Asserting that being a border state,Punjab had to battle inimical forces and narco-terorrism,Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday sought a ‘Special Security Package for the state to overcome the challenges effectively.
Speaking at the meeting of Chief Ministers on Internal Security at New Delhi,Sukhbir demanded the extension of the scheme providing funds for the modernisation of the police force by a minimum of 10 years,increase in the modernisation budget from Rs 30 crore to Rs 150 crore,allocation of Rs 50 crore for training and equipment of the Special Security Group and allowing the state to raise one more Indian Reserve Battalion.
The deputy chief minister also sought a special package from the Centre to tackle left wing extremism,and pleaded that the state should be classified as category ‘A instead of category ‘B looking at,he said, the historic roots of the naxal agitation in Punjab.
Sukhbir,who is also the states home minister,underlined the threats in the state and sought national support to combat these elements. He reminded everyone that the state had passed through a violent turbulent phase in the 80s and early 90s during which,he said,11,694 innocent people including 262 family members of policemen and 1,780 security personnel including 6 IPS Officers were killed. He said the fact that out of the 271 gallantry awards to the security personnel in this period,42 were awarded posthumously,was indicative of the Punjab Polices resolve to tackle the violence head on.
Sukhbir claimed that Punjab was perhaps the only state which has successfully fought both naxalism and terrorism. He said the Naxal movement was controlled in the 1960s and early 70s and terrorism in the 80s and early 90s. He also advised caution against their resurrection.
The deputy chief minister pointed out that Punjab was grappling with drug smuggling due to its geographical proximity to the ‘Golden Crescent – comprising of Pakistan,Afghanistan and Iran – the largest producers of illegal opiates. He said the Punjab Polices resolve to fight narcotic smuggling could be gauged from the fact that Punjab accounted for 1/5 of total heroine recovered in the country. He also sought installation of ‘Special Equipment in the border area to freeze signals of Pakistani SIM cards being used by smugglers.
Meanwhile,this is the second time that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has not attended this conference.
Centre bent on weakening states: Badal
Amritsar: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,on Monday,said that the Centre was bent upon weakening the states by taking control of the powers of the state government,and as a result the development of the states was taking a hit. He added that there were fears that the Centre may even go on to have state law and order machinery under its control.
Badal,who was visiting Golden Temple to seek welfare of mankind and Shiromani Akali Dal and in the memory of his late wife Surinder Kaur Badal,alleged that the Centre had failed on every front. There has been a record increase in inflation and corruption has surpassed all limits. This has made the life of common man miserable, Badal said. He said that Punjab was against setting up a National Counter Terrorism Centre and accused the Union government of giving little relief as compensation to farmers when the crops were damaged due to inclement weather. The Rs 1,500 compensation given by the Union government is like a bad joke. Punjab contributed Rs 3,500 to make up for the loss of farmers, Badal said.