Six months on, only one of 26 Punjab advisory panels have met

It has been six months since the Punjab government constituted 26 high-powered state advisory committees (SACs) comprising SAD and Congress MLAs. As many as 25 of these are yet to meet, even for the first time. The tenure of these committees will end on March 31, by which time, these should have met at least thrice.

In August 2012, the government had notified 26 committees to advise the ministers in the working of their departments. Each committee was chaired by the minister and had official members, including department secretaries with the minister and 10 MLAs as non-official members. Five MLAs were drawn from the ruling SAD and the rest from among the Congress, the BJP and independent MLAs.

The notification had stated that these committees are to meet at least once every three months. According to sources in the parliamentary affairs department, till date, only one of these 26 committees have met.

"I have attended one meeting held under the chairmanship of the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. It was on excise and taxation. Later, there was an invitation for a SAC meeting on food and civil supplies but it was postponed," said SAD MLA from Nakodar, Gurpartap Singh Vadala.

SAD MLA from Jandiala, Baljit Singh Jalal Usma, is a member of the SAC on general administration, personnel, power and vigilance. He is yet to attend any meeting. This committee as well as many others are chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. "I think Badal saab might have been busy and thus these meetings could not be held," he said.

In some cases, members are not even aware that they are on these committees. Qadian Congress MLA Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, who is member of SAC on social security, women and child development, doesn't know she is a member of which committee. "I came to know about the formation of these committees from another Congress MLA. Obviously, I have not received any intimation about any meeting," she said.

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