If the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) forms the government in Punjab, it plans to cancel more than 25,000 tubewell connections released “out of turn” on recommendations of Akali and Bharatiya Janata Party state legislators under the “discretionary quota” of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) chairman.
AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira made this announcement during a press conference here on Thursday.
Showing constituency-wise data gathered by AAP’s Right to Information (RTI) wing in-charge Dinesh Chadha, Khaira said while Badal government released these tubewell connections to their cronies, more than 4 lakh farmers were kept waiting for their connections.
“More than 4.2 lakh applications are pending with PSPCL for tubewell connections. Some were filed far back in 1996. Badal, in order to please his MLAs and halqa (constituency) in-charges and to reap quick political gains, has broken the long-pending queue of tubewell connections through backdoor gimmickry,” said Khaira.
The former Congress MLA alleged the PSPCL chairman was a “puppet” in the hands of Badals, and had blindly accorded large-scale sanctions under his discretionary quota.
Sukhbir, Majithia’s constituencies got lion’s share
Khaira said out of 25,000 such connections, almost 10% had been released in Jalalabad and Majitha, the constituency of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, respectively.
“Sukhbir and Majithia have allotted 1,055 and 1,461 connections, respectively, in their constituencies while in the rest of the constituencies the number is averaging around 250 each,” he said. When asked how come the number of connections under the chairman’s discretionary quota was only 4 in Lambi, the chief minister’s constituency, Khaira said the CM had probably not “understood” how it is done.
The AAP leader said the number of such connections in the constituency of CM’s son-in-law Adaish Partap Singh Kairon’s was also low, as probably his recommendations were “not given any significance”.
Khaira alleged a large number of connections were also given in constituencies of Congress MLAs, pointing towards the fact that even they had been taken on board by the Akalis. “The Congress MLAs are allowed some connections; the rest are given on the recommendations of halqa in-charges,” he said.