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Soldier at heart, Amarinder showers largesse on Army

Chandigarh, March 8: Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s past association with the Army still seems to tug at his heartstrings. He spent a major portion of his discretionary grant on the Army and the BSF. The fact came to the fore in information obtained under the RTI Act.

As per the information, the CM spent Rs 1.98 crore in the past one year. Of this amount, Rs 84 lakh went to the welfare of the Army and the BSF.

It started in July last year, when the CM gave Rs 23 lakh to the 23rd Battalion of the Sikh Regiment, which was moving from Jammu to Ladakh. In August, the CM gave Rs 11 lakh to the 3rd Battalion of the Sikh Regiment located at Tibri Cantonment, Gurdaspur.

Amarinder then spent Rs 40 lakh on the construction of an officers’ mess at BSF station headquarters in Gurdaspur in October. Similarly in December, he gave Rs 10 lakh to the 2nd Battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry, Kapurthala.

Besides, he spent Rs 50 lakh for the development of infrastructure of the Bar Association of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He also gave Rs 10 lakh to Saragarhi Trust for light and sound show.

Parvinder Singh Kittna, a Nawanshahr-based RTI activist who obtained the information, said: “The government keeps telling us that the financial health of the state is poor. But the pattern of CM’s spending of discretionary grant reveals that the state is sponsoring the welfare of those who already have plenty of funds at their disposal.

”It is not for the first time when the CM gave largesse to the Army. In November last year, Amarinder spent Rs 50 lakh on polo matches organsied by the Western Command of the Army in Patiala.

The event was “funded” by the Punjab Livestock Development Board (PLDB). The money was meant for the welfare of small dairy farmers of the state.Significantly, each minister can spend Rs 3 crore annually under the discretionary grant, while the CM can spend up to Rs 10 crore.

Source Tribune India

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