No pilgrims’ progress in Punjab: Amarinder govt flags down Badal’s scheme | punjab | Hindustan Times
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No pilgrims’ progress in Punjab: Amarinder govt flags down Badal’s scheme

A full stop on the scheme could have invited a sharp reaction from the Akali MLAs but none of them was present at that time as they had staged a walkout over alleged casteist remarks by local bodies mistier Navjot Singh Sidhu against MLA Pawan Tinu.

punjab Updated: Jun 22, 2017 19:39 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said that there are other important matters concerning the state than pilgrimage.
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said that there are other important matters concerning the state than pilgrimage.(HT Photo)

Amarinder Singh-led Congress government has scrapped the ‘Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra’ scheme started by the Shiromani Akali Dal–BJP regime.

“We have stopped the scheme,” finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said in the Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday during the question hour, replying to a query from Congress MLA Parminder Singh Pinki.

The scheme was a pet project of the previous chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

A full stop on the scheme could have invited a sharp reaction from the Akali MLAs but none of them was present at that time as they had staged a walkout over alleged casteist remarks by local bodies mistier Navjot Singh Sidhu against MLA Pawan Tinu.

Manpreet said of a total of Rs 139 crore spent on the scheme, Rs 4.84 crore was spent on taking pilgrims to Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh, Salasar in Rajasthan (Rs 11.91 crore), Anandpur Sahib (Rs 3.37 crore), Mata Vaishno Devi (Rs 19 lakh), Darbar Sahib Amritsar (Rs 64.81 crore), Patna Sahib (Rs 2.23 crore), Nanded Sahib in Maharashtra (Rs 87 lakh), Varanasi (Rs 18 lakh and Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan (Rs 3 lakh).

He did not specify the reasons behind scrapping the scheme, adding that there are other important matters concerning the state than pilgrimage.

PRTC dues pending

On a supplementary question, he said large dues of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) were pending as its buses were used for the pilgrimage scheme.

Replying to a query frrm Congress MLA Kulbir Singh Zira, social security minister Razia Sultana said her department was enquiring into bogus old-age pension given by the previous Akali-BJP government. “I have instructed the deputy commissioners to hold an independent inquiry,” she told the House.

‘Previous govt exhausted all funds’

On a question by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Harinder Pal Singh Chandumajra on the state government’s plans to upgrade community health centre at Dudan Sadhan in Patiala, health minister Brahm Mohindra said there were no funds left in the state coffers as they were exhausted by the previous Akali-BJP coalition.

He said if he (the Akali MLA) was so concerned about the hospital, he could have got it upgraded during their government’s tenure.

Congress legislator Hardial Singh Kamboj also demanded that the health centre be upgraded.

‘No subsidy for fencing Kandi farms’

On a question raised by Congress MLA Darshan Lal for fencing farms in the Kandi area to save crops from the attack of animals such as wild boars and blue bulls, forest and wildlife minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said the previous government started a scheme to give subsidy to save crops from wild animals but funds were not allocated due to which no money was released. Aam Aadmi Party MLA Kanwar Sandhu said that it was an urgent matter which needs the government’s attention, as the area from Lalru to Pathankot was affected.

‘Will use Raavi font in e-governance transactions’

The government has decided to implement the Unicode-compliant Raavi font in all official matters to ensure smooth e-governance transactions.

Health minister Brahm Mohindra on Monday said this in the House while replying on behalf of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to a call attention motion raised by Aam Aadmi Party MLA Baljinder Kaur for using the font in all Punjabi tests and examinations.

Congress MLA Gurkirat Kotli raised a supplementary question claiming that thousands of candidates who plan to take tests for different posts were worried.

Standardisation of character encoding is mandated as per the notification of Union ministry of electronics and information technology and it will be implemented across all government offices, boards, corporations and commissions, the minister said.

Mohindra said the government is in the process of developing various Unicode-compliant application software as part of its e-governance initiative. All digital services and payments require standardisation of character encoding and fonts, said Mohindra.

CM Captain Amarinder Singh was not present in the House for the second day in a row.