Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday warned inimical forces against any attempt to destroy the peace and harmony of the country, while calling upon the people to join hands in fighting such forces.
Addressing a gathering here at the Guru Gobind Singh Stadium after unfurling the National Flag during a state level function on the 73rd Independence Day, the Chief Minister said that there were anti national forces that were envious of the peaceful atmosphere and development in the state. “Let us rededicate ourselves to work collectively to build a strong and prosperous Punjab, and to cement the bonds of love, peace and amity,” he said.
Highlighting the immense contribution of Punjabis in the national freedom struggle, the Chief Minister said it was now our collective duty to preserve the hard earned freedom attained through countless sacrifices.
Recalling his visit to Jung-E-Azadi Memorial to inaugurate its third phase yesterday, Captain Amarinder Singh said that the memorial would be instrumental in spreading awareness amongst the youngsters about various facets of the legendary Indian freedom struggle.
The Chief Minister said that 2019 was a historic year in view of the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Jallianwala Bagh centenary being commemorated with great enthusiasm and fervour.
He recalled the various development and infrastructural projects worth Rs 145 crore in Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts and laying of foundation stones of different projects at a cost of Rs. 132 crore kickstarted by him yesterday for the holistic development of both districts. The Chief Minister also referred to development projects inaugurated by his Cabinet colleagues on August 14 across the state.
Referring to the crusade against the drug abuse, Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out that 27,744 cases had been registered under NDPS Act with the arrest of 33,622 persons besides recovery of 767 kg heroine and huge quantity of other contraband substances. As many as 87,000 addicts were being treated in 178 OOAT centres in the state.
On the farmer friendly initiatives, the Chief Minister said that the State Government was contemplating to disburse Rs. 520 crore to 2.85 lakh farm labourers and landless farmers who are the members of the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies. Under the debt relief scheme till date, 5.62 lakh marginal and small farmers had been benefitted by settling their standing crop loans of Rs. 47,00 crores.
He also stated that the total annual remuneration of farmers on account of Government procurement of foodgrain had increased to Rs. 1.24 lakh crore since 2017, thereby registering a hike of about Rs. 30,000 crore over the earnings in the corresponding seasons of the previous Government. Thus, farmers’ income through sale of food grains had increased by over 32 % ever since the Government took over.
On the education front, the Chief Minister said for the first time in several years, Government Schools had outperformed private schools thereby registering an increase of 8.7 percent in overall pass percentage of class X and 4.45 percent in class XII board results. 261 smart schools had been set up, covering all 217 educationally backward blocks at a cost of Rs. 30 crore and nearly 4,000 primary, middle and high schools had been transformed into smart schools with the support of CSR/NGOs/NRIs/Charitable institutions and individual donations.
Announcing that the State Government would organise the 5th Mega Job Fair at different venues across the state from September 9 to 30, Captain Amarinder Singh said about two lakh jobs in private sectors would be offered to the unemployed youth besides and one lakh applicants were likely to be assisted for self-employment.
Under the State Government’s flagship ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar Scheme’ more than 9 lakh youth had been facilitated in getting employment in private/government sectors or self-employment since March 2017. Nearly six lakh youth had been assisted in self-employment, 2.60 lakh in private sectors and 40,000 in government jobs.
The Chief Minister also announced that the youth would be provided free smart mobile phones shortly, under the Digital Punjab initiative in fulfilment of the poll promise.
Captain Amarinder Singh also appealed to the people to plant 550 saplings each in all 12,700 villages in the state as part of 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He said 40 lakh saplings had already been planted so far in 3500 villages to make the state clean, green and pollution-free.
On the revival of industry, the Chief Minister said that the new industrial policy had given a big boost with over Rs. 50,000 crore in investments being firmed up.
To give a further push to rural development, the Chief Minister pointed out that an outlay of Rs. 680 crore had been kept under the Smart Village Campaign – an umbrella programme to ensure all-round development of villages, of which Rs. 198 crore had been released as the first instalment.
Prioritising the welfare of SC/BC, the Chief Minister said that 200 free units of power were being provided to SC, BPL and BC households. Similarly, his Government had already enhanced the monthly social security pension from Rs. 500 to Rs. 750 for 20 lakh beneficiaries with an annual expenditure of Rs. 1600 crore, besides enhancing the financial assistance under Ashirwad Scheme from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 21,000.
Under the Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Vikas Yojana, 9.28 lakh persons had been provided requisite relief/benefit out of 12.17 lakh distressed persons identified under the Yojana.
Earlier, the Chief Minister took the salute during an impressive march past by the contingents of ITBP, Punjab Police (men and women), Rajasthan Police, Chandigarh Police, Guardians of Governance, Punjab Home Guards, NCC and PAP Pipe and Brass Band, Pipe Band of 6 Sikh Li and CRPF led by the parade Commander DSP Gursher Singh.
On the occasion, 10 tableaus displaying the plantation drive of 550 saplings in all villages in commemoration of the 550th Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Ghar Ghar Haryali by the Forest Department, Padho Punjab Padhao Punjab of Education Department, Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana of Health Department, Ghar Ghar Rozgar Scheme and Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Vikas Yojana by ADC (Development) and District Bureau of Employment and Entreprises, Anti Drug Campaign by SSP Rural, MGNREGS and Smart Village Campaign by ADC (Development) and DDPO, Save Water, Earn Money and Debt Relief Scheme of PSPCL and Cooperation Department, Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry Department, Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao by District Programme Officer, Smart City and Urban Environment Improvement Program by CEO Smart City and Commissioner Municipal Corporation.
Earlier, a colourful variety programme comprising tent pegging by Punjab Police besides mass PT show, Giddha, Bhangra and other traditional folk dances performed by the school and college students enthralled the audience.
The Chief Minister also honoured three freedom fighters namely Prem Sagar, Dev Brat Sharma and Jawahar lal besides distributing sewing machines to the needy women and tricycles to physically challenged persons.
In a symbolic gesture, Captain Amarinder Singh also handed over appointment letters to five newly recruited youngsters Charanpreet Kaur, Gurpreet Pal Singh, Jasmine Singh, Mandeep and Amarjit, who got employment in private sectors under Ghar Ghar Rozgar Scheme.
Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion were; Member Parliament Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Senior Advisor to Chief Minister, Lt Gen (Retd) TS Shergill, MLAs Pargat Singh, Sushil Rinku, Chaudhary Surinder Singh, Rajinder Beri, Bawa Henry, Hardev Singh Laddi, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta, Former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, ADGP Ishwar Singh, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Commissioner Jalandhar Division B Purushartha, Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma, Police Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP Navjot Singh Mahal, Director Cultural Affairs M S Jaggi, MC Commissioner Diparva Lakra, Mayor Jagdish Raj Raja, Chairman Improvement Trust Daljit Singh Ahluwalia and OSD To CM Gurpreet Singh Sonu Dhesi.