Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa has alleged that the new atta dal scheme of the SAD-BJP government was nothing but rebranding of the food security programme of the UPA government, adding that the credit for providing subsidised food to poor people went to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Addressing a meeting under his mass contact programme organised by MLA Sangat Singh Gilzian, Bajwa said the SAD-BJP government was misleading people by false claims on the scheme. He said the Centre would supply wheat to the Punjab government at Rs 2 per kg and the state government would give a subsidy of only Re 1 per kg to the beneficiaries.
Bajwa said if chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was sincere in his approach to help the BPL and antodaya families, he should double the amount of foodgrains. He said Badal had announced doubling the number of beneficiaries to 30 lakh families, fully knowing that it would not add much burden on the state exchequer.
He asserted that the Congress would scuttle all attempts of the SAD-BJP government to hijack central schemes. He also objected to printing of the CM's photo on BPL cards. "It is ridiculous," he said, adding that Badal should look at the poor performance of his government rather than looking at his own face all around.
Taking a dig at the kabaddi world cup, Bajwa said it was a ploy to cover up the drug trade and human trafficking business being run by certain Akali leaders. He claimed that the synthetic drug racket of drug lord Jagdish Bhola had exposed the links of drug mafia with the Akali leaders. Bhola, during interrogation, had named several kabaddi players and promoters of kabaddi clubs based in Canada which were part of the syndicate running drug and human trafficking trade across the countries, he added.
Bajwa said that last year the Canadian government had cancelled visas of about 90 kabaddi players from Punjab on suspicion of human trafficking, who were invited by the same kabaddi clubs. He accused the deputy CM of "systematically vitiating" the sports culture in Punjab's schools and colleges. "Can Sukhbir specify why Punjab had failed to win even a single medal in national, Asian and Commonwealth Games? What stops the Punjab government from showing similar love for our national game of hockey in which players from Punjab had excelled at the world level," he wondered, adding that he was not against kabaddi but using sports for political and vested interests was a dangerous trend.
Speaking on the occasion, union minister of state for health Santosh Chowdhary said the SAD-BJP government had failed to address the problems of underprivileged classes. She said all welfare schemes, like MNREGA for which the Centre was providing funds, had failed to deliver in Punjab due to administrative failure and lack of political will. She said the Centre was giving about Rs 475 crore every year to Punjab under the National Rural Health Mission but primary health services in the rural areas continued to be in a bad shape.
Former minister Lal Singh claimed that there was no rule of law in Punjab. The crime was on the rise and the police were working under political pressure, he said, accusing senior SAD leaders of harbouring the criminals.