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Punjab Govt
March 23, 2008





While paying glowing tributes to Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh here at his native village, Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal today declared that Khatkar Kalan would be soon developed as the 'Mecca of the Martyrs'.

He was addressing a gathering at a state level function organized by the Punjab Government on the 77th martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Mr.Badal unfolded a plan to develop this historic monument by giving a facelift to the museum where the portraits of all the freedom fighters and the artifacts belonging to them would be displayed to apprise the younger generation with our supreme legacy of nationalism and patriotism.

The Chief Minister bemoaned that even after 60 years of freedom, our governments had not been able to provide the basic civic amenities to a common man what to talk of tall claims like high growth rate in terms of infrastructure, power, telecommunications and civil aviation. He said that our freedom fighters and patriots laid down their lives for the betterment of our countrymen. "It is a sad plight that the aspirations of our freedom fighters had not yet been cherished because they dreamt of an Independent India free from the maladies of illiteracy, unemployment and starvation", said Mr.Badal. He asked the Centre and State governments to take pledge on this auspicious day to undertake programmes and schemes exclusively for the development and welfare of a common man at the grass root levels. "It will be a real tribute to our national heroes and great martyrs who made supreme sacrifices for the independence of our country", said Mr.Badal. He however, said that martyrs were not merely restricted to any region, religion and faith rather they belonged to one and all irrespective of caste, colour and creed. "Our government is committed to perpetuate the legacy of freedom fighters and national heroes through organizing state level functions to inculcate the spirit of patriotism and nationalism amongst our younger generation", said Mr.Badal.

Blaming the Central Government for meting out a step motherly treatment to the state governments, Mr.Badal said that the remote control was with Delhi and states had always to look upon them for justified demands and grants. He said that states had virtually no powers with them and were dependent on the Center even for petty matters. He underscored the need to conceptualize a Central plan exclusively for the welfare of the un-privileged sections of the society besides redefining the central state relations in the changed scenario and casting a true federal structure to secure state's participation in the national development process.

The Chief Minister said that the people of Punjab had already paid a heavy price for bringing peace in the state after a long era of militancy in Punjab. He categorically said that nobody would be allowed to vitiate the congenial atmosphere of peace and communal harmony at the behest of any political party or organization. Underlining the need to implementation of all welfare schemes of SAD-BJP Government in true spirit, Mr.Badal said that it could only be possible if all the three organs of democratic set up viz. public, bureaucracy and government work harmoniously for the welfare of a common man. He directed the bureaucracy to serve the public with a humane approach. He however mentioned that in future a column in the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of the officers would be inserted rating their performance relating to public dealing with an objective to bring far more efficiency, accountability and public interface in the administration.

Mr.Badal said that our government since its inception had taken several initiatives for the overall development of the state and the welfare of people. He said that SAD being a party of a common man attached with the people at a grass root level and committed to serve them in the right earnest. He said that our government had taken various measures to ensure overall development and progress in the areas of power, industry, agriculture, education, infrastructure and health care. He reiterated that with our concerted efforts Punjab would soon emerge as a front-runner state in the country that had been relegated to the 6th slot due to the negligence of the successive Congress governments. He lashed at Congress for miserably failing at all the fronts and thereby bringing disgrace to the state. He said that the previous Congress Chief Ministers did not pleaded the state's case at Centre in right earnest which ultimately retarded the development in the state. He said; "Chief Minister of any state has to act as an efficient advocate to plead the case of his or her state before the Centre who acts as a judge".

Later, the Chief Minister honoured the nephews of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Mr.Gursewak Singh, Mr.Jagtar Singh & Mr.Abhey Singh Sandhu and other family members. The Chief Minister also honoured 11 eminent freedom fighters including four freedom fighters and their seven widows and on the occasion. He announced a grant of Rs.20 lakh for the purchase of four kanals plot of land from an NRI for the expansion of the museum.

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Mr. Manoranjan Kalia also paid glorious tributes to Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and said that their unparalleled sacrifices would ever act as a source of inspiration for our youth to serve their motherland.

Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included Deputy Speaker Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal, Member Parliament from Hoshiarpur Mr.Avinash Rai Khanna, Chief Parliamentary Secretary & MLA Balachaur Ch.Nand Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary & MLA Phillaur Sarwan Singh Phillaur, MLA Banga Mohan Lal, MLA Nawanshahar Jatinder Singh Kariha, Secretary SGPC Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, District President SAD Nawashahar Mohinder Singh Hussainpuri, Vice President State unit BJP Varinder Kaur Thandi.

Punjab Government today successfully broke the stalemate on the farmers' agitation

Chandigarh March 23

The Punjab Government today successfully broke the stalemate on the farmers' agitation over the high profile Trident land acquisition issue which had rocked the state for more than two years.

An agreement to this effect was reached at a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and attended by the representatives of the Trident Group and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (B.K.U. - Ugrahan) here on Friday evening.

The Trident issue had been agitating the minds of the Punjab farmers and its amicable settlement was one of the key promises made in the manifesto of the SAD in the February 2007 Assembly poll in the state.

Releasing the details of the agreement, Mr. Harcharan Bains, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister, disclosed here today that the Trident Group had agreed to pay a 70% enhancement over the original compensation amount announced during the regime of the previous government headed by Captain Amarinder Singh. The enhancement would pass a benefit of Rs. 19.5 crores to the affected farmers.

On its part the government, had withdrawn all Trident-related cases against the agitating farmers. The families of the three farmers who died during the agitation had been paid Rs. 5 (Five) lakh each by the present government and one dependent from each family had been given a job. A compensation worth Rs. 25000 (Twenty Five Thousand) per head to the 70 farmers injured during the stir, said Mr. Bains, adding that the Deputy Commissioner, Barnala, had been directed to take follow-up steps for the implementation of the understanding reached.

The Media Advisor further said the Chief Minister had ordered a complete waiver of the Registration Fee and Stamp Duty on the land that the farmers purchase in the state within two years with the money they receive as compensation price. In addition, the farmers who did not already have a tube-well connection would be given one on their newly purchased land in the state while no shifting charges would be levied on those with a tube- well connection on the acquired land, said Mr. Bains. He said that the Chief Minister had already directed the Secretaries of Revenue and the Irrigation and Power Departments to take the necessary steps in this regard.

Speaking on behalf of the Chief Minister, Mr. Bains has appealed to the B.K.U. (Ugrahan) to withdraw their agitation on the issue, including the proposed Rail Roko scheduled for March 25.

It may be recalled that a total of 376 acres had been acquired during the Amarinder Singh regime at a price which the farmers, their associations and the SAD-BJP had termed as "arbitrary and unsatisfactory". Mr. Badal had been vehemently pursuing the issue ever since assuming charge as Chief Minister for the fourth time. One of his first decisions during the present tenure was to convene a meeting on the issue in March 2007 followed by direct negotiations with the representatives of the B.K.U. (Ugrahan) to redress the farmers' problems. Senior Akali leader and former Punjab minister and Member of Parliament, Pr. Prem Singh Chandumajra played a key role in solving what had seemed "an intractable issue" to the previous regime. Mr. Badal has thanked Mr. Chandumajra for his "untiring efforts" for the resolution of the problem.



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