AFTER AN unsuccessful attempt to have the Chandigarh International Airport named after the late Jan Sangh leader, Mangal Sein, the Haryana government on Monday announced an urban development scheme in his name, but also sought to balance the move by announcing a village development scheme in the name of Sir Chottu Ram, an icon of the Jat community. Chhotu Ram is revered by the community in Haryana, which is at present in the midst of a quota agitation. Dr Mangal Sein, who belongs to the state’s Punjabi community, served as deputy CM during 1977 to 1979.
“In the Swarna Jayanti year, I propose to launch a new scheme in the name of the great leader of Haryana, Rehbare Azam late Choudhry Chhotu Ramji as Deenbandhu Haryana Gram Uday Yojana to develop about 1,500 villages having population between 3,000 and 10,000 by providing necessary physical, social and economic infrastructure facilities on a par with the urban areas, in a phased manner within three years, with an outlay of Rs 5,000 crore,” said Captain Abhimanyu while presenting the budget for 2017-18.
The scheme will be funded with NABARD’s assistance. For 2017-18, the minister has proposed to allocate Rs 1,200 crore for the scheme.
Soon after, the minister announced another scheme to create infrastructure and for maintenance of the existing infrastructure in urban areas. “I propose to launch a new scheme in the name of Late Dr Mangal Sein, former Deputy Chief Minister and a great leader of Haryana as Mangal Nagar Vikas Yojana to create modern infrastructure and for maintenance of existing infrastructure in urban areas,” he said. An outlay of Rs 1,000 crore has been proposed for this scheme in 2017-18, to begin with. All India Punjabi Jagriti Manch president and former state home minister Subhash Batra has welcomed the scheme in Sein’s name.
Earlier, the Khattar government in 2015 suggested to rename the Chandigarh International Airport after Mangal Sein even as earlier Haryana as well as Punjab had suggested renaming the airport in the name of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Facing criticism for the move, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar later said that the state doesn’t have any objection if the airport is named after Bhagat Singh.
Meanwhile, All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) president Yashpal Malik has welcomed the move to launch a scheme for rural areas in the name of Sir Chhotu Ram. “We thank the government for such a scheme,” said Malik, who is leading the current Jat agitation in Haryana.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, however, said that the Deenbandhu Haryana Gram Uday Yojana and Mangal Nagar Vikas Yojana are only “loll-pops” as “adequate funding had not been provided for them”.
“The state has about 6,000 villages having a population of 3,000 to 10,000 but a meager provision of Rs 1,200 crore for 1,500 villages has been provided. It’s also a sadder fact that the funding is being arranged through a loan from NABARD, whose conditions are not yet clear. The government is trying to hoodwink people through lofty hollow promises,” said Surjewala, an MLA from Haryana’s Kaithal and media in-charge of the All India Congress Committee.