Purohit had earlier sought details from the Mann dispensation about the utilisation of the Rs 50,000 crore the state government had borrowed
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. File Pic
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday said his government will give Governor Banwarilal Purohit an account on the money spent out of the debt it raised, and took a swipe at him for not seeking details on borrowings from previous governments, reported news agency PTI.
Purohit had earlier sought details from the Mann dispensation about the utilisation of the Rs 50,000 crore the state government had borrowed, reported PTI.
Addressing a gathering after the launch of a Rs 550 crore 'Sehatmand Punjab' mission, a campaign for the rejuvenation of government hospitals in the state, the chief minister said the reply will be sent to the governor on Tuesday, reported PTI.
"He asked where the money was spent. However, he never asked previous governments about raising Rs 1 lakh crore to Rs 1.50 lakh crore of debt and where that was spent," he said.
"We have been asked (by the governor) and we have a reply. We will give him an account of the Rs 50,000 crore that we repaid the debt on Punbus, and paid interest on old loans. We have an account of every penny," Mann added.
Last month, the chief minister urged the governor to take up the issue of the pending Rural Development Fund (RDF) amounting to Rs 5,637.40 crore with the president and the prime minister.
However, in his reply, Purohit had said he learnt that the debt of Punjab rose by about Rs 50,000 crore during the AAP regime and sought details of utilisation of this "huge amount" so that he could convince the prime minister that the money was properly utilised.
On September 27, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu sought details of expenditure on the use of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft by the Bhagwant Mann government, accusing it of spending public money on "luxury sorties" for AAP campaigns in other states.
Sidhu wrote to the secretary of the Punjab Civil Aviation Department, seeking the information under the Right to Information Act.
The Congress leader said the Aam Aadmi Party government, in the last one and a half years, used the aircraft for election campaigning in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and other states.
"It has come to notice that the Punjab government on various occasions has used the official state chopper and also hired fixed-wing aircraft for campaigns and tours regarding party affairs, I need information on various accounts under RTI," he wrote.
As the state government has to pay for the financial burden caused by hiring of fixed-wing aircraft, I request you to kindly inform the following things,¿ the former minister wrote.
"Firstly, on how many occasions was a private jet hired by the state government in the last one and a half years, where all the aircraft was taken, what was the purpose, and what was the total bill of all the flights and hiring of aircraft, including aircraft rent and airport charges," Sidhu wrote.
It has also been learnt that the state chopper was also used for campaign purposes in various states, the Congress leader said.
"I also seek similar information in this regard," he said.
"As your department is responsible for hiring and paying the expenses, also inform that what is the per hour hiring cost of fixed-wing aircraft," wrote the former MLA.
Later, speaking to reporters, the former Congress chief asked why public money was being spent on "luxury sorties" and "why the theft of Punjab's resources is taking place."
"They (aircraft) were used for campaigning in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and other states," he alleged.
Attacking the AAP government over the issue of state debt, Sidhu said, "What was said and what is happening now".
Punjab will become a bankrupt state the way it is raising money, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)