Left with a legacy of debt, the new Punjab government is in no mood to fund the poll-time bonanza of former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal for cities, towns and villages. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday stalled release of Rs 4,981 crore for pending projects (started and yet to be started) for the Urban-Rural Mission that has forced the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) to pledge even its future earnings.
With this, a total of Rs 6,201crore projects, including the Urban-Rural Mission, sanctioned by the PIDB under the previous regime have come under the scanner.
DECISION TAKEN AT PIDB MEETING
The chief minister, who is the board’s chairman, held a review meeting of the PIDB on Saturday. Of the Rs 4,981 crore of pending amount for the Urban-Rural Mission, projects worth Rs 1,567 crore have not been started while Rs 3,412 crore is contractual liability of projects already underway.
The CM also directed all ministers to review other stalled infrastructure projects of their respective departments and submit a report to him in the next two weeks.
In its first meeting, the state cabinet had decided to hold back the unutilised funds of all departments, pending review of the projects.
Amarinder asked the ministers to decide projects on priority, study tendering process for irregularities and order an inquiry against the guilty.
Only projects approved by the ministers would be referred to the executive committee of the PIDB for further action, while cases of suspected irregularities would be sent for investigation. The entire process will be completed by April 30.
The meeting was attended by finance minister Manpreet Badal, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and rural development minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa.