Chandigarh: The opposition Congress on Monday cornered Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa for allegedly "misappropriating" Rs 2,000 crore received by the state from the Centre under various schemes during the last five years and "diverting" funds for other purposes.

Trouble began during question hour in the state assembly when Congress MLAs Brahm Mohindra and Kewal Singh Dhillon sought a reply from the government on amount of grants received by Punjab from the Centre under various schemes during the last five years and details of diversion of funds of these schemes for other purposes.

However, Dhindsa stood up to clarify that no funds were "mismanaged, diverted or misappropriated" by the government. The Centre did not send the required money asked by the Punjab government, he said.

Stating that a sum of Rs 1,350 crore was not released by the Centre, Dhindsa said, the government had asked each department on their requirement of money.

"The government has released Rs 800 crore...no bill is pending in the state's treasury", he asserted.

Under the Central schemes, the Centre had not released the entire money demanded by the Punjab government, he said, adding that all the money released for central schemes had been sent to the concerned departments of the government.

"Under the central schemes some money goes directly to the concerned agencies", he said.

However, Mohindra said that the state government had mismanaged Rs 2,000 crore received by it under various schemes.

He said that Dhindsa in his budget proposals was not clear as to how he would generate Rs 2,000 crore additional resources to meet the state's demand.

Opposition leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar read out a letter purportedly written to him by the Finance Ministry on grants of funds to Punjab.

He said that as per the Finance Ministry figures the Centre had given grants of Rs 3,870.84 crore in 2010-11, but the state government released only Rs 2,813 crore.

Jakhar said that similarly in 2011-12, the Centre released Rs 4,014.20 crore whereas the Punjab government released only Rs 3,074.24 crore.

Seeking to know from the Finance Minister where the money had gone which the Centre provided under the National Food Security Mission, he alleged that the state government had misappropriated money to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore.

Dhindsa said that the state government had received Rs 11,426 crore under various centrally sponsored schemes during the last five years.

(Agencies)

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