Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday warned the SAD-BJP government against wasteful expenditure of public funds in crores on its "false propaganda" in the media even as it was unable to settle the rightful claims of government employees and beneficiaries of various social welfare schemes.
Bajwa said that as per the information obtained under RTI Act by Dr Jasdeepak Singh, convener of RTI cell of PPCC, the SAD-BJP government was spending a whopping amount of about Rs. 1.25 crore per month on advertisements in the print media alone.
The department of information and public relations, however, has withheld the information regarding advertisements issued to electronic, social media and for outdoor publicity.
Bajwa said that during the first ten months of the year 2013-14, from April 1 to February 3, the Punjab government had issued advertisements worth Rs. 12.99 crore to various newspapers.
He alleged that most of these advertisements were related to false propaganda regarding the development projects which did not go beyond foundation stones. He said that it was shameful that chief minister and deputy chief minister were indulging in self-promotion at the expense of the people of Punjab who are bearing this burden through heavy taxes levied by the state government.
Bajwa said that teachers were not getting salaries, arrears of the 6th pay commission till date; retiring employees are not being paid their dues and pensions for widows, handicapped and senior citizens are not being released. Hundreds of beneficiaries of the shagun scheme are waiting for their cheques. He said that instead of clearing the pending bills, the Chief Minister and his son were fuelling their 'gossip machine' with public money.
Bajwa said deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had spent over Rs. 4 crore on organising the Progressive Punjab Investment Summit in Mohali and it did not include the expenditure of publicity in print and electronic media and outdoor publicity which could be more than the double of the above figure. He said that not even a single penny was invested in Punjab by the participants in the Investment Summit, though tall claims were made by Sukhbir Badal.