Chandigarh, Jan 4 : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded immediate resignation of Finance Minister Manpreet Badal for mismanaging state finances to such an extent that the Congress government had failed to release Rs 35 lakh for purchase of winter uniforms for school children in Punjab.
In a statement here, SAD spokesman Pawan Kumar Tinu said Manpreet Badal should also apologise to the parents of the poor children for the cruelty meted out to their wards by denying them winter uniforms in the biting cold. He said many school children were not attending school due to the Congress government failure to distribute uniforms to them. “Many others have fallen sick due to severe cold weather conditions”.
He said each section of society was fed up by the non-performance of Manpreet Badal but Dalits were most perturbed because he had consistently shown an anti-Dalit bias by discriminating against them. “Earlier Manpreet Badal denied post matric scheme facilities to SC students for more than one year reducing enrolment of Dalit students by one lakh in colleges in the state. This scholarship has still not been released fully.
Now the finance minister has refused to clear a measly Rs 35 lakh for school children in government schools most of whom belong to scheduled caste and under privileged sections of society”.
He said the Congress government had shown such insensitivity despite the fact that the lions share of the Rs 76 lakh earmarked for this scheme had been released by the centre.
Giving details, Mr Tinu said winter uniforms were provided consistently to school children during SAD-BJP tenure as Mr Parkash Singh Badal understood the need to implement the scheme in right earnest. “Presently the Congress government has not even initiated the process of purchasing winter uniforms which were supposed to be distributed to children by November 15”.
He said it was a fact that the winter season ended by January 31. “It seems the Congress government wants to delay this more so that the very need to distribute the uniform ends in one months time”, he added.
The Akali leader said while facilities like winter uniforms and bicycles for girl students were not being provided, an additional burden in the form of examination fee had been thrust on students.
“School education is supposed to be free but the Congress government and its over-clever finance minister have managed to circumvent this clause also by introducing an examination fee of Rs 1,200, he said besides this in case of practical subjects an additional Rs 250 per subject was being levied from students.
He demanded this be withdrawn immediately saying it went against the very spirit of free education facility being extended in government schools. (UNI)