Former deputy speaker of Punjab and Congress leader Bir Devinder Singh has termed outrageous and unpardonable the move of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to appoint chief secretary and a battery of secretaries, additional secretaries and deputy and assistant secretaries.
Singh said that the hefty lump sum salary of Rs 3,00,000 per month of the SGPC's chief secretary is even much higher than the salaries of a cabinet secretary at the Centre and the chief secretary to the government of Punjab. Therefore, the move is unjustifiable, he added.
"Who is this overpriced 'gentleman' for whom such an 'out of the box' provision is being made in the SGPC? It has come to light through SGPC sources that the Badal family has already chosen a former banker, who has served in a nationalised bank on a higher position at the zonal level and had greatly benefited the Badal family in their business ventures," he claimed.
Singh added that it is pertinent to mention here that Manjit Singh Calcutta, former SGPC chief secretary, during the presidency of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, used to take rupee one per month as a token salary and would put it in Guru Ki Golak there and then.
"The strength of the treasure of the SGPC is based on the daily offerings of the devotees in the SGPC-controlled gurdwaras and this accumulated collection constitutes the Guru Ki Golak (Guru's Bursary). Therefore it cannot be allowed to be squandered in an utterly brazen manner on the whims and fancies of the ruling Badal family," Singh said.
Moreover, he said, by appointing chief secretary at the helm of affairs of the SGPC would amount to dilute the powers and the responsibilities of the 15-member executive committee of the SGPC, meaning thereby the SGPC funds would be directly controlled by the Badal family through the office of the chief secretary.