Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it was shocking that Dalit ministers who were ever vocal about dalit issues during SAD-BJP tenure, when the most was done for the dis-advantaged, were turning a blind eye to the implementation of RTE Act in Punjab which assured free and compulsory education in private unaided schools to dalits and below poverty line (BPL) families.
In a statement here, former minister Gulzar Singh Ranike said the reprimand by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes in this context was proof of the anti-dalit attitude of the Congress government. “It is condemnable that dalit ministers like Charanjit Singh Channi and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot never spoke out about the need to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act which assures 25 per cent quota for disadvantaged children in private unaided schools for which the fee is reimbursed to schools by the State”.
Asking both Channi and Dharamsot to explain to the scheduled caste as well as below poverty line (BPL) families why they had been denied this facility by the Congress government, Ranike said “it seems both ministers are only interested in clinging to their chairs by hook or by crook and are not interested in the welfare of the dalit community at all. There can be no other answer as to why not a single child was admitted to any private school in Punjab under this scheme”, he added.
Ranike said earlier technical education Minister Charanjit Channi had abysmally failed to ensure dalit students received their scholarship which was also part of a central scheme. He said Social Welfare minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot had failed to ensure distribution of old age pension and shagun scheme.
The former minister, who also heads the SC wing of the SAD, said the wing would soon start a movement for the recall of both Channi and Dharamsot. “Both these ministers have lost the right to represent dalits in the State cabinet”, he added.
Ranike also demanded immediately implementation of the RTE Act in Punjab from the forthcoming session. He said the SAD would also raise this issue in the forthcoming budget session in the Vidhan Sabha and force the government to implement the RTE Act in Punjab.