Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday announced Rs. 1000 crore worth of development projects, including a canal-based drinking water supply scheme at Rs. 782 crore, for Patiala, in addition to 84000 new job cards in the district under MNREGA.The new job cards will take the total number of cards under MNREGA in Patiala district to 1,82,000, the Chief Minister announced at a public rally here, declaring that his government had made a beginning and the next four and a half years would witness massive industrial and economic development in the state, notwithstanding the huge fiscal and revenue deficit inherited by his government from the previous regime.The industrial development which his government was eyeing, and which some of the leading captains of industry from India and abroad had shown interest in, would lead to the revival of the state’s economy, said the Chief Minister, sharing details of some of the major investment plans and projects committed by top industrialists, such as Mukesh Ambani and the Hindujas.Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited had set up a 13-member committee to identify areas of investment and industrial development in Punjab, said the Chief Minister, adding that the business tycoon had discussed the same at their meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister also unveiled plans by industry for the development of Bathinda refinery downstream clusters as well as Japan’s interest in setting up a township in Rajpura.Citing his various meetings with top industrialists in Mumbai over the past two days, Captain Amarinder referred to the measures taken by his government to promote industry to generate employment and boost overall development in the state. Patiala, which was already an education hub with top universities functional or proposed to be set up, would benefit immensely from this industrial development, Captain Amarinder added.The Chief Minister made a series of project announcements, paving the way for holistic progress of Patiala, that he said had been completely sidelined in the development agenda of the erstwhile SAD-BJP government. The previous government had adopted a vindictive approach and had completely ignored Patiala’s concerns and welfare since it was his constituency, said Captain Amarinder, adding that, in contrast, the Congress government was working on the development of all regions of the state from a fair and neutral perspective, keeping their respective needs in view.Besides the surface drinking water supply scheme in Patiala, the Chief Minister announced allocation of Rs. 38 crore for the completion of a project for conversion of Banur Canal from Non-Perennial to Perennial and Rs. 12,50 crore for the construction of 250 houses for the homeless, at Rs 5 lakhs per house under the Shehri Awaas Yojna, whereby the state government is providing free of cost homes for homeless people and subsidized houses for the economically weaker sections.
A Rs. 10 crore allocation has been made for the completion of the Aeronautical Engineering College, Patiala, the Chief Minister announced, adding that Rs. 9.41 crore had been set aside for completion of various ongoing and outstanding projects under PIDB.Captain Amarinder further announced Rs. 24 crore for strengthening of water supply and Rs. 35 crore for augmenting sewerage system in the city under the AMRUT scheme, while Rs. 100 crore will be spent on new works to be undertaken by PIDB for the development of Patiala.The bulk of the new projects relate to repair and construction of roads and parks, while other works to be undertaken by PIDB are for providing/developing/upgrading underground bins, LED lighting, public toilets, new tubewells, parking space and dharamshalas. The remaining funds will be spent on the development of focal point, desilting of main sewer line, sanitary machinery, channelization and beautification of Chhoti Nadi, among others.The Chief Minister said his government had already initiated various other development works in Patiala as part of the package announced for the state. These initiatives include one-time settlement of property/house tax, one-time settlement of old arrears of water and sewerage charges. The former, he said, would entail payment of only principal amount only with a rebate of 10% if deposited before 16th January 2018.Other initiatives taken by the state government include E-Governance in delivery of Urban Civic Services, establishment of Directorate of Fire Services at State Level, reservation of 50% seats for women in ULBs and devolution of proprietary rights to old tenants on residential and commercial properties of municipal bodies, said the Chief Minister.
Addressing the public meeting, Health Minister Brahm Mohindra said Patiala had been discriminated against for 10 years by the Badals, who diverted all funds to Bathinda and ruined this region.Former union minister Preneet Kaur described the initiatives taken for Patiala by the state government as just the beginning and said the Chief Minister would fulfil all the promises made to the people of the region. She thanked the people for the support they had always extended to her and her family.Describing Patiala as his birthplace, Local Bodies and Tourism Minister Navjot Sidhu said Captain Amarinder had always been concerned about the development of Patiala and, with the removal of the 'jija-saala' (Sukhbir Singh Badal-Bikram Singh Majithia) duo, the region would witness unprecedented development, with the canal water for drinking supply to be one of the biggest achievements.What had not happened in 50 years will happen now in just 5 years, said Sidhu, pointing to various accomplishments of the Captain Amarinder government, including 50% reservation for women in Urban Local Bodies.Earlier, on arrival, the Chief Minister went to the Aeronautical Engineering College, Patiala, to review its construction and progress. He also had an interesting interaction with students of Patiala Aviation Club, which he said took him down memory lane as he recalled his own flying days.Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included Former Union Minister Preneet Kaur, Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mahindra, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur, Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Rajinder Singh, Nirmal Singh Shutrana, Chairman PRTC K K Sharma and Harinder Pal Singh Harry Mann.