People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal has demanded the setting up of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) under the supervision of the Punjab and Haryana high court to probe into “misuse of the government machinery for amassing wealth by selected ruling families of Punjab”.
While probing and identifying the sources through which wealth was amassed by them, the probe should in particular focus on the operations of the private bus companies owned by them or the relatives of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, said Manpreet.
“The high court is already seized of the matter of the transport operations in the state taking suo motu notice following the Moga tragedy involving an Orbit transport bus. It would be appropriate to order a probe into the amassing of wealth by the ruling party families by tweaking government rules since 2007. The concession by way of passenger tax to multi-axle luxury buses is a blatant example as to how the ruling Badal family tweaked rules for promoting their own transport fleet,” Manpreet stated while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday.
Projects prepared to favour Badals
The PPP chief claimed that projects in the state were being prepared after leaking vital information to the cronies of those in power. “This helps the cronies to purchase land and then schemes are floated for which the same land is acquired at higher rates for setting-up the project,” he added.
In this context, he referred to the construction of a road leading to Pallanpur resort of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal despite the fact that “a road was already existing to that village”. “It was a strange case of officials going out of the way to meet the demands of the people of the village, whereas link roads in other parts of the state are in a poor state,” Manpreet added.
Favouring private thermal plants
Manpreet also claimed that the state government was favouring private thermal plants at the cost of public sector thermal plants. He said it was shocking that power was being purchased at higher rates from these private players causing loss to public sector power plants.
He ridiculed Sukhbir for his claims that Punjab would become power surplus. “The truth is that the deputy CM is only favouring private power plants being run by corporate houses,” said Manpreet, while demanding the people of Punjab should be told the truth.
Earlier, addressing a public rally at Lopoke, 20 kms from here, Manreet lambasted the BJP for its land acquisition policy. “The land acquisition policy is aimed at appeasing corporate houses,” he said.
He sympathised with the farmers who had to pay a heavy price following the damage to their wheat crop due to the untimely rain.
He regretted that instead of helping out the farmers, the SAD-BJP government delayed the purchase of wheat crop, which added to the loss of the farmers.
“Do not expect anything from the Narendra Modi government, which is bent upon taking away even the basic ownership rights of the farmers over their land,” he told the gathering consisted mostly of members of the farming community.
Taking a dig at the SAD-BJP relationship, Manreet asked the BJP to make its stand clear on issues. “After crying hoarse over the drugs issue, the BJP has now fallen silent,” he added, while asking the saffron party to tell the people of Punjab the reasons for its silence.
The rally was organised by Preet Inder Dhillon, president, PPP Amritsar (rural) unit.