CHANDIGARH: The Haryana Congress on Tuesday demanded that the BJP-JJP government in the state ensure transparency in utilisation of money donated to the Haryana COVID Relief Fund.
Congressmen including party's Rajya Sabha MP from the state Deepender Singh Hooda and many party leaders in their individual capacity have made contributions towards the Fund, Haryana Congress President Kumari Selja said.
"The Haryana government keeps appealing to people including government employees to make donations for the Haryana COVID Relief Fund and people have been making liberal donations. The government must make things transparent and tell the public where and how this money is being used so that more people are encouraged to donate," she told reporters through video conference.
The ML Khattar government had set up the Fund last month to mitigate the hardship of those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The chief minister had made an initial contribution of Rs 5 lakh from his personal savings to the fund.
On the state government's move to freeze recruitments, she said Haryana already has a very high unemployment rate and the unemployed youth will feel further frustrated.
The ruling dispensation, she said, should declare a moratorium on expenditure incurred on maintaining posts held by Chairmen and members of State Public Service Commission and State's Staff Selection Commission.
"When the Chief Minister has said that no new recruitment in the state will be carried out for one year citing the present crisis situation, they can also save money by declaring moratorium on expenditure made on maintaining the posts held by Chairmen and members of the recruitment bodies in the state," she said.
Selja said posts of Chairmen of various Boards and Corporations too, on whom hefty sums are incurred, can be dissolved to save money.
Raising issues concerning farmers, she claimed that the Haryana government had said that within 24 hours payment will be made to peasants after their crop is procured.
"But now one week has passed neither any farmer nor Arhitiyas or commission agents have got any payment. Not even a single rupee has been credited in anyone's account," she said.
Selja said that Food Corporation of India has asked the state government to make direct payment to farmers, "but government had earlier said they will pay the farmers through Arhitiyas. The government must clarify its position".
Noting that small and medium enterprises have been hit hard due to the current crisis, she demanded that the government waive their fixed monthly power charges.
Selja also demanded that water and power charges of poor sections of society should be waived for the time being in view of the present situation while middle class too should be given relief by waiving the house tax.
To a question, Selja said, "As principal opposition party, whether it is poor people, issue of migrant labourers or farmers, there are a lot of shortcomings which we keep highlighting and giving suggestions. Our purpose at this stage is not to criticize, but to highlight problems faced by various sections. We just hope that the government should take note of these and respond in a positive way," she said.
With Haryana doing better on many parameters including recovery rate with regards to COVID-19, Selja said, "It is too early to start patting ourselves on the back, by that I do not mean government, but I mean all of us. This is kind of situation about which no one knows how it will unfold. As far as lockdown is concerned, that was the best option".
"But all of us need to be extremely cautious, let us not start patting ourselves on back and we should keep planning ahead," she added.