THE CONGRESS has decided to rename the rural skill development centres for girls named after ‘Nanhi Chhaan’, a charitable foundation run by Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
It was a few days before model code of conduct was enforced in the state for polls that the first Nanhi Chhaan rural skill development centre was inaugurated at Salani village of Fatehgarh Sahib. Of 25 such centres the previous SAD-BJP government had proposed to open in the state, only two (both in Fatehgarh Sahib villages- Salani and Badali Ala Singh) are now operational.
Charanjit Channi, Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, said the Congress government would be giving a ‘new name’ to the centres. “There is no question of letting the centres continue with the name Nanhi Chhaan which is nothing but a bundle of lies by Badals. It is astonishing that how skill development centres started by government of Punjab were named after a private NGO just to promote Harsimrat Badal,” said Channi. Nanhi Chhaan Foundation is a trust being run by Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Its tagline is ‘Save The Girl Child, Save The Environment.’
The SAD-BJP government had proposed to open 25 centres at an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh each and named them ‘Nanhi Chhaan Rural Skill Development centres’. At the two centres that are operational, girls are being trained in beauty, wellness and hair styling. The remaining centres are in the pipeline at Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Patiala, Jalandhar among others. A senior bureaucrat from technical education department told The Indian Express that there was “ambiguity on why the centres were named after Nanhi Chhaan.” “These centres were opened with sole investment of state government. It was the decision of SAD-BJP cabinet of ministers to name them after Nanhi Chhaan. There was no financial contribution from trust of Harsimrat Badal for these centres,” he added.
The two centres operational currently are too not in good shape. Kanwalpreet Kaur, deputy commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, who inspected them recently, said, “We can improve on certain parameters. Batches are not running fully. We also need more technicians and computer operators. Infrastructure is complete and no more funds are required. We need to enrol more students.” ‘Ill-conceived idea, exposes Cong’s anti-women ideology’
Terming Nanhi Chhaan as a ‘movement’ that goes ‘beyond politics’, Harsimrat Badal speaking to The Indian Express said that ‘ill-conceived move to rename centres exposes anti-women ideology of Congress.’ “Nanhi Chhaan is a movement, an ideology which stands for women empowerment. It does not stand for an individual called Harsimrat Badal. Congress is stooping too low for political gains. It exposes anti-women ideology of Congress,” she said.
“This government has not taken a single decision in past one month which might have benefited common people. I would congratulate them if they can train and provide employment to even half number of girls as done by my Trust till now,” said Harsimrat.
Asked why Punjab government named centres after her private trust without any financial contribution, she said, “I am running more than 80 centres for girls under my Trust. Nanhi Chhaan has become a symbol of women empowerment and saving girl child. Maybe that was the reason that SAD-BJP government chose this name. I was never a part of cabinet that took this decision but there is nothing wrong in it to promote a movement which is working to save girl child.”