With an aim to develop villages at par with urban areas, the Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa on Saturday launched the second phase of Punjab Government’s flagship “Smart Village Campaign” at Bachat Bhawan here.The minister launched the second phase of Smart Village Campaign simultaneously via video conference with the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (in New Delhi) and Chief Minister Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh (in Chandigarh) from 1500 rural location across state. Political Secretary to Chief Minister Captain Sandeep Singh Sandhu, MLA Kuldeep Singh Vaid, MLA Sanjay Talwar, Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu and Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma were also present at district level launching event.While launching, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh hailed Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa for successful completion of the first phase of Smart Village Campaign and commencing of the second phase with the purpose to make the Punjab villages smart.Tript Rajinder Bajwa said that around Rs 835 crores were spent for the development of villages in the first phase of the campaign while the launch of the second phase will mark the initiation of around 50,000 development works worth approximately Rs 2774 crores in 13000 villages. “The main purpose of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh behind starting this campaign was to stop the migration of people from villages towards towns by providing facilities in villages at par with urban areas,” Bajwa said.
He said that the development works will include sewer systems, water supply and sanitation, tiles paving, solar street lights, concrete ring roads, drains, ponds, community halls, cremation grounds/graveyards, schools/anganwadis, gymnasiums, solid waste management among others to make Punjab villages self-sustaining by providing enabling environment. “We will provide a neat and clean atmosphere in villages that people will feel proud to reside in villages rather thinking to move into cities,” he said.Bajwa said that the main feature of this campaign was that the panchayats are themselves accomplishing the development works as per their requirements in their respective villages while the Rural and Panchayat department was just providing engineers.Interacting with media on the sidelines of the event, Bajwa responding to question said that there was no partiality with any village and some development work has been undergoing in every village of the state.On gherao of BJP leaders in the state over anti-farmers bills, Bajwa appealed farmers to avoid violence and ensure to maintain peace in the state. Citing that the train halting is leading shortage of fertilisers and electricity, Bajwa appealed farmers on “Rail Roko” stir to reconsider the decision to halt trains which may result in loss in the name of saving farming.Meanwhile, Tript Rajinder Bajwa also invited few Sarpanches, who expressed gratitude to the Punjab Government for providing grants for the development of villages and also assured to spend grants transparently to improve the infrastructure of the villages.On the occasion, Zila Parishad Chairman Yadwinder Singh Jandiali, LIT Chairman Raman Balasubramaniam, PMIDB Chairman Amarjit Singh Tikka, ADC (D) Sandeep Kumar, Vice Chairman PEDA Karan Warring, SDM (West) Amrinder Singh Malhi among other prominent persons were present.