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‘Rs 10 Cr for Aam Aadmi Clinics, Rs 30 Cr for Publicity’: Oppn Attacks Mann Govt amid Health Secy’s Transfer

Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

Last Updated: January 23, 2023, 21:34 IST

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann. (File image: Twitter)

Punjab health secretary Ajoy Sharma was transferred after he reportedly objected to the spending pattern

The January 26 launch of 400 Aam Aadmi clinics in Punjab seems to have triggered a political storm with the opposition raising questions over the publicity blitzkrieg carried out by the Bhagwant Mann government after a senior bureaucrat raised a red flag over the spending spree.

The government has found itself cornered just some days before the launch of its flagship programme. Health secretary Ajoy Sharma was transferred after he reportedly objected to the spending of Rs 30 crore on the publicity of the Aam Aadmi Clinics on which the government has so far purportedly spent Rs 10 crore.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday asked the chief minister to explain to the people of Punjab why his government needed Rs 30 crore to advertise the mohalla clinics for which the state was spending Rs 10 crore if it was a “successful model”.

Senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the CM was touting the mohalla clinics as successful with 10,000 persons availing benefit from them. He said if this was so, why was the government not confident that Punjabis would spread the good word about the clinics?

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring expressed serious concern over what he claimed was “trouble and turmoil” in the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab, with open and outright confrontation between the political executive and the bureaucracy.

Warring referred to the removal of the health secretary over his reported refusal to approve Rs 30 crore for advertising a government scheme whose cost was Rs 10 crore only. He sought a clarification from the government on the issue, saying it was a matter of grave concern as to how Punjab’s money was being squandered away in such a brazen manner.

The Punjab Congress Committee president pointed out that this indicated a serious confrontation between the bureaucracy and the political executive, which is not good for the state. He said the health secretary was not the first officer to be shunted out and he was not going to be the last, given the way the AAP government was being run in Punjab.

Warring said that with every passing day, the AAP government was revealing its inexperience, incompetence, and inefficiency.

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