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State’s adopt-a-village scheme loses steam for want of funds; Should the government fund this scheme?

Only two MLAs have given option in phase three of programme

Chandigarh :
The ambitious Vidhayak Adarsh Gram Yojana of the Haryana Government seems to have lost all its steam three years after it was launched on the pattern of the Centre.
Only two MLAs have given their option for adopting a village in phase three of the programme against 73 such “adoptions” in phase one when it was announced with much fanfare in 2015.

Sources maintain that the poor response to the scheme is the consequence of the non-release of payments for phase two of the programme where 26 legislators had given their village option for adoption.

Despite the fact that the government decided that Rs 50 lakh would be provided to villages having a population less than 5,000, Rs 1 crore to those having a population between 5,000 and 10,000 and Rs 2 crore to villages with more than 10,000 population, the funds were not released.

Under the scheme, it was proposed that by 2019 when the term of this Vidhan Sabha ends, each MLA would develop three villages. They were expected to select the first one in 2015 and the other two in the successive years. However, disappointed in the first year itself, some of the MLAs did not adopt a second village and practically nobody has come forward for the third.

According to the Panchayat and Development Department data, of Rs 58.05 crore released, only Rs 16.8 crore has been spent so far and 537 development works have been carried out. Most of these funds have been primarily spent on the construction of village lanes, drains and cahupals.

Critical of the exercise, Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala said the question of adopting a second village did not arise because no funds were released even for the first village he adopted. “Adopting a village by an MLA should have automatically meant better basic facilities in the village. It seems the BJP government only wanted to announce a scheme and forget about it. I have written to the government to release funds,” he said.

While BJP MLAs seem to have been getting funds, these have been slow to come by for Opposition MLAs.

BJP MLA and state unit president Subhash Barala, however, maintained that he had received government funds for his adopted village on time and even carried out development works. “I adopted only one village and am trying to meet its demands with the funds released. I have had no problem as far as fund flow is concerned,” he said.

AICC media incharge and Kaithal MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala said though no funds had been sanctioned for the adopted village, he had identified the development works to be done in the village and sent his requirement to the government.
Sources in the department, however, maintained that funds were being released from time to time for the development of adopted villages. Minister OP Dhankar was not available for comment.

"I adopted Jamal village in Ellenabad and I couldn’t do anything for them because no funds were given. It seems the BJP govt only wanted to announce a scheme and forget about it"     — Abhay Chautala, Leader of Opposition 

"I adopted a second village in phase two and no money has been sanctioned so far. I have sent several reminders to them but not a penny has come." — Kiran Choudhry, CLP leader 

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Fully geared for simultaneous LS, Assembly polls: Khattar; Will the assembly elections be held with the Lok Sabha elections?

Chandigarh :
The BJP is fully geared for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said here.

“It is for the Election Commission to take a call on the holding of simultaneous parliamentary and Assembly elections in the state early next year. However, the BJP as a party is geared up for the polls—whether held separately or at the same time,” Khattar told.

While the elections to the Lok Sabha are due early next year, the Haryana Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in October next year.

Sourced said the BJP might go in for simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and Assembly in Haryana to avoid the anti-incumbancy factor.

In the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the BJP rode on the “Modi wave” to secure seven out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats and formed government on its own in Haryana by winning 47 of the 90 seats.

Sources added that the party was already in election mode, with Khattar undertaking an intensive tour of the state and going on an inauguration spree in a bid to woo the voters.

Khattar conceded that the BJP government was “battle ready” for the elections “as and when held”.

Basking under the substantial hike in the MSP recently, Khattar is scheduled to address four statewide rallies across from July 21 to August 5.

The BJP is banking on the development plank in the state in the past 45 months and factionalism in the Opposition Congress to seek a second term in the office.

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Statewide bandh over SYL on Aug 18: Abhay; Regardless of the orders of SC, the water of SYL will be found by Haryana?

