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Punjab Govt
March 11, 2008




Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today blamed the Congress party for what he called " the systematic de-federalization of polity' by the Congress party for widespread poverty, illiteracy and lop sided development in the country.

"Successive Congress governments at the centre, with willing and liberal support of their ruling units in different states, have persistently distorted the Constitution to drain it of every drop of federal energy and turn it into a unitary monolith. The result has been not only the complete disconnect between the Union government and the masses it is supposed to represent but also the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in the country and the alarming specter of unemployment and poverty," said Mr. Badal.

The Chief Minister called for "politics of consensus and conciliation" in Punjab so that the political and economic synergy is not dissipated in petty personal vendetta. "The state and the government does not have even a minute to waste on revengeful and personalized politics. People have not voted for us top settle out street fights but to prepare and implement a comprehensive agenda for the bright future of the state," said the Chief Minister. He declared that his government would focus entirely on development, eradication of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. "We are taking path-breaking measures to turn Punjab into highly developed zone with a network of Super Highways, expressways, over bridges, fly-overs, and a chain of domestic and international airports, alongwith flying clubs with provisions for pilot, flight engineers and cabin crew training. We are determined also to completely revamp education through Adarsh School scheme and an initiave to upgrade every existing school to the level of a fully equipped and functional unit. 351 schools were being upgraded this year alone," declared the Chief Minister.

Summing up the debate on the Governor address in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister asked the opposition Congress party in the state to come out of its "overly defensive mould which had forced it to pivot its political philosophy and strategy around the vendetta slogan', and asked it to play a pro-active role in the development of the state. He said that 'healthy and constructive criticism' was always welcome as it helped the ruling party to keep its nose closer to the ground and spin and pursue practical governmental schemes for growth and development. "The role of the Opposition and its leader is as important as that of the Leader of the House or the ruling party. A government that turns a completely deaf ear to the voice of Opposition does so at its own peril and at the cost of the priorities of the people of the state who have elected both sides for different roles," said the Chief Minister. He warned the youth brigade in both sides to beware of politicking for cheap personal glory.

Mr. Badal further said that Congress had ruled at the centre and in several states for more than five decades . It had no excuse to wash its hands of its responsibility for the shocking poverty, social disparities and the lack of elementary basic amenities like clean drinking water in vast areas of the country, especially in the villages.

He lamented that Congress governments in Punjab had always acted as "approvers against their home state" and sided with the anti-Punjab policies of their governments at the centre. "They have always acted as if demanding justice for their state was a traitorous and anti-national act. In fact, the Congress at the centre had always behaved in manner that painted the meeting of any just demand of the state as " a concession to the enemy. This had thrown the people of the state out of the national mainstream for a long time. . "For example, whenever Shiromani Akali Dal put forth the case of autonomy for the state, we were dubbed as anti-national because we demanded a fair distribution of taxes collected by the Centre from the states", said Mr.Badal.

On vendetta, Mr.Badal quoted extensively from records and media reports to show that almost all the cases against Congressmen had either been registered or recommended for "deeper probe" by the previous Amarinder Singh regime. No case had been registered against any Congress leader, including Amarinder and Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhathal by the present government. This is a matter of record and I am willing to share official records with anyone who thinks otherwise," said Mr. Badal. On the contrary, he quoted more figures to prove that not even the children and women from SAD-BJP families were spared harassment and humiliation by the previous regime. "But we are determined to put the past behind us and move ahead to make Punjab the number global destination. Much of this mission would be completed before the end of our present term."

On vendetta, Mr.Badal said that it was the tradition started by the Congress Party during last tenure under the Chief Ministership of Capt. Amarinder Singh. The Chief Minister categorically said that we have not registered a single case against any Congress MLA or party worker out of vendetta whereas SAD-BJP MLAs were not only humiliated, arrested even the women and the children were also not spared what to talk of moral dignity and value system claimed by the President PPCC Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Mr. Badal informed the house that the case against Capt. Amarinder Singh in the City Centre Scam Ludhiana was not registered by the present. "The Vigilance prober order Captain Singh had indicted his government and all this had happened during his own tenure.Alosss of Rs.1500 crore to the state exchequer had been detected by the then Vigilance IG and it had been referred to the referred to the Vigilance Department under the signed orders of Amaridner Singh himself

The Congress benches sat mum when Mr.Badal pointed out that Capt. Amarinder Singh had not spared even his detractors within the party like Mrs.Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mr.Partap Singh Bajwa "to keep their political ambitions in check."

Mr.Badal reeled off data on his government's performance in different spheres. (MORE)



Negating the tall claims of the previous government for setting up mega projects worth Rs.1,05,000 crore, Mr.Badal stated that investments worth Rs.8500 crore were only on the ground which was just 8% of the total fake investments projected by the then Congress government. He also mentioned that the empowered committee headed by the then Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh even cleared 145 such mega projects which did not have any land, project report etc.

On the power sector, the Chief Minister said that the state government was committed not only to ensure availability of quality and uninterrupted supply of electricity to the people of Punjab but also make it a power surplus state. Mr.Badal accused the previous government for blatantly ignoring this crucial sector by not adding even a single unit in the power generation. He said that there was a deficit of 2800 MW which would be met by installing three thermal plants at Goindwal Sahib (600 MW), Talwandi Sabo (1980 MW) and Rajpura (320 MW). It may be mentioned that the total projected demand was 9000 MW against the total installed capacity of 6200 MW.

