Sukhbir Badal writes to Chief Minister against closure of Sewa Kendras. Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday urged Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to intervene personally to stop the closure of 1,600 people-centric Sewa Kendras in the state. The former deputy chief minister said, “These Kendras are meant to stop the harassment of the people in government offices and eliminate the reasons for corruption.” Sukhbir, in a letter to the Punjab chief minister, attacked what he called ‘tughlakiya’ ideas of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, claiming that he had openly advocated the abolition of all subsidies like free power to the farmers, old age and other pensions in the state etc. “But the chief minister in our government firmly refused to burden the people of Punjab merely to help the finance minister to earn some brownie points with the arm chair economists. But will you succumb to this pressure is what people want to know,” Sukhbir Singh Badal asked the chief minister in the letter. On a meeting on January 24, the Punjab Cabinet had decided to shut down over 1,600 Sewa Kendras, started by the previous Akali-BJP government in the state. The Sewa Kendras were providing over 100 citizen-centric services like death and birth certificates to people. Sukhbir wanted to know what “profit” did the government want to earn from the poor and the needy who look at the government as a “provider” of services while the finance minister looked at it as “Finance Company” which must make profit out of every service it provides.“The skewed ideas of the Punjab finance minister may lead to closing down virtually every citizen-centric service in the state. The public transport system and the offices of the revenue officials, like ‘Patwarkhanas’, hospitals run at a loss by the health department, schools and colleges also a lossmaking facility maintained for the benefit of the people as a citizen-centric service may have to be closed down,” he alleged. In fact, even the police department may have to be shut down because this department too is in the real sense only a Sew Kendra by another name. But these will not bring in revenue to the government, he said.
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