Sukhbir Badal urges Punjabis to differentiate between real facts and wrong perceptions

January 28, 2015 11:02 AM

AMRITSAR : Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal gave a clarion call to Punjabis not to let anyone tarnish the image of the State. "We are number one and will remain number one", he said while urging Punjabis to unite and face and vilification campaign launched by vested interest jointly.

Addressing intellectuals, opinion makers and teaching fraternity at the Guru Nanak Dev University here, he urged them to differentiate between real facts and wrong perceptions being spread to defame Punjab and Punjabis.

Presenting the real facts regarding Punjab's growth in various sectors in a 1:45 hour long power point presentation which was punctuated by applause at various junctures, Mr. Badal said he had decided to act when industrialists from other States asked him whether they would be able to get workmen as there was a perception that most of the youth were drug addicts. "I thought enough is enough. I must present the true picture to Punjabis and that is why I am standing before you now", he added.

Deputy CM said on the issue of drugs, despite record seizure of narcotics by Punjab Police some people were trying to politicise the issue. He said Punjab was only a transit route while the sources of narcotics was across the border. He said Punjab was fighting the nation's war against drugs but instead of appreciating the efforts of Punjab, political rivals were politicising the issue, which was unacceptable.

Badal after starting his presentation went on to demolish various myths about Punjab one by one. Through various slides he informed that far from being ever bankrupt, Punjab had witnessed record development and growth in every area. He said it was a fact that Punjab's governance reforms had been appreciated by the Union government as well as various state governments. He said the best performing Power Distribution Utility award to Punjab was a slap on the face of those ridiculing the dream of SAD-BJP to make Punjab a power surplus state.

The Deputy CM also revealed how the state revenue had grown over the years from Rs 3,072 crore in 2002 - 03 to Rs 16,000 crore in 2013-14. He said Punjab, which was number four nationally as far as its own tax revenue was concerned, had witnessed a 9 per cent increase in revenue performance against the national average of 7.62 per cent.

MBadal also disclosed that the State's GDP had increased from Rs 82,000 crore to Rs 3.75 lakh crore and that its debt to GDP ratio had also improved to 32.7 per cent against the national average of 68.5 per cent.

The Deputy CM also pointed out that Punjab has been discriminated against as far as devolution of taxes was concerned. He said only 1.35 per cent share in central taxes whereas a State like Uttar Pradesh received 19.7 per cent. He said this was happening despite the fact that Punjab was second nationally as far as development index was concerned.

He also disclosed that government employees in Punjab were the highest paid in the country. He said this had affected the State's finances but that Punjab had generated revenue to meet the challenge. "I believe in accelerating economy by creating infrastructure to fuel growth", he added.

Mr. Badal also announced that Punjab would be the first state in the country to have all urban areas with underground power cables network in order to have a wire free roads and uninterrupted power supply. He said from this year Punjab would become enable to sell power to other states too.

Stating that Punjab has highest road density of 133km per 100 sq km, Deputy CM said Punjab would become the first state in the country in coming two years having 4/6 lane road connectivity to all major towns and cities at a cost of Rs. 20000 crore. He said Union Road Transport Minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari has announced to initiate these road projects within few months having concrete roads besides 7 ROBs. Mr. Badal said all villages, educational institutes, hospitals, government offices to have 4Gconnectivity by the end of this year.

The Deputy CM said that Capital of any state contribute a lot in the financial kitty of the state. Quoting the example of Hyderabad, Badal said that both Andhra Pradesh and Telengana were at loggerheads to take control of Hyderabad city due to this very factor. He said Chandigarh being a union territory and capital of two states, Punjab suffered here too.

Badal also announced that all Punjab Government offices to be made online under e-district project by the end of this year. He said 2174 Sewa Kendras were being opened in the state to facilitate public with 226 citizen centric services by July this. He said no citizen would have to visit any government office for public services. He said Punjab is the first state to have digital land records and now people from anywhere in the world could check their land records on a single click. He said state has already launched e-stamping and e-registration of property would also be launched by the end of this year.

Badal also informed the gathering that state would have two international airports as SAS Nagar international airport would be operational by June this. He said Punjab would become the first state in the country having two international and three domestic airports. He said to ensure 100 percent cleanliness Punjab would have 8 clusters of solid waste management project under Swach Bharat Abhiyan.

To provide Sand and Gravel at reasonable rates, Mr. Badal informed that Punjab government would operate the mines and ensure erratic supply of sand and bajri at no-profit, no loss basis. He said Punjab Mandi Board has been assigned to ensure the proper supply highlighting the rates at selling points.


Development of Amritsar a Mission:

While presenting the outlay designed to make Holy City one of the most beautiful city in the country, Mr. Badal said he has taken the development of this city as a 'mission'. He said he has initiated monthly review meetings of ongoing development projects of Amritsar. He said that this Holy City would have world class heritage entry gate, which was under construction. He said besides this the façade from Hall Gate to Darbar Sahib would be originally designed according to its historic look at a cost of Rs. 50 crore. He said Golden Temple Plaza to have audio/video world class museum with antique traditional belongings of Sikh history. He said Gobindgarh Fort would also be developed as world class tourist spot and more than 60 percent of its work has been completed.

Announcing that Amritsar would witness the operations of Turkish Bus Rapid Transit System by the end of this year, Mr. Badal said the construction of bus stations have been started. He said this would decrease the congestions from the busy areas of the city.

Mr. Badal also assured the gathering that by the end of this year the Holy City would witness a drastic changes, transformation and unprecedented facelift.

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