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Manifesto & Reality II
Promises. Done and sealed
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The ruling SAD-BJP combine seemed to have gone overboard while making promises in the poll manifestos to the electorate. The previous government had already implemented some of the promises figuring in the manifestos, the officials concerned have clearly conveyed to the ruling combine while commenting on the implementation of the manifestos.

For instance, the BJP said the services of ad hoc and temporary employees would be regularised. The reality is that a notification was issued to regularise the services on December 15, 2006.

An announcement was made that a special board would be constituted to deal with problems of the kandi and bet areas. Officialdom has pointed out that notifications to set up such boards had already been issued on August 25, 2004.

The combine said a separate ministry for NRI affairs would be set up. Officialdom has reminded the government that an independent department of NRI affairs had been in existence since 2002. Similarly, the government has been reminded by officials that the Punjab police already has an NRI cell since February, 2004.

Another promise said separate urban development authorities would be set up for major cities. The bureaucracy has said such urban development authorities already existed in the case of Mohali, Ludhiana and Patiala while separate authorities for Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bathinda could be considered, but first the role of PUDA should be decided afresh.

A promise was made by the SAD that women employees working in boards and corporations would be allowed "half work-half pay" on the pattern prevalent in some states. It has been pointed out that orders in this regard had been issued more than nine years ago in June, 1998.

Separately, a few ticklish issues will have to be resolved. A promise was made to release tubewell power connections to all needy farmers. The PSEB says it can do it only if financial help is extended by the government and there is availability of power. Relief was promised for victims of terrorism on a par with the 1984 riot victims. The government of India turned down the request in October, 2006. This matter is being taken up afresh.

Also, several new projects will require hundreds of crores of rupees to implement. The biggest task is to find the money for the implementation of these schemes. This is besides the Rs 3,500 crore that is required for free power, grant of power subsidy to SC/ST families and providing atta and dal at low prices.

For example, the promise of providing 5 marlas to each dalit household and an increase in the land grant to Rs 50,000 to each such family will cost Rs 909 crore, according to projections made by the bureaucracy. To give such benefits to 20,000 families in this financial year alone will cost Rs 100 crore. Also, to reimburse the tuition fee and examination fee of dalit students will require about Rs 228 crore. The revamping of the educational structure will require Rs 607 crore in the case of middle, high and senior secondary schools in the sate. Another Rs 338 crore is required for revamping primary schools.

A sum of Rs 333 crore is required to appoint 20,009 teachers while Rs 43 crore is needed to have a pension scheme for aided colleges. The promised three world-class cricket stadiums will require Rs 25 crore each. The amended shagun scheme will require Rs 198 crore during this year. A multispecialty hospital in each district will cost Rs 200 crore.

The scheme of giving a grant of Rs 51,000 to every sports club will require about Rs 62 crore. These are just a few examples.

(Concluded)

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