February 20, 2019 08:51 PM
Chandigarh, February 20 Kuljit Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday unleased a scathing attack on the Badals for the complete destruction of all institutions of governance in the state, alleging that what was happening during their regime was not governance but `danda raaj’, with “orders – legal and illegal – being passed by one family.”
Pointing out that no rules, regulations, laws or Constitutional principles & provisions were followed during the Badal regime, the Chief Minister said it was the halqa incharges, working at the behest of the Akali leadership, who were calling the shots.
Lashing out at the Akalis over their irresponsible and unruly behaviour in the House, Captain Amarinder said it was unfortunate the way the Finance Minister’s speech was disrupted for petty political gains. Expressing surprise at the opposition’s attempt to twist the facts of the Governor’s address during the ongoing Budget Session, the Chief Minister slammed the Akalis for eroding the dignity of a revered institution like the Vidhan Sabha.
Replying to the Governor’s address, the Chief Minister said he had once seen Parkash Singh Badal pull the Speaker out of his chair, which was extremely regretful. Taking a dig at the SAD president, he asked whether the party had any leader, since Sukhbir seemed to be always missing from the House.
The Badals, in fact, came in for a major onslaught from Captain Amarinder, who lambasted them over the total absence of law & order and governance in the state during their decade-long rule.  “What was happening earlier was not governance but danda raaj, with orders – legal and illegal – being passed by one family,” said the Chief Minister, pointing out that no rules, regulations, laws or Constitutional provisions were followed then. It was the halqa incharges, working at the behest of the Badals and their cronies, who were calling the shots, he added. 
Good governance, Captain Amarinder said, meant trusting your officials and giving them the freedom to work, besides rewarding the performers and removing the underperformers. Even the Congress party functions like that, which was in total contrast to the Akali way of functioning, he added.
The Chief Minister, who listed out the progress made by his government in reversing the pathetic situation in which the SAD-BJP combine had left the state across all sectors and segments, pointed out that Rs. 5 crores were being given to every sub-division for development work. He flayed the opposition for their allegation that only Congress MLAs were getting development funds and said if they needed to get some work done they should submit their project proposals to the concerned DCs.
Describing the steps taken to combat the problem of drugs, of which his government had successfully broken the backbone, Captain Amarinder challenged the opposition to come out with the names of the `big fish’, with evidence, to help the STF arrest them. He vowed to continue to fight the battle against drugs from the front, not resting till it is completely eliminated from the state.
Recalling the pathetic state of the economy, and the huge debt, left behind by the previous regime, the Chief Minister said his government had been ensuring development despite the fiscal crisis and had been able to generate revenue.
Backing his claims with hardcore numbers, the Chief Minister said law and order had been restored by his government in the state, with gangsters having been eliminated. Law and order is ensured only if you allow the police to work, which is what his government had done, he said, taking another dig at the Akalis.
The Chief Minister also minced no words in assailing the SAD-BJP for the sacrilege incidents, pointed out that they had failed to accept even their own Commission’s report into the firing incident. His government, said Captain Amarinder, would take the findings of the Ranjit Singh Commission report to their logical conclusion, and not spare anyone found guilty of the horrendous crime.
On the Farm debt waiver scheme of his government, the Chief Minister, while citing the figures, promised to pay out more to the farming community once the state’s revenues show further improvement. “This money is not ours but that of the people of Punjab, and will go into their welfare,” he said, adding that his government would also waive off the loans of the landless labourers.
Captain Amarinder thanked the farmers for supporting his government’s initiative to check stubble burning, which he said was not the cause of pollution in Delhi, contrary to what they claimed.
The Chief Minister also reiterated his stand on the water issue, asserting that while Punjab did not want to stop anyone from accessing this precious report, it could not afford to give away water since it did not have spare. “We owe it to our future generations to take steps to prevent our land from becoming a desert,” he said, reaffirming his commitment to provide clean drinking water to every person.
From employment to industrial development, his government had made massive strides in powering the state forward on the path to progress, said the Chief Minister, expressing happiness that industry was now looking back towards Punjab as a favoured destination. On the employment front, he noted that his government had so far facilitated jobs and employment to over 5 lakh youth, which worked out to an impressive 720 youth per day, besides generating 415 lakh man-days under MGNREGA during the last two years (2017-19).
Underlining the importance of rural development for the state’s holistic progress, the Chief Minister referred to the repair of link roads undertaken by his government, in addition to the Smart Village Campaign. 
Housing and Education, said Captain Amarinder, were other priority areas for his government, and cited the Urban Environment Improvement Programme to boost civic amenities, in addition to the canal based drinking water schemes. He took particular note of the revival of the Kandi Area Development Board and establishment of Sri Anandpur Sahib Development Authority to ensure the development of the difficult region. The Chief Minister stressed the importance of education to the state’s development agenda, and noted that smart education was being pursued aggressively by his government to give a fillip to this segment.
On the Health front, Captain Amarinder listed the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojan and Mission Tandrust Punjab as some of the key initiatives taken by his government. He also reiterated his government’s commitment to the welfare of Dalits, OBCs and persons with disabilities and minorities, without which holistic progress could not be realized.
In conclusion, he thanked the House for the good note on which the debate on the Budget had ended in the Assembly, and hoped it would set a precedent for healthy discussions in the future too.
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