Taking up a petition filed by Congress MLA from Kapurthala, Rana Gurjit Singh, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to release a grant of Rs. 3 lakh each to 2,806 village panchayats elected unanimously in the last elections, within three months.
The court headed by justice Rameshwar Singh Malik directed the Punjab financial commissioner, rural development and panchayats department, to comply with the court orders.
Rana Gurjit had submitted that the SAD-BJP government had announced during the last panchayat elections in 2008 that it would give a grant of Rs. 3 lakh to the panchayats electing its members unanimously.
The state government aimed to save election expenses by the move and after 2,806 panchayats were unanimously elected, Rs. 84 crore were announced as incentive.
The petitioner had submitted that nearly five years after the announcement, the state government had been delaying the issuance of grants on one pretext or the other and now the process for the next panchayat elections had started. It was informed that state government's finance department had been refusing to release the incentive citing financial crunch.
The petitioner had also made a request that the state government be directed to release the incentive before the forthcoming panchayat elections.