The petitions committee of the Delhi assembly tabled two reports in the House on Thursday, and recommended to the President and Union ministry of home affairs to take appropriate action against Delhi’s lieutenant governor and the chief secretary for “creating an atmosphere of fear among the departments of the Delhi government and preventing officers from performing their duties”.
The reports, copies of which HT has seen, have also urged action against director, social welfare; secretary, health and principal secretary finance for “wilful delay” in executing government projects.
AAP MLAs also held a protest in the Delhi assembly premises on Thursday, demanding the suspension of the chief secretary and the secretaries of the health and finance departments for allegedly sabotaging the works of Delhi government at the behest of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.
The LG office and the chief secretary did not respond to request for comment.
Petitions committee chairman Akhilesh Pati Tripathi tabled the two reports — “Abrupt stoppage of pensions of old age citizens in Delhi”, and “Conspiracy of officials to sabotage the functioning of Mohalla Clinics at the behest of LG of Delhi”. The reports were later adopted by the House.
The AAP leaders have alleged that services in Mohalla Clinics were being sabotaged and the disbursal of old-age pension to over 4.1 lakh beneficiaries was disrupted under an alleged “conspiracy to turn people against the AAP ahead of the December 4 MCD polls”.
According to the reports, the committee received multiple representations from people and examined the issues between December 12, 2022 to January 17, 2023. The House panel also questioned the officials concerned and recorded their depositions during the course of examining the issues, the reports said.
Tripathi said, “LG had directed officials to halt all government operations in the city. Being aware of the fact that the people of Delhi had rejected them, the BJP used the LG to threaten officials and halt pensions of those who rely on it for their daily sustenance. The finance secretary, the social welfare secretary and director of social welfare department were found to have deliberately delayed the release of pensions, citing the need to improve the system, while causing immense hardship to the vulnerable elderly population.”
The government pays ₹2,000 pension to those aged below 70 years, and ₹2,500 to those older than 70 years.
According to the reports, the committee has asked chief secretary Naresh Kumar to take action against social welfare director. However, during questioning by the committee, the chief secretary denied the suggestion that he was arm twisting officers to create hurdles in functioning of the welfare schemes of the government, the reports said.
None of the officials named in the report on pensions were available for comment despite repeated attempts by HT.
In the Mohalla Clinics report, the committee has recommended to the chief secretary to take action against health secretary Amit Singhla and principal secretary (finance) Ashish Chandra Verma for “wilfully causing delay” in processing files and release of funds for clinic services and paying remuneration to the doctors.
None of the officials named in the report were available for a comment.
AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who is a member of the committee, said “A few months before the MCD elections, salaries of the doctors and nursing staff of the Mohalla Clinics were stopped. Funds for free tests were also discontinued,” Bharadwaj said the health department had unspent funds of ₹70 crore, yet it did not release money for salaries.
The committee has also recommended to the Delhi assemby to allow live telecast of committees’ proceedings and uploading of videos for greater transparency.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said that there is nothing new in the petitions committee report. The AAP government called this assembly session to pass resolutions against the LG and the chief secretary who have stopped their anarchic agenda.