A day after Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit said the state’s debt has risen by Rs 50,000 crore under the AAP dispensation, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa on Saturday demanded a special audit of the government’s borrowing.
Purohit, in a letter to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, had said he learnt that ”the debt of Punjab rose by about Rs 50,000 crore during your regime”.
”Details of utilisation of this huge amount may be furnished so that I will be able to convince the prime minister that money has been properly utilised,” he wrote.
Purohit wrote to Mann after the Punjab chief minister asked him to take up the issue of pending rural development fund worth Rs 5,637.40 crore with the president and the prime minister.
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In his letter to Purohit on Saturday, Bajwa — the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly — said he is writing to ”express the deep concern of the people of Punjab regarding the utilisation of Rs 50,000 crore that the Mann-led AAP government has recently taken, resulting in an alarming increase in the debt-GDP ratio to 47.6 per cent”. This matter is of utmost concern, given the promises and commitments made by the AAP before assuming power, he said.
Almost all AAP leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister and party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, made extensive promises to the people of Punjab ahead of last year’s assembly elections, Bajwa said. ”These promises included pledges to work with unwavering honesty, save Rs 54,000 crore through prudent measures such as generating Rs 20,000 crore from mining and plugging Rs 34,000 crore in budgetary leakages attributed to corruption in the execution of various schemes. It was asserted that these actions would alleviate Punjab from its debt burden,” the Congress leader said.
”However, it has come to our attention that the reality seems to diverge significantly from these assurances. In just 18 months, the AAP-led government has borrowed a staggering Rs 50,000 crore,” he claimed.
Bajwa said the most concerning aspect of this is the apparent lack of transparency and accountability in the ”utilistion of this substantial loan”.
”Even a response letter from your esteemed office, in reply to the chief minister’s plea to approach the Union government, appears to reflect the challenges in obtaining information from the current government,” the MLA from Qadian said.
”These circumstances underscore the urgent need for an immediate and comprehensive audit, under the purview of the Accountant General of Punjab. This audit is not just a request, it is a demand for transparency and accountability,” he said.
Bajwa also claimed that the hardworking people of Punjab, who dutifully pay their taxes, deserve clarity about the direction in which the AAP-led government is steering their beloved state.
”I implore your honourable self to consider this plea for a special audit with the utmost urgency. Such an audit will serve the interests of Punjab’s people and secure the future of our democracy. Your prompt action in this matter is of utmost importance,” said Bajwa.