programmes are organised by the respective deputy commissioners in the state. Information related to these programmes is not available with the CMO," the reply stated.
It also stated that no complaint regarding the alleged misuse of grants disbursed at these programmes had been received.
The Punjab Congress chief said the party had sought information from the CMO on three matters pertaining to the programme -- what are the sources through which sangat darshan programmes are financed, what is the criteria for distribution of grants, and how does the state ensure proper utilisation of the funds, and if any complaints were received by the CMO regarding misuse of funds.
Bajwa said he was astonished to know that the CMO had no record of the sangat darshan programmes.
"In fact it was only a political gimmick to befool the people of Punjab. The grants the chief minister has been distributing for development purposes are part of the grants given by the Centre or drawn from the plan expenditure of the state." During the Congress government, the job of distributing these grants was done by panchayat secretary level officials or block development officers.