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RTI activist files complain against Haryana's CM alleging wastage of taxpayers money on publicity blitz
An RTI Activist P.P. Kapoor has filed a complaint with the Lokayukta of Haryana, against Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Director General of Public Relations for initiating probe alleging that Hooda had cheated the people of the state by wasting government funds worth crores in the 'Haryana Sabse Aage' publicity blitz and giving wrong information about achievements of the government.

But the million dollar question being asked in political and administrative circles is that, will the Haryana Lokayukta Pritam Pal start probing the matter as his hands are tied due to lack of powers.

According to the provisions of Haryana Lokayukta Act, for starting a probe against the Chief Minister, prior sanction from competent authority, which in case of Chief Minister is Governor in his discretion is needed and for all other public servants competent authority is Chief Minister.

The Governor of Haryana Jagannath Pahadia, an old Gandhian is under personal obligation of Chief Minister. Besides acting like a spokesman of Hooda as was evident at a recent function in Rohtak where Pahadia while challenging opponents of Hooda had asked them to visit Haryana for seeing the various development works.

Lokayukta Pritampal while speaking to this citizen journalist said that he had written several times to the Govt. for more powers to effectively fight the corruption but so far the Govt., has not responded hoping that later or sooner the state government may give Lokayukta adequate powers.

Pritampal assured this citizen journalist, who has launched a signature campaign for last three years for empowerment of Lokayukta, that once given powers he will definitely show the results.

It is interesting  to mention here that Haryana Vikas Party and BJP coalition government headed by late Bansi Lal has given adequate powers to the then Lokpal and had appointed Justice I.P. Vashisth, known for honesty and integrity as first Lokpal of the state.

His successor Om Prakash Chautala, who was opposed to a strong Lokpal, had abolished the act while promising to bring a more powerful Act and brought a dummy Lokpal which was obediently followed by his successor Bhupinder Singh Hooda as according to I.P. Vashisth, no chief minister cutting across party lines wants a strong Lokpal in the state.

Now Hooda on the directions of Rahul Gandhi is saying that he will empower Lokayukta. If he is sincere to his words he should immediately call a special session of the State Assembly and replace the present dummy Act with a powerful act like it is in Karnataka.

It is widely believed in Haryana that if the state has a Karnataka type Lokayukta Act, and present Lokayukta Pritampal acts on his conscience than high and mighty will be in hot waters.

The RTI activist Kapoor has alleged that the money was wasted on false propaganda to derive political mileage and the Director-General, Public Relations, was equally responsible for it. Hence, probe should also be ordered against him.

Again the same question arises, will Hooda give permission for proceedings against D-G, Public Relations as he has appointed ex-Chief Secretary Prem Prashant, a member of administrative reforms commission after his retirement. Prem Prashant, it may be recalled that, has not supplied the information sought by the then Lokayukta N.K. Sood.
 
Kapoor said the government had claimed of setting up of 101 special economic zones, investment of Rs 2 lakh crore and employment generation for 20 lakh people, but only four special economic zones came up and only 35,859 persons got employment while the total investment was only Rs 3,179 crore.
 
The advertisements claimed construction of 2 lakh houses under the “roof for all” programme, but when information was sought about the actual number of houses constructed by the government, no information was supplied, Kapoor said. He has mentioned that a staggering budget of Rs. 114 crores for publicity has been earmarked for the year 2013-2014. Out of which Rs 45- Rs 66 Lakh have already been spent till June 3, 2013.

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