IN A break from its populist measures ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections, the Punjab Cabinet Tuesday approved a slew of proposals for border areas. It okayed a special provision of employment opportunities for youth on the Zero Line. It also cleared issuing of release orders for lifting paddy on a priority basis in border districts by Food and Civil Supplies Department besides giving a go-ahead to construction of bridges at various places near zero line area in border districts.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to initiate the process of disbursement of cash grant to eligible war widows/ legal heirs, in keeping with the decision taken by the council of ministers in its meeting held on August 11, 2016. Given the tense situation on the India-Pakistan border following the Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control, the Cabinet decided that all the ministers would extensively tour various mandis to ensure smooth and hassle-free procurement of paddy across the state.
The Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also gave its nod to a number of proposals on health and education in border areas. The proposals reportedly followed demands made by people during Badal’s recent visits to those areas. The Cabinet okayed setting up of three Primary Health Centres (PHCs) at Bharyal village (Gurdaspur), Chhina Bidi Chand (Tarn Taran) and Dhariwal Uddar (Amritsar).
It gave its go-ahead for upgradation of Middle School in Machiwal (Amritsar), High Secondary in Maidipur (Tarn Taran) and Middle School in Margend Pura (Tarn Taran). Approval was also given to setting up of one veterinary dispensary each at four villages – Bharyal village in Gurdaspur district and Khalra, Chhina Bidi Chand and Maidipur villages in Tarn Taran for “giving impetus to the animal husbandry sector” in border belt.
Meanwhile, a committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal was formed to look into the aspects of regularization of various categories of employees. The committee, which comprises Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Industries and Commerce Minister Madan Mohan Mittal, Local Government Minister Anil Joshi, Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka and Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani, will make recommendation in the next cabinet meeting.