Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the people to avow for eradicating the social evils of drug addiction, female foeticide, and dowry on one hand and checking environmental degradation on the other to ensure ‘Punjab as a clean, green and pollution free state’.
Addressing a mammoth gathering on the state level function of 67th Independence day after unfurling the tricolor here at Guru Nanak Stadium, the Chief Minister underscored the need to launch a vigorous awareness campaign to stamp out these social and environmental maladies from the state so as to cherish the aspirations of our freedom fighters and patriots, who dreamt of a nation sans illiteracy, unemployment, poverty and starvation, in post independence era. However he lamented that we have miserably failed to satiate their expectations because as on today we have not yet been able to provide the basic civic amenities such as potable drinking water, electricity, sewerage, roads and health care facilities even after 66 years of freedom. Mr. Badal said, “It is high time for all of us to do soul searching to ascertain who is at fault”.
Without mincing any words, the Chief Minister said the successive centre governments had vehemently failed to deliver the goods effectively for reasons best known to them adding he said but one thing was crystal clear that it all happened due to lack of will and commitment for the welfare of the countrymen in general and the disadvantaged sections of society in particular. Referring to the injustice meted out to Punjab by centre from day one, Mr. Badal said that it was an open secret because we have been denied justice one after another due to its apathy on one pretext or other. On the contrary, he said that the state government, despite of limited means, has made concerted efforts to put the state consistently on the track of development and prosperity, the core factor of which was complete peace, harmony and brotherhood.
Paying glowing tributes to the great martyrs and several unsung heroes who spearheaded several movements to free our motherland from the yoke of foreign imperialism, the Chief Minister said that the supreme sacrifices made by Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai and Kartar Singh Sarabha would ever act as a lighthouse to imbibe the spirit of patriotism and nationalism amongst the future generations. Mr. Badal said that as a humble tribute to these legendary patriots the state government was constructing the world class ‘Jang-e-Azaadi’ memorial at Kartarpur in Jalandhar, to showcase the enormous contribution of Punjabis in the freedom struggle.
The Chief Minister said that on education front we have been ranked first amongst all the states in the country. We have set up nine new universities, 17 degree colleges besides upcoming six special schools for meritorious students and launching Dr Hargobind Khurana scholarship scheme of Rs 30000 annually for the bright students securing 80% of more marks in matriculation from government schools. Likewise we have made stupendous efforts for the upgradation of Health infra structure in the state by setting up a Medicity over 1500 acres land in Mullanpur (New Chandigarh). Efforts were afoot to establish Drug de-addiction centres to wean away our youth from the menace of drug addiction so as to utilize their unbounded energy in a constructive manner.
The Chief Minister said that the state government has also played a vanguard role in championing the cause of oppressed sections of society by launching several social security schemes like Shagun, Atta-Dal, Old age and Widow Pension and others. Reiterating his firm commitment to make ‘New Punjab’, Mr. Badal said, “Let us rededicate ourselves to make our country and state- the land of the dreams of our great Gurus, Saints and Seers besides countless freedom fighters, who made selfless sacrifices at the altar of their motherland”.
Earlier, the Chief Minister accompanied by Director General of Police Mr. Sumedh Singh Saini and Deputy Commissioner Ludhiana Mr. Rahul Tiwari, inspected the parade led by parade commander DSP Mr. Akashdeep Singh Aulakh and took a salute during an impressive march past by 17 contingents of Punjab Police, Punjab Home Guards, Punjab Armed Police, 3rd NCC Punjab Girls Battalion, 19th NCC Punjab Boys Battalion, Bharat Scouts and Guides besides the Punjab Police Brass band and other school bands. The students of various local schools presented a colorful variety program including Bhangra, Gidha, Group Dance, PT show and group singing.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also honored Freedom fighters and their kin in recognition of their valuable contribution in the freedom struggle of the country. Mr. Badal also honored three distinguished Police officers viz. SP (D) Amritsar Rural Mr. Jasdeep Singh, Sub Inspector Mr. Didar Singh and Mr. Ram Lal RTC Jahankhela, Hoshiarpur. He also gave tri-cycles to the physical challenged persons and sewing machines to the poor and needy women. Mr. Badal also honored 32 eminent personalities from different walks of life for their outstanding services towards the society with a citation, cash award of Rs 25000 and a shawl.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Advisor on Media and National Affairs Mr. Harcharan Bains and Principal Secretary Mr. SK Sandhu. Prominent amongst those present on occasion included Chairman District Planning Committee Jathedar Hira Singh Gabria, Mayor Mr. GS Golwaria and Police Commissioner Mr. PS Gill.