Updated: September 29, 2021 8:41:22 am
Two days after the swearing-in of his Cabinet, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi allotted portfolios to his team, keeping 14 key departments including the most important ones like vigilance, justice, power and excise with himself, while giving home affairs to Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and health and family welfare to the other Deputy CM, Om Parkash Soni.
Three departments that have been split between ministers are home and vigilance, excise and taxation, agriculture and horticulture.
In the previous Cabinet, departments like home, power and agriculture were held by Capt Amarinder Singh.
Channi, who gets the department of personnel, general administration on account of being the CM of the state, has also kept justice, legal and legislative affairs, information and public relations, environment, civil aviation, investment promotion, hospitality, tourism and cultural affairs.
The mining department, which is considered an important portfolio in Punjab as the sand mining is a lucrative business worth hundreds of crores, is with the CM. It was earlier with Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria.
Excise department, which earns around Rs 5,000 crore in revenue annually for the state and has been at the centre of several controversies, is with Channi now. Earlier, it was held by former CM Amarinder Singh.
Similarly, the department of power is set to be a hot seat in the coming days with the government planning to take action in controversial Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Channi has also promised cheaper electricity for every household and free power for poor.
Vigilance is also among the important departments considering that the Congress government has been fighting against former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini and had booked him in a disproportionate assets case.
Channi, however, has handed home department to his deputy Randhawa besides cooperation and jails. Home is addition to Randhawa’s responsibilities as the other two portfolios were with him earlier too. The department of home holds importance as the government plans to take action in Bargari sacrilege and Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing cases. The state may see a lot of action in this department in the coming days.
In addition to health, Soni has also been given defence services welfare and freedom fighters. Health was earlier with Balbir Singh Sidhu who has been dropped from the Cabinet.
Some ministers have retained the portfolios they had in the Amarinder Singh-led government.
Brahm Mohindra, considered close to Amarinder Singh, has retained local government, parliamentary affairs, elections and removal of grievances departments.
Manpreet Badal has retained the department of finance. He will also hold the governance reforms, planning and programme implementation departments. He had been demanding the key excise portfolio. The department, however, has been split into two with Channi keeping excise, and handing taxation to Manpreet.
Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s portfolio too has remained the same — rural development & panchayats and animal husbandry, fisheries & dairy development.
Aruna Chaudhary has got revenue, rehabilitation and disaster management departments earlier held by Gurpreet Kangar, who was dropped.
Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria had to let go of the mining department that he held in the previous Cabinet, but has retained his other departments including water resources and urban development. Channi has kept mining with himself.
Razia Sultana, who has since resigned from the Cabinet, was earlier in the day allocated water supply & sanitation, social security, women & child development and printing & stationery. She used to hold the transport department earlier.
Bharat Bhushan Ashu has retained food, civil supplies and consumer affairs departments.
Rana Gurjeet Singh, who had to resign from the previous Amarinder Singh Cabinet, has been given technical education and industrial training departments, which were held by Channi during Amarinder Singh’s tenure. He has also been given horticulture, soil & water conservation.
The department of agriculture & horticulture has been split into two with Randeep Singh Nabha getting agriculture.
Vijay Inder Singla will hold the public works department, but the school education and higher education departments that he held earlier have been allotted to new entrant Pargat Singh, who will also be the new sports minister. Pargat will also hold the NRI affairs department.
Among the other new entrants, Dr Raj Kumar Verka has been assigned social justice, empowerment & minorities, new & renewable energy sources besides medical education & research.
Sangat Singh Gilzian will be the forests, wildlife, and labour minister, while Gurkirat Singh Kotli will hold the industries and commerce, information technology, and science and technology departments.
Amrinder Singh Raja Warring has been assigned the transport department, a portfolio that Razia Sultana held in the previous Cabinet.
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