Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday made it clear that not a single tree would be uprooted or an inch of the forest land taken by the government for development of the industrial park at Mattewara, Ludhiana.
He was reacting to reports criticising the government that the forest land would be taken over to set up an industrial park.
“There was no question of destroying the Mattewara forest. The statements made by certain people suggesting that the forest would be destroyed are simply not true,” said the CM while addressing people through his weekly #AskCaptain Facebook initiative.
He said the government has taken 955 acres of land of Animal Husbandry, Horticulture Department and Gram Panchayat. The acquired land does not include an inch of the 2,300 acres of the Mattewara Forest.
Recalling that with public support, his government had last year planted 75 lakh saplings to commemorate the 550th Prakash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev, the Chief Minister said he himself was very keen to make Punjab more green and clean.
Amarinder also allayed apprehensions that the waste from industrial park would be discharged into Satluj river and said a modern Common Effluent Treatment Plant would be set up as per the latest Union government norms. The objective behind the planned industrial park is to create a vibrant industrial estate where people of Ludhiana and nearby areas can get good jobs, he added.
On Covid fight
On the issue of Covid-19, the Chief Minister reiterated his appeal for all to take due precautions and strictly adhere to wearing of mask and other safety norms to check its further spread in the state. Mask can reduce the chance of infection by 75 per cent, he pointed out, citing experts, adding that 10 lakh reusable masks had already been sent to the DCs for distribution among the poor for daily wash and use. Responding to the concern of Amit Kumar of Rajpura, who said people in his city were not wearing masks in crowded markets etc. and police were only checking at a particular spot, Capt Amarinder said strict action would be taken against violators.
The Chief Minister further urged the people to contact hospitals on first sign of any symptom or suspicion of Covid infection since delay reduces the chances of survival. He pointed out that Punjab had lost 239 lives to Covid-19 from among the 9,442 cases reported so far. The cases were continuing to rise, he said, expressing concern over the fact that around 300 cases had been added every day over the past one week.
In response to a question, the Chief Minister said anyone coming into the state through any border would be checked strictly. Ravinder Bagga from Ludhiana had expressed concern over the labourers being brought and dropped by trucks at the Shambhu border, from where they were entering the state on foot.
To a question from Amarjeet Singh from Anandpur Sahib, Amarinder said Sunday curfew was not being enforced now due to many people needing to leave home for work.
Terming the rates for Covid treatment fixed for private hospitals as too high, Sewak Singh from Ludhiana said it was beyond the common man’s reach. The Chief Minister pointed out that the rates being charged by the private hospitals so far were exorbitant and that Rs 18,000 per day was for critical patients only. The government hospitals had all the facilities, which they were providing at affordable costs, he added.
Buoyed by the enthusiastic response to the ‘Mission Warrior’ Covid mass awareness drive, Amarinder on Saturday extended the campaign for another 2 months, while also announcing introduction of next level of the Diamond Certificate.
He congratulated the seven winners of the month-long competition held under ‘Mission Fateh’ from June 15 to July 15. The winners are Neha from Bathinda, Meena Devi from Amritsar, Maninder Singh from Sri Muktsar Sahib, Jasbir Singh from Gurdaspur, Gursewak Singh from Kapurthala, Manbir Singh from Fazilka and Balwinder Kaur from Ludhiana.
On Ground water
On the critical ground water situation, raised by Rajinder Singh of Patran, Amarinder said an Israeli company had been appointed to look into it and find solutions. In addition, the state had established a water regulatory authority and had launched the `Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao’ scheme for direct benefit of the farmers.
To a question on false cases registered during the previous regime, Amarinder said the Mehtab Singh Commission was looking into the cases and necessary action was being taken. He told Narinder Kumar Bhadoo, Fazilka, to send his case details if the same had not been resolved yet. Replying to another question by Faridkot’s Gagandeep Singh, he said two SITs were investigating the Bargari case and he was hopeful that the probe would be completed soon. “We will get to the bottom of the matter and no guilty person will be spared,” he added.
The Chief Minister said he would ask the DGP to inquire into the complaint of Mandeep Singh, Barana, of corruption by police at Khanouri border. He further said that in response to a request from Mohali’s Rupesh Jagoria that he will ask the DC to explore and implement e-challans for vehicles.
The Chief Minister told Paramjit Kaur of Ludhiana that the government had decided to remove the passenger limit in buses as operations of private buses in particular had become unviable due to the steep hike in petroleum prices by the centre. He said buses could now operate on their full seating capacity but wearing of masks by passengers has to be strictly followed.
In response to Kuldeep Singh’s concern about a viral video that showed students in a Gurdaspur school taking exams, Amarinder said he will get the matter checked and strict action will be taken against any school violating the government orders.
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