Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday virtually inaugurated Malerkotla as the 23rd district of the State, while laying foundation stone of development projects worth Rs. 548 crore in the historic city.Several MLAs, prominent dignitaries besides Councillors from Municipal Committees and Sarpanches/Panches of village panchayats joined the historic event through LED screens at nearly 100 different locations across the newly created Malerkotla district.In his address, the Chief Minister said with the inauguration of Malerkotla as a district, the long standing demand of the people of the region has been met, which epitomises its glorious heritage adding he said Malerkotla deserved its due status of having been upgraded as district much earlier. The Chief Minister said he made a promise to upgrade Malerkotla as district during his previous tenure in 2005 but somehow it could not be materialised. Later the SAD-BJP alliance government, which ruled almost for a decade blatantly ignored this demand of local residents. On coming to power in 2017, Captain Amarinder said his government initiated ground work in this regard and subsequently a formal announcement was made by him on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr on May 14 this year.Pointing out further, the Chief Minister said that initially the sub-divisions of Malerkotla and Ahmedgarh, as well as the sub-tehsil of Amargarh by upgrading it into Sub-Division, would be included in the newly created district. The temporary offices have been set up at the district level and the offices of 12 departments at district level would be made operational soon said Captain Amarinder Singh adding the District Administrative Complex and Sub-Divisional complex would be constructed at fast pace for which Rs. 20 crore has been allotted. He said the formation of Malerkotla as new district would lead to holistic development of the region besides bringing administration at the people's doorsteps.
Tracing the city’s history, the Chief Minister pointed out that it was established in 1454 by Sheikh Sadruddin-i-Jahan from Afghanistan, and subsequently the State of Malerkotla was established in 1657 by Bayazid Khan. Malerkotla was later merged with other nearby Princely States to create the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). During the reorganisation of States in 1956, the territory of the erstwhile State of Malerkotla became part of the State of Punjab.Referring to special significance of Malerkotla in the Sikh history, the Chief Minister said people across the globe, especially Sikhs, revered Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan for his enormous contribution, who raised his voice of protest (Haa Da Naara) against the tyranny unleashed by the then Governor of Sirhind Wazir Khan, who ordered the younger Sahibzadas of Dasmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Baba Zorawar Singh Ji (9 years) and Baba Fateh Singh Ji (7 years) to be bricked alive.The Chief Minister further said that thereafter, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had blessed Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan with 'Sri Sahib' (sword) and 'Hukamnama'. Dasmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji also blessed the Nawab and people of Malerkotla that the city will live in peace and happiness, which is evident from the fact that during the 1947 riots in wake of partition, the State of Malerkotla did not witness a single incident of violence. He further mentioned that the city is also blessed by the Sufi saint Baba Haider Sheikh, whose dargah also exists here.Remembering the legendary sacrifice of 66 Namdhari Sikhs at Malerkotla in January 1872, the Chief Minister said that a 66ft tall memorial Khanda has been installed in the memory of Kuka martyrs who were executed with cannons without any trial by the British. The Khanda has 66 large and small holes denoting the adults and minors killed.Recalling his cordial ties with the then Nawab of Malerkotla, Captain Amarinder Singh said he fondly called him 'Chachaji' and who affectionately addressed him 'Bhateej' (Nephew) during his early childhood visits to the city.
Later the Chief Minister digitally laid the foundation stone of Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan Government Medical College at Malerkotla at a cost of Rs.500 crore as the first instalment of Rs.50 crore has already been sanctioned. He also laid the foundation stone of Government College for Girls, Malerkotla (Rs.12 crore), New Bus Stand (Rs.10 crore) besides Mahila Thana. The Chief Minister also announced a grant of Rs.6 crore to ensure urban development under Urban Environment Improvement Programme.As an endeavour towards promotion of Malerkotla's cultural heritage, the Chief Minister shared the contents of the letter received from His Highness the Aga Khan Foundation (U.K.) in response to his earlier letter requesting to undertake conservation and restoration of Mubarak Manzil Palace, occupied by Begum Sahiba Munawwar-ul-Nisa, the wife of Nawab Iftikhar Ali Khan, the last ruler of Malerkotla. The Foundation has expressed its willingness to work for this project and its representative would soon call on the concerned authorities to work out modalities in this behalf.Notably, the Punjab Government has already acquired the Mubarak Manzil Palace, and its restoration and upkeep would be a befitting tribute to the Nawabs of Malerkotla to perpetuate the secular and harmonious traditions of the historic city, he said.Expressing gratitude to the Chief Minister, Water Supply & Sanitation and Transport Minister Razia Sultana, who is also local MLA said that she would ever remain indebted to him for this precious gift given to the residents of Malerkotla. Razia said that with the elevation of district and upcoming medical college in the name of Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan had silenced the detractors, who were constantly criticizing the government for not giving any priority to development of this historic city.Speaking on the occasion, Revenue & Rehabilitation Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar thanked the Chief Minister for undertaking this path-breaking initiative to upgrade Malerkotla as a new District Administrative unit, which would help in efficient and effective implementation of the Government schemes for overall development of the area.
PPCC President Sunil Jakhar said that the upgradation of the historic city of Malerkotla as district would usher in all round development in the region to cherish the aspirations of the local residents. He also urged the Chief Minister to explore the potential to develop few other districts like Abohar and Batala as demanded by the local people in the changed scenario of modern technology to ensure better governance and faster development. Jakhar also pleaded that all the stakeholders should be taken into confidence before taking such decision for equitable development.On the occasion, President Punjab Youth Congress Brinder Singh Dhillon said that the Chief Minister has demonstrated his commitment towards women empowerment by posting women officers Amrit Kaur Gill as Deputy Commissioner and Kanwardeep Kaur as SSP of Malerkotla. He also urged the Chief Minister to personally intervene to ensure overall development and progress of Ropar district.Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said the creation of Malerkotla as a new district headquarter would certainly give further impetus to the all round development in the region besides ensuring efficacious and seamless administration to the people.Earlier, Additional Chief Secretary Revenue and Rehabilitation Ravneet Kaur gave a brief presentation on the newly carved out Malerkotla district comprising three Sub-divisions i.e. Malerkotla, Ahmedgarh and Amargarh. As many as 192 villages, 62 patwar circles and 6 Kanungo circles will be included in Malerkotla district.Municipal Councillor Manoj Kumar, Ms Zia Jamal, ex-President Block Samiti Malerkotla Jaspal Dass and Prof. Rafi during their interaction with the Chief Minister expressed their gratitude to him to accord Malerkotla the status of district headquarter besides sanctioning several development projects, which would soon transform the destiny of local residents.