The Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday announced it would hold a ”dharna” at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s official residence on June 15 to demand that an immediate dismissal of Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu besides institution of a CBI probe into the alleged vaccine and “Fateh” kit scandals.
A Fateh kit contains a pulse oxymeter, a thermometer, face masks, a steamer, sanitisers, vitamin C and zinc tablets and some other medicines for COVID-19 patients.
The SAD will also demand that land being acquired in the state for national highways be done on the market rate along with award of displacement compensation to farmers.
It said it would join farmers to protest against the “ridiculously low” compensation being offered to them for acquisition of their land for expressway projects in case the government did not amend this policy and offer compensation to farmers according to the policy of the erstwhile SAD-BJP government.
Party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal would lead the symbolic ”dharna” at the residence of the chief minister and it would be attended by the party’s senior leadership including core committee and Political Affairs Committee members, legislators, former legislators, constituency incharge, district presidents and youth office bearers.
Mr Cheema said the “vaccine scam” as well as “Fateh kit scam” had shaken the conscience of Punjabis who were shocked that an elected government and its members were profiting from their misery during the time of pandemic.
“Though the Congress government has admitted its fault in the vaccine scam whereby it sold vaccines to private hospitals at huge margins and in turn allowed the latter to charge steep premiums, no action has been taken against anyone. “Instead of dismissing the Health minister, Capt Amarinder Singh is shielding him and even trying to silence the opposition by registering cases against senior Akali leaders for holding a peaceful and democratic protest to demand justice in the case,” Mr Cheema said in a statement.
He said the voice of the SAD could not be suppressed by such high-handed tactics and that it would intensify its agitation further in case those guilty for the scam were not booked and punished.
Mr Cheema said Mr Badal had also “exposed the Fateh kit scam under which medical kits which were to be supplied to Covid patients were jacked up repeatedly from Rs 800 to Rs 1,400 per kit” by inviting one tender after another despite the fact the first tender was valid for a six-month period.
He said it was condemnable that even in this case the chief minister had refused to take any action despite the fact that it was conclusively proved that the tender was awarded at inflated rates to a company, Grandway, “which did not even have a medical license.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)