Chandigarh: Punjab has been dealing with the worst floods in 20 years but ruling party MLAs are not unduly worried. The Akali Dal MLAs have gone on a study tour to Scotland to study about scotch.
Even as hundreds of acres of agricultural land is under water and thousands displaced, the Akali Dal MLAs are in Scotland visiting distilleries. Heading the delegation is Speaker Nirmaljit Singh Kahlon, who was recently chargesheeted by the CBI in a corruption case. The MLAs are ostensibly on a study tour to find out how breweries abroad treat toxic effluents.
"This trip will help us understand how to deal with liquor effluents," says MLA Manoranjan Kalia.
But the state government is facing accusations of mismanagement of funds set aside to reinforce canal embankments that could have helped avoid the flooding.
The Opposition argues that the trip has been a gross waste of public money.
"This is gross misuse of public money and tax payers' money," says former Punjab chief minister and Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh.
While the Congress is crying foul it is a fact that the MLA delegation also includes its own members, along with those of the ruling alliance. The state government says untreated effluents from the state's breweries are posing a serious hazard to ground water. While this may be true, Punjab's larger concern at this point is flooding, not pollutants.