Punjab’s Members of Parliament (MPs) seem to prefer the dead to the living. Cutting across party lines, the parliamentarians have been contributing more for building crematoriums, burial grounds or cemeteries than giving grants for upgrading health services, especially in the rural areas. This disturbing trend has been revealed by information obtained under the RTI Act.
As per the information with Akali Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa distributed only Rs 1 lakh for health services in Sangrur district from his MPLAD (Local Area Development) Fund, even as he disbursed Rs 1.76 crore for cremation grounds.
Similarly, Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu distributed Rs 1.1 crore for cremation grounds in Mohali, but spared only Rs 2.5 lakh for healthcare.
Akali MP Sher Singh Ghubaya has not given even a single penny for the ailing health sector in the Ferozepur area, but he contributed Rs 67.5 lakh for cremation grounds. When contacted, Ghubaya said not many people approached him with demands for funds for health services. “Panchayats seek more money for cremation grounds, so the gap increases. I have spent a major amount on streets and sewerage,” he said.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann seems to be an exception as he has distributed Rs 33.95 lakh for health services in his parliamentary constituency, Sangrur, and spared only Rs 40,000 for cremation grounds. The AAP MP from Faridkot, Sadhu Singh, gave Rs 8.11 lakh for healthcare and Rs 12 lakh for cremation grounds.
Talking to The Tribune, Mann quipped, “If our health services are robust, the need for spending on cremation grounds decreases.” Every MP gets Rs 5 crore every year under the MPLAD Fund. It was Rs 2 crore earlier.
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