Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday warned against censorship by cable distribution companies, saying action would be taken against those indulging in such activity. He said his government will not indulge in political vendetta and would take strict action against any media or cable organisation found engaged in censorship of any channel or information.
The chief minister’s statement comes at a time when Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been vociferously speaking against the “cable mafia”, pitching for a level playing field and targeting the SAD-BJP’s “favorite” private multi-system operator.
Amarinder also lashed out at SAD leader and Union Food Processing Minister Harsmirat Kaur Badal over her statement, accusing the government of misleading the people over debt waiver.
“She obviously has no clue about what she was talking about and was trying to befool the people of Punjab,” the chief minister said, quipping “she should restrict herself to food processing, which was what she had been entrusted with”.
On whitefly infestation of cotton crops, Amarinder pointed out that he had personally visited Mansa and met the affected farmers, who had been impacted by poor quality seeds and bad weather.
He said fields with problems had been isolated and strict monitoring was being done of the situation by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), which had undertaken spraying pesticides at its own cost.
The chief minister blamed the SAD for “ruining” the farming community during its 10 years of “misrule”.
“It is unfortunate that farmers were still committing suicide,” said the chief minister.
He reassured farmers that their loans up to Rs 2 lakh had been waived by his government and there was no need for them to take the extreme step.
Noting that this was the first time that a chief minister would be hoisting the flag in Gurdaspur, Amarinder dismissed opposition charges that he was not touring the state.
He said one had to go with a purpose, especially considering the huge amount of work his government needed to do to bring the state’s economy back on track.
To a question, the chief minister claimed that his government’s campaign against drugs had been “highly successful”, with over 6,900 dealers and suppliers already in the police’s net.
He said huge quantities of drugs including 95 kg of heroin had been seized.
“The big players in the trade are being chased by the police and would be arrested soon”, he said, adding that many of the “so-called big fish in the trade had fled the state”.
Amarinder said as many as 20 major industrial houses, along with countries like China and Russia, had shown interest in investing in the state.
For the first time the government was organizing a ‘Job Mela’ at Mohali to provide opportunities of employment to the youth, he said.
His government, said Amarinder, would provide all possible assistance to the encourage investment and industry in the state and take initiatives to generate employment for the youth of Punjab.
To a question on former Vice President Hamid Ansari’s statement that minorities in India were feeling “insecure”, he said that there was no insecurity among any of the communities in Punjab.
Expressing concern over the depleting water table, the chief minister said he would discuss the issue of water conservation during his visit to Israel next month.
Besides drip irrigation, his government was studying hydroponics and aeroponics as ways to conserve water, he added.