Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Thursday said there was a lack of coordination between chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, as the two recently made contradictory statements on the fiscal health of the state.
Addressing a press conference here, Bajwa said that while Sukhbir had portrayed the state's economy in good health and denied any cash crunch, Badal had admitted before the media that the situation was grim and the Centre should bail out Punjab.
Showing the Punjab government's report submitted to the 14th finance commission recently, Bajwa said the state government should declare this document as a white paper on financial situation of Punjab. "The report clearly admitted Punjab as a financially-stressed state," he said.
Bajwa said the state Congress would soon meet the finance commission again to demand formation of an all-party standing committee on Punjab finances and the leader of opposition should be made its chairman. "Such a panel will check lies of the state government on the financial scenario while giving the public an opportunity to know the facts," he said.
"If Punjab is financially sound, why are the Badals compromising its pride by going with a begging bowl to the finance commission?" Bajwa questioned.
He said Rs 1,800 crore in dearness allowance and arrears of government employees was still to be paid while Rs 250 crore of salaries of government employees were pending for the month of August.
Even the education department employees had decided to gherao the district treasury offices on September 13 for the state's failure to pay their salaries, he said.
"The bills worth Rs 108 crore for old age pension, Rs 21 crore for assistance to widows and destitute women, Rs 8.9 crore for assistance to the dependent children and Rs 10.8 crore for assistance to disabled persons are still to be cleared by the treasury. Even the mid-day meal grants have been diverted to pay salaries of teachers. The Punjab government has just released Rs 50 crore for the mid-day meal while another instalment of Rs 20 crore is still pending. The mid-day meal scheme remained closed for three months in schools despite being 100% central government-funded scheme," he said.