Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday called upon the people to join hands in fighting forces that want to destroy the country's peace and harmony. There are also anti-national forces which are envious of the peaceful atmosphere and development in the state, he said.
"Let us rededicate ourselves to work collectively to build a strong and prosperous Punjab, and to cement the bonds of love, peace and amity,” Singh said after unfurling the national flag at a state level function on the 73rd Independence Day. Highlighting the immense contribution of Punjabis in the national freedom struggle, he said, “it is now our collective duty to preserve the hard earned freedom attained through countless sacrifices.”
Recalling his visit to the 'Jung-E-Azadi' memorial to inaugurate its third phase on Wednesday, Singh said the memorial would be instrumental in spreading awareness among youngsters about various facets of the Indian freedom struggle. The chief minister said 2019 was a historic year in view of the 550th 'Prakash Parv' of Guru Nanak Dev, 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh.
Referring to the government's action against drug abuse, Singh said 27,744 cases had been registered under the NDPS Act, 33,622 persons arrested, and 767 kg of heroine seized. The chief minister said the Punjab government was contemplating to disburse Rs 520 crore to 2.85 lakh farm labourers and landless farmers who are members of primary agriculture cooperative societies.
Under the debt relief scheme till date, 5.62 lakh marginal and small farmers have benefitted. He also stated that the total annual remuneration of farmers on account of government procurement of foodgrain had increased to Rs 1.24 lakh crore since 2017, thereby registering a hike of about Rs 30,000 crore over the earnings in the corresponding seasons of the previous government.
On the education front, Singh said for the first time in several years, government schools had outperformed private schools by registering an increase of 8.7 per cent in overall pass percentage of class 10 and 4.45 per cent in class 12 board results. Under the state government's flagship 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar Scheme', more than 9 lakh youth were facilitated in getting employment in the private and government sectors or self-employment since March 2017.
Nearly six lakh youth had been assisted in self-employment, 2.60 lakh in private sectors and 40,000 got government jobs. The chief minister also announced that the youth would be provided free smart mobile phones shortly, under the 'Digital Punjab' initiative in fulfilment of the poll promise.
Singh also appealed to the people to plant 550 saplings each in all 12,700 villages in the state as part of 550th 'Prakash Parv' of Guru Nanak Dev. He said 40 lakh saplings had already been planted so far in 3500 villages to make the state clean, green and pollution-free. On the revival of industry, Singh said that the new industrial policy had given a big boost with over Rs 50,000 crore in investments being firmed up.
Earlier, the chief minister took the salute by the contingents of ITBP, Punjab Police, Rajasthan Police, Chandigarh Police, Punjab Home Guards among others. Singh also conferred state awards to 21 eminent personalities for their outstanding contribution in various fields, besides presenting the Chief Minister's police medal to nine police officers/officials in recognition of their distinguished services.
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