Dr Balbir is Punjab's new Health Minister
Punjab Horticulture Minister Fauja Singh Sarari today resigned as the AAP government reshuffled the portfolios of five ministers
Punjab Horticulture Minister Fauja Singh Sarari today resigned as the AAP government reshuffled the portfolios of five ministers, with one new addition.
Sarari’s ouster was imminent as he failed to reply to a show-cause notice issued to him after an audio clip in which he was purportedly heard discussing a plan to extort money from transporters went viral a few months ago.
The Opposition parties had been seeking his ouster since then.
Sarari becomes the second minister in the Bhagwant Mann-led Cabinet to be dropped on alleged corruption charges after Vijay Singla. Sarari’s ouster paved the way for the induction of Dr Balbir Singh, Patiala Rural MLA, into the Cabinet.
He has been given the portfolio of Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education and Research and Elections. Dr Balbir Singh was administered the oath of office by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a simple ceremony held in the presence of Mann.
The CM changed the portfolios of five of his Cabinet colleagues.
He gave Technical Education and Industrial Training to Harjot Bains and Hospitality to Anmol Gagan Maan. He has, however, taken the Jails Department from Bains.
Bains, who was also heading Mines and Geology Department, has been divested of this charge and given the Higher Education, which was earlier with Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer.
The latter has been given the charge of Mines and Geology and Water Resources Departments. Sources say with prices of sand and gravel skyrocketing, a decision to change the portfolio was taken.
Just two days ago, the principal secretary of the department was also moved out. Chetan Singh Jouramajra, who had courted many controversies as Health Minister, has been eased out and given the departments held earlier by Sarari Freedom Fighters, Defence Services Welfare, Food Processing and Horticulture.