New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government spent a disproportionately large amount of Rs 7 crore on a publicity campaign to advertise a bio-composting solution to discourage stubble burning, while only Rs 40,000 had been released for the actual programme, leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, has alleged.
In a letter addressed to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, the BJP leader has said that while Rs 40,000 had been released for the purchase of pesticides, Rs 13.20 lakh was spent on the transportation of the same, and Rs 7 crore for advertisements. Bidhuri has demanded a probe into the “misdeed” of the Aam Aadmi Party government by a sitting high court judge to expose the alleged misappropriation of funds.
“It is requested of the L-G to order an immediate probe by a sitting judge of the High Court into the bungling of crore of taxpayer’s money by the Kejriwal government so that all facts are made public and the misdeeds of this government are exposed,’’ Bidhuri has said in his letter.
Elaborating on how the money had been spent, he has said that the scheme was announced by the Delhi government for the purpose of purchase of pesticides for farmers to decompose the stubble in the fields, so that they did not have to burn it.
However, he has added, while pesticides worth only Rs 40,000 worth were purchased, a significantly larger amount of Rs 13.20 lakh was shown as expenditure on transportation and distribution of the pesticides. “What’s more,” he has alleged, “the expenditure on publicity and advertisements for projecting the scheme as a major achievement was exponentially more at nearly Rs 7 crore.”
“It is sad and unfortunate that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal not only misused taxpayers’ funds for self-publicity and misled the people of Delhi but also, misled the country by making tall claims about having found a solution to the stubble burning issue and subsequent pollution,” the letter has said.
Though AAP has not reacted to the allegations levelled by Bidhuri, Kejriwal had in November 2020 stated that the bio-composing solution developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa and referred to as the “Pusa Decomposer” had proved to be a success in addressing the problem of stubble burning.
The Delhi Government had first carried out a pilot project in Hiranki village in North West Delhi to check the efficacy of the bio-decomposer. Kejriwal had then announced that his government had taken upon itself the responsibility to spray the bio-decomposer solution across farmlands around Delhi.
“We have sprayed the solution across Delhi in just Rs 20 lakh,” he had said, adding that the bio-decomposer proved to be effective.
The Delhi government had also undertaken a major publicity campaign to claim how it had addressed the problem of stubble burning while other states, like Haryana and Punjab, struggled to deal with the issue, which led to a seasonal spike in air pollution in several north Indian states.