Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday administered the oath of office and DAPO to the newly elected Panches, Sarpanches, Zila Parishad and Block Samiti members of Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts, with a call to make their respective villages drugs-free while ensuring holistic development of their regions.
Assuring them of all possible help from his government for ensuring all-round development, the Chief Minister said the elected representatives had a very important role to play in ending drug abuse and safeguarding the future of the coming generations.
“This is the first responsibility I am entrusting to you,” Captain Amarinder told the people’s representatives before administering them the oath of DAPO (Drug Abuse Prevention Officers).
Pointing out that an entire generation had been wiped out by the menace of drugs, the Chief Minister said he had sworn to break the backbone of drugs and his government had achieved massive success in destroying the supply chain.
The DAPO and Buddy programmes, as well as the OATS clinics, had proven to be a huge success and it was now their responsibility to finish the problem of drug abuse, he told the elected members.
In his address, the Chief Minister observed that the Panches and Sarpanches had been elected through the grassroots Panchayati Raj process, which was the pillar of strength for the nation.
Despite some political parties using unfair means in the Panchayati elections, which were increasingly seeing use of muscle power, the recently concluded polls had been totally peaceful, in sharp contrast to what the state had been witnessing under the SAD-BJP rule for 10 years, he added.
Describing the Panchayati polls as the real elections, since they gave power to the people, the Chief Minister recalled that it was late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s dream to empower the people at the grassroots, for which he had introduced the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992, commonly known as the Panchayati Raj Act.
He exhorted the newly elected members to do their utmost for the realisation of this dream in spirit.
Speaking on the occasion, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said that with these Panchayat elections, a new era of development had been ushered into the state.
He called upon the newly elected Sarpanches, Panches, Zila Parishad and Block Samiti Members to discharge their responsibilities with utmost dedication and commitment.
Bajwa stressed on the need for Panchayats to play a pro-active role in the holistic development of rural areas so that the basic amenities could be ensured in all villages.
The villages associated with Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji would be given special attention in view of the 550th birth anniversary the first Guru of the Sikhs, he added.
Bajwa further announced that the Chief Minister would soon release funds to the tune of Rs 700 crore to intensify the pace of development in the villages.
Addressing the gathering, Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said that the continuous and massive victories of the Congress Party in Punjab in the recent polls, including by-polls, Local Bodies and Panchayat and Zila Parishad polls, were the result of the pro-people policies of Captain Amarinder Singh led State Government.
The minister castigated the Akali Dal for failing to protect the interests of the state and said that the Modi led BJP government at the centre had failed to give the state any money for the celebrations of the 550th Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev ji.
He said while Modi had given Rs 10,000 crore to UP for celebrations of a religious event, he had not sanctioned a penny for Punjab for this historic event.
He ridiculed the Akali Dal, which is part of the NDA, for failing to convince the Modi government in this regard.
Health Minister Brahm Mohindra described the occasion as the dawn of a new phase of development in the villages of Punjab, and urged the newly elected representatives to sincerely and honestly focus on development-oriented programmes.
Congratulating the new Sarpanches, Panches, Zila Parishad and Block Samiti Members, he urged them to rise above petty political consideration to participate actively in all round development and growth of the villages.
In her address, former Union External Affairs Minister Preneet Kaur urged the newly elected Panches and Sarpanches to involve the candidates who had lost the polls in the process to plan constructive development programmes for their respective villages.
She said the Panchayats should work to further strengthen the bonds of amity and brotherhood at the grassroots level by taking along all the people in their villages.
She underlined the importance of collective planning of the development programmes of the villages by all the political parties in the bigger interest of rural development.
Congratulating the new Sarpanches and Panches, Preneet said that it was a matter of pride that 50 percent women would lead the Panchayats.
She also urged senior party leaders to act as the guiding force for the newly elected representatives and help them build a stronger Punjab.
Others present on the occasion included CM’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, CM’s Advisor Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, MLAs Kuljit Singh Nagra, Nirmal Singh Shutrana, Hardial Singh Kamboj, Madan Lal Jalalpur and Gurpreet Singh GP, Chairman Pepsu Road Transport Corporation K.K. Sharma, Chairperson of Punjab State Social Welfare Board Gursharan Kaur Randhawa, Patiala Mayor Sanjiv Sharma Bittu, Senior Deputy Mayor Yoginder Singh Yogi and Deputy Mayor Vinti Sanghar.
Apart from these Principal Secretary to CM, Tejvir Singh, Special Principal Secretary to CM ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu and Principal Secretary Rural Development & Panchayats, Anurag Verma and Vice Chancellor Punjabi University Patiala B. S. Ghuman were also present.