Azad invites wrath of Harsh Dev Singh over opening of 22 health centres in Banihal

By making an announcement to open 22 health centres in Banihal, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has invited wrath of Panthers Party Chairman Harsh Dev Singh.

Reacting sharply to the manner in which the Union Health Minister openly flouted the norms and bypassed the authority of the state govt and other stakeholders Ramnagar MLA Harsh Dev Singh Friday said the announcements are not only procedurally incorrect but also violative of the principles of Accountability and good governance.

Singh said as per the established conventions the central govt. releases funds in favour of the state govt. and it is the state govt. which identifies the priority areas for funds utilization as per prescribed norms and procedures.

But in this case the Union Health Minister has unilaterally made an announcement without carrying out any proper assessment for a specific area.

He said that in the present case not only had the prevalent procedures been violated with impunity but the state govt. too had been bypassed in the process with the Union Minister going direct to the people and making announcements at the village and Block level.

Singh said that the decisions for utilization of central funds and centrally sponsored schemes are taken by the state Assembly and in the District Development Boards as per the procedures in vogue.

He said that there is a proper evaluation and assessment of the demands raised by members / legislators, survey of the concerned areas preparation of estimates and formulation of plans and proposals which are ultimately deliberated upon in Assembly and DDBs before formal approvals.

Lambasting the newly devised modus operandi for the establishment of new health centers, Mr. Singh questioned as to whether the same practice was being followed by the Union govt. in other states of the country. He said that principles of accountability, fair play and transparency demanded that a rational criteria was adopted by the helmsmen for release of funds out of public exchequer having due regard to established norms.

He said that in the present case the Union Minister had announced doles for particular area without taking the state govt. into confidence and without considering deserving areas.

He said that though it was good to announce provision of health centers to Banihal which is otherwise a highly backward and remote constituency but the stipulated norms and procedures ought to have been followed. He termed the announcements as not only procedurally incorrect but also violative of the principles of Accountability and good governance.

Harsh Dev Singh further urged upon the Union and State govt. to evaluate the demands raised from various other villages of the state for establishment of new health centers and examine their feasibility in the light of prescribed norms at the earliest. He regretted that no new health centers or PHCs had been opened in the state during the last about eight years despite repeated demands of deserving areas.

He regretted that bonafide and genuine claims of the most deserving areas had been disregarded and overlooked and announcements were being made purely on political considerations. He called upon the state govt. to assert and to ensure that justice was done to the deserving areas.

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