Chandigarh, June 10 (IANS) Claiming that Punjab was reeling under a whopping debt of Rs 2.25 lakh crore, the AAP on Friday demanded financial emergency in the state ahead of the 2017 assembly elections.
The party also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and issue directions that no more loans be raised by the state without the prior sanction of the Finance Ministry.
“A perusal of the ‘Annual Financial Statement 2016-17’ placed on record by the Punjab government has brought to the fore shocking, alarming and gigantic debt burden of the state,” AAP spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
“As per the statement, while the debt burden of the state government’s borrowings from different financial institutions, including the RBI, market loans and bonds, banks and other institutions, NABARD, is a staggering Rs 1,38,165.53 crore, the total debt outstanding towards 49 corporations and boards is Rs 86,382.10 crore. The gross debt therefore is a whopping Rs 2,25,547.63 crore,” Khaira said.
Seeking immediate imposition of financial emergency in the state, the AAP leader said the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in Punjab, in power since 2007, was planning other populist and non-productive schemes to woo voters in the election year.
“The general perception of the people and the media is that Punjab’s debt is Rs 1.25 lakh crore. The current SAD-BJP government is further picking up more loans to repay the interest and principal of this colossal debt. The government is unable to pay salaries and pensions to its staff, besides utterly failing to honour social welfare schemes such as old-age and widow pensions, shagun and atta-dal schemes,” Khaira said.
Khaira, who was earlier in the Congress, said the government was diverting central funds to run day-to-day affairs.
The AAP leader said the huge debt of state-owned 49 corporations and boards was a direct consequence of non-productive and unconstitutional programmes like the ‘Sangat Darshans’ of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and populist schemes.
“It is also a matter of record that the SAD-BJP government has auctioned vital state assets and properties under the OUVGL (Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Lands) scheme, besides mortgaging jails, old people’s homes, other state-owned buildings to raise the said loans,” he said.