Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday said a dream team of officers were being put together to run the state. Talking to The Indian Express a day after he took over as the deputy chief minister for the second time,Sukhbir said vindictiveness was the last thing on his mind while dealing with officers.
It does not matter who has worked with whom and who was close to whom. Honesty,a genuine concern for the state and the willingness to give their best is all that I am looking for in the officers in my team. The team is being put together. If needed we will recall some of our capable officers posted with the Centre,to serve the state, he said.
On the choice of the new chief secretary and new DGP,Sukhbir said: A lot of people were surprised when we announced the names of our new chief secretary and DGP within hours of taking over. This is the kind of decisiveness with which we are going to work everyday. I am not the kind of person who will be complacent and sit over files for months. Once a decision has been taken it has to be implemented immediately. I am expecting officers to match my pace.
And what tops his agenda? The people of Punjab are on the top of my agenda. No amount of development in the state can bear fruit if my youth are crippled with drugs. For the last five years my focus was infrastructure development and working towards making the state power surplus. The next five years I intend to focus equally on the health and education of my people, he said.
The deputy chief minister dwelt at length on the drug addiction that plagues the state. Almost every second family in Punjab is dealing with a drug addict in the household. Its painful to see parents helplessly watching their young boys dying a slow death before their eyes. The only one instruction I have given the new DGP is to make Punjab drug free. Catch the drug smugglers,the peddlers whosoever it might be. It does not matter if they are well connected or they have political liaisons. No one will be spared. Punjab is not a market for drugs. That is the message that needs to be sent, he said.
Other than curbing the supply of drugs it is also important we direct the states youth into sports. We organised kabbadi and hockey matches with precisely this aim in mind. The aim was to channelise the energy of the youth in sporting activities. Our sports policy,which we announced last year,is one of the best in the country and the results of its implementation would be visible in the coming years, he added.
On the rampant unemployment in Punjab,Sukhbir said the solution lay in skill enhancement. Education system across the country produces unemployable people. There is always a shortage of skilled people but at the same time you find so many young educated people without jobs. There is a huge gap between the two. The state needs to step in a big way in providing bridging skills which get people jobs. Punjab would be the number one investment destination in the country in less than one year from now. We are going to be power surplus. We offer excellent infrastructure. I am expecting a huge surge in job opportunities.
You see,the aim is to bring hope back in the eyes of the people of Punjab. Hope can make miracles happen. We made it happen. I worked hard for the state and I worked hard for the elections. I left the results to God. I was rewarded. I see every Punjabi working as hard,in the fields,in the shops everywhere. I dont not want them to live with a feeling of disillusionment,with a sense of hopelessness for the future. That is the one large goal I have begun anew with, he said.