Australia to help Punjab's efforts in cancer eradication

May 05, 2017 12:44 PM

Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH : Australia has agreed to provide its expertise to help the Captain Amarinder Singh government’s efforts to eradicate cancer by identifying the root cause of the water problem in southern Punjab, and in promoting modern practices in agriculture and allied industries in the state.
This was conveyed to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder here on Thursday by Australian High Commissioner Ms. Harinder Sidhu, who also extended her government’s cooperation to the state in the fields of education, sports, skill training, agriculture and animal husbandry.
The two sides discussed a host of issues of mutual interest for collaboration and bilateral cooperation, an official spokesperson said after the meeting, which was attended by the CM’s Principal Secretary Mr. Tejveer Singh and Media Advisor Mr. Raveen Thukral.
The Chief Minister sought Australia’s help in identifying the reasons for the poor quality of underground water, especially in southern Punjab, which was the major cause of the devastating spread of cancer in the districts of Muktsar, Bathinda, Sangrur, Moga, Faridkot, Fazilka and Ferozepur. The Australian High Commissioner, who has Punjabi roots as her ancestors hailed from village Dharamkot in district Moga, expressed concern over the situation and offered all possible help on behalf of her government to wipe out the cancer menace from the state.
Mutual cooperation in the fields of agriculture, food processing and horticulture was also discussed by the two leaders, with Captain Amarinder suggesting a farmer exchange programme between Punjab and Australia to enable the state’s progressive farmers to learn and develop new skills and techniques, and adopt modern farm practices of agriculture to maximize their yield. Ms Sidhu also offered to help the state in exploring possibilities to develop new varieties of vegetables and fruits to supplement the income of farmers, besides giving technical know-how for 'embryo transfer' to improve cattle breeding.
Ms. Sidhu lauded Captain Amarinder’s successful efforts in wooing industry to Punjab. The Chief Minister, while apprising the High Commissioner about his deliberations with leading industry captains since taking over the state’s reins, said he looked forward to similarly having strong industrial collaborations and technical tie-ups with the Australian Government in order to put Punjab on the fast track of development.
Responding positively to a proposal by the Chief Minister, Ms. Harinder Sidhu said her government was keen to tie up with the educational institutions and universities in the field of higher and technical education in Punjab. She also evinced keen interest in collaborating with the Punjab government to launch skill development courses for the state’s unemployed youth to boost their employment opportunities. Such trained youth could in turn impart skill training to other youth to help them become self-employed or suitably employed as per the local needs of the industry.
The two also discussed collaboration in the field of Sports, with Ms. Sidhu pointing out that the Australian government was already in the advanced stage of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Punjab Institute of Sports to provide training to sportspersons as well as the coaches to upgrade their skills. Her government, she said, was interested in inking a similar MoU with the National Institute of Sports, Patiala.
Ms. Sidhu said Punjabis were contributing immensely to the development and growth of the Australian economy with their enterprising and indomitable spirit, and she looked forward to scaling up Australia’s ties with Punjab across various areas of mutual interest.

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