22 December 2008,Monday ,Prabhjot Gill, AMRITSAR : The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today kick started his Rs.555 crore ‘development tour’ of the state, amidst seams of rousing mass response. The Chief Minister addressed massive gatherings at Amarkot in Valtoha assembly constituency besides Chabal and Tarn Taran both in Tarn Taran assembly constituency
Addressing mammoth rallies; the Chief Minister declared that the development would be sole plank for the SAD-BJP alliance during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He said that he would tour the entire state visiting every assembly constituency in the course of next 30 days. Mr. Badal said that it was a programme aimed at taking development to the doorsteps of the people and addressing their development related problems and grievances both in the rural and urban areas besides spontaneous interaction with the masses to elucidate their view point and suggestions for the overall progress and prosperity in the state because ‘inclusive development’ was a continuous process and could not be accomplished without their participation.
The Chief Minister drew instant emotive response from gatherings which independent observers described as unprecedented since the anti-Emergency wave of 1977. The gathering at Chabal in Tarn Taran constituency was so large that the 9-acre site of the rally was literally bursting at the seams with people perched at the roof tops of the buildings that rimmed the expansive pandal. All along the 30 KM stretch from Amarkot to Tarn Taran Akali workers and enthusiastic supporters lined both sides of the road, raising traditional Akali slogans, showering petals on Mr. Badal’s cavalcade. Huge hoardings, banners and cut outs of the Chief Minister, SAD President Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Information & Public Relations Minister Mr. Bikramjit Singh Majithia in addition to the local leaders lent the atmosphere of festive colour. Over 2000 motorcycle-borne young Akali workers sporting kesri turbans and carrying party flags, rode in front of almost 2 KM long convoy of Mr. Badal. There were stirring scenes of nihangs, children and elderly admirers of the Chief Minister brought back memories of the vintage Akali waves of the 60s and 70s. Mr. Badal halted and mingled with the crowds freely without caring for his personal security after almost every 100 Meters through out his tours.
Dwelling on the spectacular achievements in the field of industry, agriculture, infrastructure, power, health, education and social security, Mr. Badal said that the previous Congress Government had vanished the state’s economy due to its narrow and vested interests whereas our Government had not only revived the derailed economy but also put the state on high growth trajectory. He said that he was confident that that the unflinching faith reposed by the people in the policies and programmes of the government was a testimony towards our sincerity and commitment for the welfare of all sections of the society.
Lashing at the Congress Government which ruled over 45 years in Centre 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 even 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 especially hailing from the border areas had already paid a heavy price for bringing peace in the state after a long era of militancy in Punjab. He said that it was the obligatory on the part of the Central government to compensate the people of these border areas who had faced the burnt of destability and insecurity while securing and safeguarding our international borders.
Referring to the sad plight of the farming community, Mr. Badal said: ‘Had Congress serious to the core the farming community of Punjab they had not been pushed deep into the vicious circle of debt trap’. He said that agriculture was no more a profitable occupation due to the negligible returns on it due to none remunerative and stagnant minimum support price for which Centre had always adopted an approach of ‘negativism’.
Mr.Badal also pleaded that the indifferent attitude of Centre had forced the domestic industry to shift its base from Punjab to the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and J&K which had lured our industry for better incentives and concessions being provided by GoI.
On the occasion, Mr. Badal disbursed cheques of development grants worth Rs.19.77 crore, out of which Rs.8.02 crore, Rs.8.50 crore and Rs.3.25 crore was meant for Valtoha, Chabal and Tarn Taran for the execution of various development programmes and schemes in the urban as well as rural sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Information & Public Relations Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia said that the SAD-BJP Alliance was committed to ensure overall development and progress in the state. He said the remarkable progress made by the state under the leadership of Mr. Parkash Singh Badal was not merely spectacular but also unprecedented. To substantiate his claim, Mr. Majithia said that what congress could not achieve in Punjab in terms of disbursement of liberal grants we have done in a period of less than two years. He also announced a scheme of installing reverse osmosis system for safe drinking water in 11 villages in Valtoha constituency. He asked the people of the Majha region to exercise their franchise in the favour of SAD-BJP nominee and sitting Member Parliament Mr. Rattan Singh Ajnala. He hoped that the emphatic mandate given by the people of the Majha to SAD-BJP alliance during the last assembly elections would be replicated in Parliamentary elections in view of Party’s performance for the sake of development in the state. He also thanked Mr. Badal for giving Rs.165 crore development package for the holy city of Amritsar .
Nominee of the SAD-BJP from Khadoor Sahib Parliamentary constituency Dr.Rattan Singh Ajnala made his firm resolves that the party was in up beat mood which was certainly gave its arch rival Congress a crushing defeat in the polls. He profusely thanked Mr. Badal for reposing faith in him and doling out unprecedented grants for the development of the border areas.
Prominent amongst others who address these rallies including Animal Husbandry Minister Mr. Gulzar Singh Ranike, Advisor to Chief Minister Daljit Singh Cheema, Media Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Harcharan Bains, Mr. Virsa Singh Valtoha, Mr. Harmeet Singh Sandhu, Dr.Dalbir Singh Verka, Mr. Amarpal Singh Bonni and Mr. Inderbir Singh Bolaria (all MLAs), Chairman Amritsar Planning Committee Mr. Vir Singh Lopoke besides senior leaders and party workers of SAD-BJP and members of the SGPC.