Chandigarh: The Congress government in Punjab is neither honoring nor giving an honorarium to the sarpanches and panches of the state, while the government is imposing a huge burden on the exchequer by giving new cars and other allowances to its ministers and officials. Alleging this, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab president and MP Bhagwant Mann demanded that the Charanjit Singh Channi government should immediately pay an honorarium of at least Rs 25,000 to each Sarpanch and at least Rs 10,000 to each Panch per month.
In a statement issued from the party headquarters here on Thursday, Bhagwant Mann alleged, “The ruling Congress government, which proclaimed the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, did not give a proper honorarium to the sarpanches and panches; whereas Mahatma Gandhi said that maximum income and employment should be given to every villager.” He said that the Punjab government was giving an honorarium of Rs 1,200 per month to the sarpanches of the state but even this meager allowance has not been received by the sarpanches for the last three years. However, the government does not give a single penny to the village panches.
Mann said, on the other hand, the heads and members of Municipal Councils and Municipal Corporations are provided with honorarium per month, meeting attendance allowance, and mobile expenses by the government. He questioned, “Doesn't the Channi government consider sarpanches and panches as elected representatives of the people? Why doesn't the Congress government give proper allowances to sarpanches like ministers, MLAs, mayors, and councilors?”
The AAP leader further said that the Channi government has opened the doors of the exchequer to the state ministers and MLAs for new luxury cars, salary chunks, and other allowances; but the treasury becomes empty when it comes to giving a meager honorarium to sarpanches. Bhagwant Mann said the Channi government should immediately stop the looting of the Punjab exchequer and provide an adequate honorarium to the sarpanches and panches, including village development so that they too would feel proud to be in a constitutional position.
Bhagwant Mann said that the sarpanches have to attend government and non-government employees visiting the villages every day and for the work of the villagers they have to go to courts, police stations, tehsils, and other institutions; that means the expenditure of a sarpanch starts with starting of the day. He said that most of the Panchayat members in the state were not in a good financial position. Therefore, the government should increase the honorarium of Panchayat members by giving a minimum of Rs 25,000 to each Sarpanch and a minimum of Rs 10,000 to each Panch, per month.