Congress seeks special audit of publicity budget of AAP govt in Punjab

Congress seeks special audit of publicity budget of AAP govt in Punjab

Chandigarh, Nov 22 (PTI) Punjab Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa Wednesday sought a special audit of the publicity budget of the AAP government.

Bajwa alleged that the Bhagwant Mann government was spending heavily on advertisements rather than extending financial assistance to farmers for stubble management.

Bajwa's remarks came a day after the Supreme Court pulled up the Delhi government for not providing funds for the Regional Rapid Transit System corridors to Alwar and Panipat, saying if the dues were not paid within a week, the funds allocated by the AAP government for ads will be transferred to the project.

On November 21, the apex court said budgetary provision was something which the state government should look into but if such national projects get affected and money is spent on ads, it would be inclined to direct that those funds be transferred to the RRTS project.

Bajwa, the Leader of Opposition of the Punjab Assembly, demanded an inquiry by the CAG into the AAP government's ad spend.

'The Comptroller Auditor General of India should conduct a special audit of the publicity budget of the AAP government,' Bajwa said in a statement.

'The AAP government has spared around Rs 750 crore for the fake publicity of the government. With such a massive budget, the Mann-led government provided advertisements to the media houses of the other states, which caused a tremendous loss to the Punjab exchequer,' Bajwa alleged.

'The AAP government has not got funds for baler machines to manage stubble in the state but it has got a budget to make propaganda through fake advertisements in the poll-bound states,' he added.

Bajwa said that instead of keeping such a 'massive' budget for publicity, the government should have given cash incentives to the farmers to manage paddy stubble.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said it was high time that the Punjab government was held accountable.

Badal called for an audit of all infrastructure projects which were at a 'standstill' in the state because of the AAP government's alleged stop on releasing funds.

'The Supreme Court order was also an eye-opener as it blew the lid off the manner in which AAP governments were using public money for self-publicity even as they denied money to infrastructure projects,' he alleged. PTI CHS VSD VN VN

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