Ruling out the appointment of Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh said on Friday that he will expand his Cabinet after the declaration of Gujarat polls results on December 18. About the appointment of a deputy chief minister, he claimed that the Congress had no such convention.
The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference at the launch of the Congress’s Vision Document for the state’s Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Amritsar ahead of municipal corporation elections.
Gurdaspur MP and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Sunil Jakhar and Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present at the time of release of this vision document.
Short-term measures listed in the vision document aim at upgrading fire fighting systems, smart waste collection system, underground or semi-underground waste collection containers/ bins. It also talks about online building plan approval system in all the municipal bodies of Punjab. It is proposes to extend the facility of super suction machines for sewer cleaning to all ULBs.
Congress party has also proposed Rs 4.90 lakh investment aimed at installation of LED street lights in all ULBs. CM said that 50 per cent women reservation in municipal elections was a step towards strengthening the ULBs through women empowerment.
On long term vision for the urban areas, the Congress proposed to bring about 100 per cent coverage of water supply, sewerage & STP, with all sewage treatment plants to be upgraded to the latest technology to meet with latest norms.
The party has pormised a ‘comprehensive project’ for introducing automation and e-Governance across all ULMs.
It has also decided to focus on completion and operationalisation of BRTS in Amritsar and city bus service in other cities, including introduction of e-vehicles and e-rickshaws.
Talking to media persons, Amarinder rejected the allegations that his government had failed to implement many of its poll promises, which could affect the Congress party’s performance in the MC elections.
“It was not possible to implement all promises in eight months, especially given the financial crisis inherited from the erstwhile SAD-BJP government. State is struggling to generate its own resources, including loans to fulfil its responsibilities and meet its promises.”
He added: “The process of farm loan waiver would begin after the elections and distribution of smart phones would also begin soon. Unfortunately, all things are dependent on resources, which takes time to manage.”
About efforts to raise funds, he said: “The influx of industry would help boost the resource generation for the state. My government has signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore since taking over in March this year.”
The Chief Minister disclosed that his government was mulling a change in the excise policy to make it more lucrative for the state.
Amarinder, who had to cancel his proposed visit to Gujarat because of the cyclone alert, said Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would definitely have a positive impact on the Assembly polls there.