Taking the Akalis head on over their baseless allegations on the achievements of his government, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday described the charges as a sign of desperation and frustration in view of the pathetic performance of the previous SAD-BJP government.
Citing hard facts and numbers to trash the Akali charges, the Chief Minister dared them to list a single count on which their government had delivered to the people during their decade-long rule.
All they did was destroy every vestige of development that his own government had achieved in his previous term, said Captain Amarinder, lashing out at the Akalis for misleading the people with blatant lies and baseless claims.
In sharp contrast to the Akalis, and their allies (BJP), who failed to deliver on a single promise in the 10 years of their misrule, the Congress government had not only implemented the majority of the promises made in the party manifesto but had successfully pulled the state back from the brink of collapse to which it had been pushed by the previous regime, said the Chief Minister.
Trashing SAD’s claims and charges as a bunch of lies and fabrications, clearly aimed at hiding their own failures, Captain Amarinder said not only had his government executed the central schemes effectively but had also launched several path-breaking initiatives to pave the way for Punjab’s development, that had plummeted to shockingly abysmal levels under the previous government.
Citing data to endorse his government’s claims, the Chief Minister listed out various schemes and programmes launched in the past 30 months, as compared to a decade of non-performance by the SAD-BJP coalition government.
While the SAD had been responsible for transforming the state into a narcotics den, his government had, immediately after taking over, set up a Special Task Force, which had force most drug traffickers to leave the state, with 27,744 NDPS cases registered and 33,622 persons arrested, besides large seizures of drugs, the Chief Minister.
Not only this, his government was also ensuring the treatment and rehabilitation of the victims of the drugs menace, said Captain Amarinder, pointing to the fact that 87000 addicts had so far been treated at the 178 OPD clinics.
The unique DAPO scheme had seen 5.5 lakh volunteers getting enrolled in the fight against drugs, while 37.5 lakh had been enrolled in the 7.5 lakh Buddy groups, he added.
“What did the SAD do to save our future generations from this deadly menace?” he asked. Instead, they were only pushing the youth further into drugs as a result of the total economic breakdown in the state, leading to large-scale unemployment, he said, pointing out his government’s flagship programme ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar’ had witnessed the creation of 9 lakh jobs/self-employment opportunities (at the rate of 1034 per day).
Despite the severe fiscal crisis which the SAD-BJP government had left behind, his government, said Captain Amarinder, had waived off Rs. 4700 Crore of farm debt, while 9.28 Lakh people had benefitted from various Welfare Schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Vikas Yojna.
“Did the SAD even think of initiating any such scheme? Or were they so busy promoting their own interests that the problems of the farmers and the downtrodden did not even cross their minds?” he asked.
That the SAD had the gall to negate his government’s achievements after ruining every facet of the state’s development was not just shocking but a manifestation of their anti-people mindset, Captain Amarinder said, lambasting the Akalis for throwing Punjab virtually to the dogs during the 10 years of their mis-governance.
The people of Punjab could see the change on the ground and no amount of fabrications by the Akalis would negate that, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the recent Lok Sabha elections had shown that the people were not ready to be taken in by the rantings of a group of politicians who cared nothing for the state or its welfare.
The Akalis have no shame, said the Chief Minister, lambasting them over their abominable attempts to denigrate the efforts of his government after being solely responsible for the devastation of Punjab on every single count.
Health and education had taken a complete backseat under their (SAD’s) rule, the Chief Minister recalled, pointing to the pathetic state of all educational and medical institutions when his government took over in March 2017.
His government had accorded top priority to these critical sectors, with 847 Wellness Clinics already functional and another 650 ready to become operational by March 2020, said Captain Amarinder.
They (SAD-BJP) gave insurance cover of only Rs 2 lakh to 31.4 Lakh Families, while his incumbent government had extended it to Rs 5 lakh for 46 Lakh Families, under the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna, the Chief Minister noted, challenging the Akalis to counter these hard facts if they could.
Under Mission Tandarust Punjab, adulteration of food was being regularly checked and farmers had saved Rs 200 crore through reduction of 1 Lakh MT of Urea and 46000 MT of DAP. “Can the SAD leaders, who are crying themselves hoarse with criticism of my government, list down even one initiative on these counts,” he asked.
Cognizant of the importance of educational to a society’s progress, 4261 smart schools had already been made operational, with 12,921 pre-primary classes started in government schools to make education accessible to all.
English Medium had been introduced in as many as 6000 government schools, said the Chief Minister, pointing out that the various initiatives of the last two years had led to a remarkable improvement in the performance of government schools, which were lying in a shambles under the SAD-BJP rule.
And what did the SAD ever do for environmental protection in all these years? asked the Chief Minister, pointing out that his government had allocated Rs.298.5 Crore on the Urban Environment Improvement Scheme and had undertaken a massive tree plantation drive, with 66 lakh saplings already planting in 11066 villages.
The people of Punjab have not forgotten how industries had fled the state under the previous government, he said, pointing to the steps taken by his government to attract investment and industries through Rs 5/unit (for 5 years) industrial tariff freeze and annual average of Rs 1146 crore in industrial power subsidy.
This had led to actual on-ground investment of Rs 50000 crore in 30 months, against which the previous government had realised a mere Rs 31323 crore in 10 years.
“What did the Akalis do for the villages, where we have already spent Rs 796 crore under the Smart Village Campaign,” said the Chief Minister. His government’s yearly average of Rs.460 Crore on Rural Drinking Water, Rs 2.46 lakh on rural sanitation (toilets), Rs.1639 Crore (Yearly Average) on Rural Link Roads, as against SAD-BJP government’s Rs.219 Crore, 1.57 lakh, Rs 571 crore, respectively, completely expose the lies of the Akalis, he added.
The numbers were equally telling with respect to other schemes, said Captain Amarinder, referring to MGNREGA Expenditure, AMRUT, Ashirwad, Social Security Pension, Smart Cities etc. Road and bridges were being constructed at a pace that could not have been even envisaged during the Akali regime, the Chief Minister pointed out.