Poor wait for hours to get atta-dal in Bathinda as Manpreet Badal’s brother-in-law arrives late | punjab$bhatinda | Hindustan Times
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Poor wait for hours to get atta-dal in Bathinda as Manpreet Badal’s brother-in-law arrives late

The distribution could start only at 1.30pm after Johal arrived at the function that employees of the food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department had organised. Johal distributed wheat under the scheme in other parts of city also.

punjab Updated: Jul 25, 2017 15:20 IST
Sachin Sharma
Jaijeet Singh Johal, brother-in-law of Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal,handing over wheat bags to atta-dal scheme beneficiaries in Bathinda on Monday.
Jaijeet Singh Johal, brother-in-law of Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal,handing over wheat bags to atta-dal scheme beneficiaries in Bathinda on Monday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Around poor 100 residents of the town asked to assemble at Amarpura Basti to get their quota of wheat under the Atta-Dal scheme, were made to wait for around two hours for a VIP — state finance minister’s brother-in-law — to officially start the distribution on Monday. This, at a time, when the government has expressed its commitment to end ‘VIP culture’ in the state.

The dignitary, Jaijeet Singh Johal alias Jojo, was scheduled to start the distribution at place at 12 noon. The distribution could start only at 1.30pm after Johal arrived at the function that employees of the food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department had organised. Johal distributed wheat under the scheme in other parts of city also.

Poor, mostly women, started arriving at 7am

With little coordination between the department and the depot holders, poor women had started arriving at the venue as early as 7am. There was little explanation on why the correct timing was not communicated.

Kunwarpal Sharma inspector, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department, who was in the team distributing the wheat said, “Depot holders had asked the people to come at the place for the start of launch of programme. Grain, pending for six months in some cases, will be provided at the depots after this.”

However, this was no consolation for those who had missed breakfast and, in some cases, their daily work, to collect their due. Gurdev Singh, of Amarpura Basti, who worked as mason, said, “I couldn’t go on my work which also is a loss as I reported here at 7am.”

Paramjit Kaur, of Mehna Basti, had reached the spot at 9am. “The depot holder told me to come here and collect wheat under the scheme. Instead of wasting our time here we should be provided the grains directly at the depots,” she said. Sarabjit Kaur, of Amarpura Basti, a domestic help, reached the place at 8 am. “What is the purpose of calling us so early. I couldn’t go on my work,” she said.

However, many who had reached the place couldn’t get the grain as their names were not in the list and were told to get the same from depots.

Meanwhile, a Congress leader Chhote Lal removed his shirt
in front of Jaijeet Singh Johal as protest, alleging that in-charge of Varadhman police post Harnek Singh was humiliating him. Johal said that they will address the issue that he raised. The police man, Harnek, denied the allegations.

‘Was just a launch’

A local Congress leader claimed that Monday’s event was just a launch of distribution of the grain.

Johal said, “There was some miscommunication. It was only the start of distribution and people will get the grain at depots. We will solve people’s issues in getting the grain as more depot holders have allegiance with the previous government.”