Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday dedicated the much-awaited Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Memorial and Museum to the nation at the martyr’s ancestral village of Khatkar Kalan to mark the martyrdom day, which is observed in Punjab on the death anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
On the occasion, the CM launched Drug Abuse Prevention Officer (DAPO) scheme aimed at involving people in the fight against drugs.
At 12 noon sharp, as part of a state-wide oath-taking ceremony, Captain took the DAPO oath and also administered it to other volunteers. Several ministers simultaneously administered the DAPO oath to volunteers in various district headquarters.
Captain became the state’s first DAPO, with anti-drug STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu handing over the DAPO identity card to him at the function at Khatkar Kalan. He then carried the chain forward by presenting a similar card to Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and two citizen volunteers. The CM said more than 4.25 lakh DAPO volunteers had already registered on the scheme’s website.
He later told the gathering that the DAPO programme would involve dedicated volunteers to work in their localities in coordination with the local administration, police and the STF.
Captain recalled his post-Tsunmai visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where thousands of Punjabi freedom fighters had been jailed by the British, and exhorted people to take inspiration from their sacrifices.
Referring to a demand for naming the Mohali International Airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Captain said the Punjab government had already taken up the matter with the Centre and that he would personally pursue the same.
When Sidhu was addressing the gathering, a few activists of Punjab Students Union waved black flags and raised slogans for not meeting them for the past three months on their demand of raising a martyrs’ memorial at Firozpur.
Blushes for SAD as union minister skips function
Meanwhile, in an embarrassment to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Union Minister of State (MOS) for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma, who was reportedly supposed to be present at a parallel function organised by SAD nearby, failed to turn up even as party chief Sukhbir Badal and MP Prem Singh Chanumajra kept waiting.
Sukhbir blamed Sudhu for Sharma’s no-show, claiming that the Punjab minister had misled the union minister by calling him on phone and telling him that “no inauguration” of museum would take place there on Friday.