Bhiwani :
Leader of Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala said they would obstruct functioning of the Assembly session if the government did not give a satisfactory assurance on construction of the SYL canal.

He announced a statewide bandh on the issue on August 18. Addressing the last ‘jail bharo’ rally, he said he was willing to join the delegation if the BJP went to meet the Centre to discuss the issue.

“We will organise a peaceful statewide bandh on August 18 to press for construction of the canal. The business community has assured its participation in the bandh in support of farmers,” he said.

He asked the people to give the INLD-BSP alliance the kind of mandate given in 1987. “Bansi Lal is one of the chief culprits in stalling this project and betraying the people of Bhiwani,” he said.

State BSP chief Prakash Bharati said the alliance was rock solid and there was no possibility of any seat-sharing controversy as they stood for welfare of people.

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Records go ‘missing’, yet enhancements computed; Whether the issue of enhancement is disturbing the citizens?

Information panel asks HSVP to lodge FIR against official

Chandigarh :
The Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) issued notices of “hefty and erroneous” enhancement costs to allottees of Sector 3 in Fatehabad and when a resident sought information under the RTI Act regarding price fixation of plots, it replied that the file was not traceable.

Hearing appeal of information seeker Gagan Bajaj, an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the State Information Commission has directed the HVSP to initiate action against the delinquent official and lodge an FIR against him.
A month after the HSVP (erstwhile HUDA) sent “hefty and erroneous” notices of allottees in Fatehabad in September last year, Bajaj moved an RTI plea seeking copy of price fixation policy, price fixation formula, final price worked out by HUDA, rates approved by price fixation committee, stock inventory of all commercial and other saleable sites in the sector etc.

While Bajaj received information on some points, he was informed that the file was not traceable in the record in reply to the final price worked out and rates approved by the price fixation committee.

Smelling a rat as to how HUDA could reach a figure for enhancements when the file pertaining to price fixation is missing, Bajaj filed an appeal before the State Information Commission.

Chief Information Commissioner Yash Pal Singhal observes that the sought information relates to record which is permanent in nature. The explanation given by the respondents is not acceptable. The information sought by the appellant needs to be furnished to him.

“The commission recommends to the Chief Administrator, HSVP, Panchkula, that if any record is not available relating to this RTI application, then appropriate action be initiated against the delinquent as per the applicable service rules. If any mala fide is proved for misplacing the records then FIR be registered against the delinquent official with the police under intimation to the commission latest by September 28,” the order reads.

Notably, it is not the first instance where the HVSP has informed information seekers that the records were untraceable.

In a similar matter, then State Information Commissioner Urvashi Gulati had ordered registration of an FIR in 2014.

However, when information was recently sought as to whether any letter has been written so far to the police to lodge the FIR, the HVSP had replied in the negative.

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HSSC cash-for- job scam: First accused gets bail; Will the bail of the accused in the scam?

Panchkula :
In the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) cash-for-job scam, the Panchkula court has granted bail to accused Sukhwinder, who was working as assistant with the HSSC.

Recently SIT of the Haryana Police had filed a charge-sheet against nine accused in the Panchkula court.

Sukhwinder is the first accused who has got bail in the cash-for-job scam.
The SIT had filed the charge-sheet against Subhash Sharma, who was heading the confidentiality branch of the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) when the alleged scam took place, besides another Subhash of the HSSC, assistants Anil Kumar, Rohtash Sharma and Sukhwinder, and IT cell employee of the HSSC Puneet Saini, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) employee Balwan, former manpower provider Dharminder and Irrigation Department assistant Surender Kumar.

The police had lodged an FIR against the accused on April 5 in the Sector 5 police station under Sections 166, 167, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and various Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IT Act.
The SIT has already submitted the call records of all accused before the Panchkula court in a sealed cover.

The Haryana Chief Minister’s flying squad had arrested the accused on April 5. The scam is linked to the appointment of drivers, clerks and nurses against posts advertised by the commission over one-and-a-half-year ago.

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