Showing deep concern over the poor economic condition of the farmers and mounting debt on them, Mr.Badal said that Punjabi farmer had not got its due share from GoI as he contributed 50% of the total wheat and rice for food security of the country during the last four decades. They have even sacrifice their valueable asset of groundwater and soil health for producing foodgrains for the nation. He vehemently pleaded that MSP should be linked with the consumer price index or be fixed 50% higher than the calculated cost of production. He termed the loan waiver by Centre for small and marginal farmers 'Too Little Too Late' and a misnomer. He said that it was not a loan waiver but actually a partial debt default readjustment scheme. He said that the entire loan liability of Rs.31000 crore, of which Rs.19000 crore and Rs.12000 crore was on account of institutional loan and informal sector loan respectively should be waived off by the Centre. He said that the existing loan waiver just touches the tip of the iceberg of the present agricultural crisis. He suggested that centre should take over the liability of loans taken by farmers from the informal sector by directly paying to the lenders even those owning land between 5 acre and 10 acres should be covered under the scheme. The Chief Minister also stated that our government had taken a massive rehabilitation and revamping of 125 years old irrigation system in Punjab which resulted in 20% less intake capacity. He said that Rs.1352 and Rs.1583 crore would be spent on rehabilitation of canals and lining of water courses respectively. He said that the entire programme would considerably improve the functioning of canal system thereby ensuring the water at the tail ends especially in southern Punjab.

Holding congress government responsible for the dismal financial position in the state, Mr.Badal bemoaned when our government demitted office in 2002 Punjab was at number one and now it was relegated to number four when congress left the government. He said that the mounting debt of Rs.48344 crore inherited from previous government and recurring liability of Rs.4000 crore annually towards payment of interest on this debt had further aggravated the financial crisis. He said that out of the total share of 74% tax collected by Centre, state's share was just 74% consequently we were left with meager resources at our disposal while the centre was flushed with funds and the states were always facing an acute resource crunch. He advocated Punjab deserved a bigger share in the devolution of Centre's funds because of factors viz. war of independence, half of its population displaced in partition, lacs killed during partition, being a border state and contribution of 50% to the foodgrains. He opposed the per capita income criteria fixed by centre for the devolution of the funds out of which Punjab only gets 1.30% as per formula.

Listing out some significant achievements, Mr.Badal said that the state government had finally succeeded in getting the prestigious Mohali International Airport from the GoI which would soon boost the trade and commerce activity across the globe and Punjab in particular. He said that the government had decided to transfer 42000 acre of rural evacuee land to the long time tillers at the rate of Rs.12000 and Rs.15000 per acre to SCs/BCs and Non SCs/BCs respectively. The entire amount would be recovered from the beneficiaries in 6 monthly installments within 3 years. Likewise the rates of compensation was also revised from Rs.700 to Rs.2000, Rs.1000 to Rs.3000 and Rs.2000 to Rs.5000 per acre incase of 26% to 50%, 51% to 75% and 76 and above on account of loss due to natural calamities respectively.

Highlighting the major initiative taken by the government in the school education sector, Mr.Badal said that 351 high/senior secondary schools would be upgraded at a cost of Rs.142 crore. Besides Rs.61 crore would be spent for the upgradation of primary/middle schools during the current financial year whereas congress just spent a paltry sum of Rs.684 crore during its regime of five years. He said that the government would complete the recruitment process for filling 14000 posts of teachers, of 10000 in primary schools and 4000 in higher/senior secondary schools positively by 31st March 2008, whereas congress only recruited 5435 teachers during its tenure.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic private bus accident which overturned between Dhariwal and Naushera Majha Singh on the Amritsar-Pathankot highway in district Gurdaspur this afternoon in which 10 persons died and 15 injured, of them 5 seriously injured.

Mr. Badal also expressed his heart felt sympathies with the members of the bereaved families and prayed to the Almighty to give strength to bear this irreparable loss and grant peace to the departed souls. He asked the Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur to ensure the free treatment to the injured persons.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur had directed the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) to hold an inquiry into the cause of the accident.



Chandigarh, March 11, 2008

Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab stated that an overwhelming response from the liquor licensees has been received to the allotment of liquor vends in the State of Punjab for the year 2008-09.

The last date for the receipt of the applications was 10.03.2008 and a record number of about 57,000 applications were received from all parts of the State as opposed to 47,291 applications received last year. This means an increase of over ten thousand applications. Thus, the State earned Rs.38.25 crores by way of application fee alone, over Rs.10 crores as compared to the year 2007-08. The Chief Minister stated that this increase is despite the fact that in the year 2008-09, rates for the application forms had been considerably reduced. In the year 2008-09, a total of 6902 liquor vends will be opened in the State of Punjab.

Mr. Badal pointed out that the draw of lots for the allotment of liquor vends will be held on 12.03.2008. The State Government have directed the Deputy Commissioner of each district to be present as an Observer to ensure transparent allotment of liquor vends. The Chief Minister stated that directions have been issued to the Department that no departmental officer would pick any application from the draw. It has been decided that the DCs would invite people from the audience to do so.

The Chief Minister stated that with this allotment, the State Government has been able to dispose of 99% of the liquor vends in the very first stage itself, whereas in the State of Haryana, the first round sale was 90%. Thus, Government's expected excise revenue receipts will be around Rs.1728 crores as opposed to Rs.1656 crores in the year 2007-08. Thus, there will be an increase of Rs.72 crores over the last year. The un-allotted vends as on 12.03.2008 will be subject to a second draw of lots to be held on 17.03.2008, for which the last date of submitting the applications will be 15.03.2008.

The Financial Commissioner, Excise & Taxation, Shri Shivinder Singh Brar stated that this increase was possible because of a well-thought out Excise Policy and the fact that the Department had conducted a thorough survey to rationalize the quota of liquor vends across the State. The quota of PML has been increased by 3% over the last year and there will be no increase in quota of IMFL. With this, the quota for the year 2008-09 will be 618 lakh PL for PML and 325 lakh PLs for IMFL.


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