BADAL’s MYOPIC DEMAND FOR `GIFTS’ FOR LAMBI AIMED AT FURTHER HIS OWN POLITICAL AMBITIONS: CAPT AMARINDER

Punjab Update

Chandigarh, September 18:  Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday lashed out at the former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal over his selective demand for development of Lambi, saying the Akali leader patently held a myopic view towards the state’s progress.

          Reacting to Badal’s statement that the Chief Minister “…should come to Lambi with gifts for the people in the form of promises fulfilled…”, Captain Amarinder Singh said that unlike the SAD veteran, he was the Chief Minister not just of Lambi but all of Punjab, even though he had the highest respect for the people of Lambi.

          Badal continues to view Lambi as the only constituency in the State which deserves development, said Captain Amarinder Singh in response to questions by some media persons, lambasting the former Chief Minister for his desperate and futile attempts to mislead the people and divert their attention from his own misdeeds of 10 years. It was evident that Badal was only striving to further his own political ambitions by seeking sops for Lambi at the cost of the development of the rest of the state, he added.

          Pointing out that Badal had not sought gifts for any other region of Punjab in the past 18 months, Captain Amarinder Singh said it showed that the former Chief Minister was least concerned about the people of the state except for those whom he needed for his election. The Chief Minister said he would soon visit Lambi to address the development requirements of the area but, at the same time, he would ensure finalization and execution of development plans for every part of the State.

          In response to a question about the poll promises fulfilled by his government, the Chief Minister pointed out that within two days of coming to power; his Council of Ministers had approved 117 decisions to implement the promises made in the Congress manifesto. Of these,

70 had been fully implemented and 11 were in the process of implementation, he said, challenging Badal to reveal the number of poll promises fulfilled by his government in the first year of coming to power in 2012.

          Giving details of some of the important promises fulfilled by his government, Captain Amarinder Singh said debt relief totaling Rs. 1735 Crore had been provided to more than 3 Lakh farmers, and the next installment of Rs 314 Crore would soon be released for marginal farmers who had availed loans from commercial banks. This, he said, was in sharp contrast to the erstwhile SAD-BJP Government which had never given any direct subsidy or relief to the farmers of the state in the 10 years of their misrule.

          For 10 years, the farmers of Punjab had suffered in the Mandis while trying to sell their hard earned produce, while his Government had ensured smooth procurement operations for 10 Lakh farmers, many of whom had happily returned home on the same day after selling their produce, the Chief Minister further said.

          The Chief Minister pointed out that old age pension had been increased from Rs. 500 to Rs. 750, benefitting more than 19 Lakh people by his government, as against the Badal government, which had increased the pension amount only once, from Rs. 250 to Rs. 500, in the last year of its 10-year rule, mainly as an election sop rather than as a benefit to the poor. The amount under the Ashirwad scheme has been hiked from Rs. 15000 to Rs. 21000, whereas the SAD-BJP government failed to increase it by even a single paisa during their rule. These combined benefits had touched about 25 lakh persons belonging to the poorest sections of the society, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

          Referring to infrastructure development, the Chief Minister said the largest ever programme of repair of link roads was launched in the first year of his government, at a cost of Rs. 2000 Crore covering 16000 Km. In contrast, the previous SAD-BJP government had repaired only 43000 Km in 10 years and diverted government funds to selected areas to further the poll prospects of the Badal clan, he added.

          The Chief Minister said that it was for the first time that any Government had embarked on a mission to facilitate gainful employment to at least one member of each household in the state. So far, employment had been provided to 2,50,000 people and a further potential of 95000 jobs had been created through increased industrial investment, he said, lambasting Badal for trying to mislead the people through lies and deceit.

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