Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced an Urban and Rural Environment Improvement Programme, to be undertaken in a phased manner at a total cost of Rs. 1500 crore, for the state.Making the announcement during pre-budget consultations with his party MLAs from the Majha region, along with the top brass of his government, the Chief Minister assured the elected representatives that paucity of funds would not be allowed to come in the way of development in both the rural and urban sectors.The Chief Minister said that out of the Rs. 1500 crore, Rs. 1000 crore would be spent on improving Rural Infrastructure while Rs. 500 crore would be used for Urban Infrastructure, to ensure the best civic amenities to the residents.The pre-budget meeting to elicit the views of MLAs from Majha region on budget proposals to ensure holistic development of their respective assembly segments was held here at Punjab Bhawan, according to an official spokesperson.The state Government has chalked out a four-phased programme of consultations with Congress MLAs from Majha, Doaba, Malwa-I and Malwa-II. As per the schedule, pre-budget discussions with Doaba MLAs would be held on Thursday, followed by MLAs of Malwa-I comprising Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Mohali, Ropar, Barnala on Friday, and districts of Sangrur, Bathinda, Mansa, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Moga on Saturday.
Responding to the concerns expressed by the Majha MLAs, the Chief Minister directed the concerned departments to evolve programmes and schemes for promoting the Smart Village campaign and to also undertake a comprehensive Urban Environment Improvement programme. He sought a detailed proposal for the same to be presented at the next meeting of the state committee.The MLAs highly lauded the work done by the Government with regard to debt waiver, which would cover nearly 7 lakh farmers with a total waiver amounting to Rs. 6000 crore by March 2019. They also complemented the development works undertaken by MGNREGS at a cost of Rs. 1438 crore during the last two years.Taking part in the deliberations, the MLAs made key suggestions, including strengthening of roads and bridges, expediting the debt waiver amount disbursement, new debt waiver scheme for landless labourers, and extensive use of MGNREGS for improvement of rural infrastructure. The MLAs also suggested that concerted efforts should be made to further improve the urban infrastructure for better delivery of civic services. They demanded measues for overall development of Dera Baba Nanak area and Kartarpur corridor, besides sprucing up of the infrastructure of the holy town of Sultanpur Lodhi in view of the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.Member Parliament from Gurdaspur Sunil Jakhar suggested that a special budgetary provision be made to facelift the holy city of Amritsar so as to showcase it as an iconic city across the globe.MLA Raj Kumar Verka suggested extra provision for employment generation schemes for youth, besides taking up advanced solar generation programmes to incentivize the public to shift to natural sources of energy.
He also demanded that the prestigious Guru Nanak Dev Hospital should be upgraded as an advanced healthcare and medical research institute, keeping in view its glorious legacy, as a befitting tribute to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.Rajya Sabha Member Partap Singh Bajwa said that focused attention should be paid to the education and health sectors. He pleaded that all the vacancies in Government Schools and Hospitals, especially in the rural areas, should be filled on priority.MLA Patti Harminder Singh Gill requested for enhanced dedicated financial provision for upgradation of the existing sewerage system, installation of more electricity stations, and regular upkeep of the street lighting system. Highlighting the problem of solid waste management, MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria requested for provision for aggressive disposal of municipal and rural waste, besides creation of an indoor sports stadium in his constituency.Education Minister OP Soni said that under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the education department had already taken path-breaking initiatives and reforms to further improve the quality of education and infrastructure in the schools.Prominent amongst others present in the meeting were cabinet ministers Brahm Mohindra, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Vijay Inder Singla, Sunder Sham Arora, Member Parliament Gurjit Singh Aujla and MLAs from Majha region.Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, ACS Urban Development and Housing Vini Mahajan, ACS Health Satish Chandra, ACS Excise and Taxation MP Singh, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tiwari, Principal Secretary Local Government A Venu Prasad and Principal Secretary Rural Development and Panchayats Anurag Verma were also present.