Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar on Tuesday slammed minister for welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes Gulzar Singh Ranike for “not keeping” his July 9 promise to release Rs. 26.39 crore as Shagun to 17,594 scheduled caste girls that was due up to May 2014.
Jakhar said Congress MLAs had on June 23 staged a dharna at chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s residence and submitted a memorandum to press certain demands, which included release of money under the Shagun scheme. This forced Ranike to issue a statement that Rs. 26.39 crore had been released.
Ranike had also said that he had issued instructions to disburse Shagun of Rs. 15,000 each directly into the bank account of the beneficiaries before the marriage.
Jakhar said the minister had made a false statement to avert a face-off in the assembly. The minister thus played a cruel joke on the beneficiaries, who had been running from pillar to post to avail Shagun, he added.
Jakhar said 27,000 files for the Shagun scheme were pending in various districts till July 25 and 1,325 applications were lying unattended in his constituency, Abohar in Fazilka district.
He said the SAD-BJP, in the election manifesto, had promised that the beneficiaries would have to apply for availing the scheme 30 days before the marriage, completing all necessary formalities. But 29 months had passed and people felt betrayed, he added.
He urged the minister to get the Shagun scheme funds released immediately.
He said Rs. 280.81 crore provided in the past by the UPA government under the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme for Dalit students should also be released without further delay.