Assembly members feel BPL guidelines for Punjab need revision

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Chandigarh, Dec 20 (UNI) The guidelines of the central government on the eligibility criteria of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families led to sharp exchanges between Cooperatives Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal during Question Hour in the Punjab assembly here today.

Replying to the issue of lesser number of BPL families in Malerkotla-I and Dhuri Blocks raised by Iqbal Singh Jhundan (Ind), the Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura said that this was done as per the rules issued by the central government.

This reply brought several Opposition Congress members on their feet who wanted to know the state governments stand on the issue as the guidelines were not suited for a state like Punjab. Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal pointed out that the previous Congress government had also raised this matter with the Centre.

Ms Bhattal sought a categorical answer from Mr Brahmpura as under the BPL criteria only limited families in Punjab were availing benefits. At this juncture Capt Kanwaljit Singh tried to interrupt Ms Bhattal, leading to sharp exchanges between the two.

Speaker Nirmal Kahlon intervened in the matter and also expressed his concern on the BPL guidelines notified by the central government as these had limited relevance in Punjab.

Mr Brahmpura finally assured the House that the issue had been taken up with the Centre and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while addressing the NDC session at Delhi yesterday had urged the government to revise the BPL criteria for Punjab so that more families could be included in the beneficaries category.

Earlier too Mr Brahmpura was at the receiving end when the question on allocation of funds for construction of toilets for SCs in rural areas in the current financial year came up in the House.

Harmeet Singh Sandhu (SAD) while asking a supplimentary wanted to know the amount spent on toilets in the rural areas of Tarn Taran district. As no satistical figures were available with the minister he replied in the negative.

"The Minister does not know of his own district", Mr Sandhu who too belongs to Tarn Taran said to the utter surprise of the ruling party benches and amidst tapping of benches by the Opposition.


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