No impact of change being felt in field; Punjab Govt concerned

DW Bureau / Chandigarh

The Anxiety of the newly-elected Congress Government was evident in the twin back-to-back meetings chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in presence of Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar with senior administrative secretaries and subsequently with Deputy Commissioners here on Thursday. Sources said the main concern expressed on behalf of the Government was that the people were not feeling any sense of change or relief after the formation of the Capt Amarinder Singh government, even as there seemed to be business as usual.

One of the first decisions of the present Government was that while old age, widow and handicapped pensions as well as benefits under the Aata Dal scheme would be paid till March 31, as per the old list of the SAD-BJP regime, the subsequent disbursements would be made only after a comprehensive and de novo verification of the beneficiary list. But even after the passage of more than two months, the verification was yet to be completed. Sources said some of the DCs gave the feedback that it would take another two to three months if the Government wanted a proper verification. The DCs were also divided on whether the verification for these schemes should be done by a single team or separate teams, the sources added.

Another issue which came up for discussion was the stopping of the projects started by the previous Badal regime till proper evaluation by the DCs to ascertain whether those were in the public interest. Sources said that there are around 60,000 such petty works and their verification by the DCs is far from complete. The works have come grinding to a halt even as no new funds are being released for the same. It was felt that there is not only discontent but disinformation is also being spread in the field that this money could be taken back by the Government, sources added.

The DCs informed the CM that it is a big task to complete the verification and it was likely to take two to three months if the Government wants them to do a good job. ÔÇ£This issue has also left the government perplexed, especially in view of the forthcoming Budget session,ÔÇØ they added.

While the CMs have normally been holding district-wise meetings with the MLAs in the past, the presence of Punjab Congress chief Jakhar in ThursdayÔÇÖs meeting of administrative secretaries and the DCs also remained an issue of discussion in the political and bureaucratic circles.

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