Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today asserted his government’s “zero tolerance” policy towards corruption, while vowing to deal with it with an “iron hand”. He said this while interacting with the audience at a television programme here.
Noting that the “curse” of corruption was rampant during the previous SAD-BJP regime in the state, the Congress leader vowed to deal with it with an iron hand. Stating that corruption had kept the industries away from the state, he asserted his government’s commitment to bring industrial development “back on track” in Punjab.
Referring to the charges against state Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh during the recent sand auctions, Singh said an inquiry had been initiated to look into them. Sharing his “dream” for the state, the chief minister said he wanted to see a “drugs-free Punjab” with industrial revival and crop diversification bringing the smiles back on the faces of the people.
Accusing the previous political regime in the state of “brainwashing” the people with its “false propaganda”, he underlined the importance of informing the people of the “truth”. The chief minister hit out at the Badal family for the “financial mess they left behind” and said the extent of the problem would be clear once his government came out with a white paper on Punjab’s fiscal situation.
The white paper would soon be released, he said, while expressing apprehension that the debt would be “much higher than what the Badals had been projecting”. Lamenting the “gross mismanagement” during the Parkash Singh Badal regime, Singh alleged that the previous government had done away with all the welfare initiatives, including those related to employment generation, which were launched by him during his previous stint as chief minister.
Pointing out that his government needed to provide 90 lakh jobs to the youth, which was the “only way” to wean them away from drugs, Singh assured the people that it would deliver on all the promises made to them in the run-up to the Assembly election.
Describing the crackdown on drugs by the Special Task Force (STF) as one of his biggest achievements in the last two months, the chief minister asserted his commitment to “break the back” of the drugs mafia. The “big fish” will be brought to book, he said, adding that action had already been taken against 4,000 people involved in peddling and smuggling of drugs.
Singh claimed that around 70 per cent of the drug addicts in the state had approached the rehabilitation centres by now, which, he added, was indicative of the success of his government’s anti-drugs campaign. He listed the “smooth, timely and efficient” wheat procurement as another of his government’s success stories.
Singh promised to put in place a mechanism to ensure remunerative prices for the farmers, pointing out that he had already taken up the issue of maize procurement by the Centre at the minimum support price (MSP) in order to promote crop diversification. The chief minister also asserted his commitment to “overhaul” the education sector to make the youth employable and to improve the healthcare services.