Former Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Daljit Singh Cheema on Thursday criticised Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal for allegedly going on a trip to the Swiss Alps with his family in the name of attending the Davos Summit.
Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema said in a statement that it was shocking that the finance minister who claimed to be against foreign trips and had even refused to offer tea to guests to save money, was least concerned about attending annual meetings at Davos.
"Manpreet has failed to explain one benefit of attending the Davos Summit last year. He has failed to mention a single investment coming into the State following his visit last year. However this has not dissuaded him from proceeding on a holiday again along with a contingent of officers as well as his family", the SAD leader said.
Slamming the Congress leader, Cheema said that the truth about Manpreet's claims of austerity had already been exposed by an RTI inquiry which revealed that there were 27 air conditioners placed at his residence in Chandigarh.
The SAD leader also alleged that the Finance Minister preached conservation to others, but spent a large amount of money in modernizing his own office.
Daljit Singh Cheema had said that the taxpayers' money was being spent on expensive trips to Davos, instead of being used to find a solution to the total freeze on development works in Punjab, followed by a notification by the finance department.
The SAD leader added that before leaving for 'Davos', Manpreet Singh Badal did not release the Dearness Allowance dues of State employees which has increased to Rs 4,000 crore.
"The Finance Minister did not care about extending the tenure of the Sixth Pay Commission and even now is refusing to regularise more than 27,000 contractual employees whose case was cleared by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government", Cheema said.
He advised that the government should ban foreign trips instead of eliminating an army of advisors and officers on the trips. Devising a plan to improve the financial health of Punjab, Cheema said the government should consider deducting wasteful expenditure, inefficiencies and large-scale corruption that is paralyzing the government's functioning.
"Then only should finance ministers of Punjab be allowed to extol about their word at summits abroad. It is of no use to attend such events and waste public money when your own house is in disorder and needs urgent attention", he added.