(Eds: Adding walkout by SAD, more details) Chandigarh, Feb 12 (PTI) Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore Tuesday said the state government was “seriously concerned” about the grievances of its employees including teachers, assuring their issues will soon be “addressed effectively”.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) members staged a walkout over separate issues soon after the Governor’s address began.
The SAD members spoke against the government over farmers’ suicides and “non-fulfilment” of poll promises.
The LIP members objected to the Governor reading out the speech in English and demanded that he speak in Punjabi.
The Governor expressed the state government’s commitment to take to its logical conclusion the probe into the desecration of religious texts in 2015, saying nobody involved in it will be spared.
In his address on the opening day of the Budget Session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Badnore said the government has taken and shall continue to take all possible steps to fulfil its commitments despite severe financial constraints.
“My government had made a solemn pledge to the people of Punjab that state’s ‘kisan and naujawan’ (farmers and youths) would gradually be brought out of the distress they faced during last many years,” he said in the customary address which reflects the point of view of the government of the day.
“The multifarious challenges, which my government had to face, were innumerable and, as a result, it is taking longer than expected to remedy the situation,” he added.
He blamed the previous SAD-BJP government for their financial imprudence, leading the state to face “severe financial constraints”, saying the erstwhile regime spent public money “recklessly”.
Badnore said the government was “seriously concerned” about woes of the teachers.
“It shall take all possible measures to redress their grievances. In fact, not only the teachers, the grievances of all employees of the state are receiving full attention of my government and these shall soon be addressed effectively as the government does not want its dynamic workforce to suffer any disadvantage or handicap in any manner,” Badnore said.
The Amarinder Singh government has been under fire for repeated protests by contractual teachers for regularisation of their jobs.
Government employees’ federations have also been criticizing the state government for not clearing the pending dearness allowance and arrears.
Amid opposition targeting the Congress government for not implementing complete farm debt waiver, Badnore noted that farmers’ welfare remained the government’s undeterred priority.
“My government notified farm debt relief scheme and it is being implemented with 5.83 lakh small and marginal farmers being provided loan relief to the tune of Rs 4,736 crore,” he said.
He said the government is convinced that the farmers’ income can be doubled by helping them in “subsidiary occupations” like dairy farming and poultry.
The Governor further said the government was committed to pursue the recommendations of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission which probed sacrilege and police firing incidents to the “logical conclusion”.
“The government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) as recommended by the august House in its earlier session and it is expected to complete its task soon,” said Badnore.
The Governor apprised the members of the various programmes launched by the government to mark the historic 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, while welcoming the historic laying of the foundation stone for a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib (in Pakistan) on November 26, 2018.
The state government shall spare no effort to make this corridor operational by the coming Maha Gurpurab on November 12, 2019, he asserted.
The water crisis faced by the state found a special mention in the Governor’s address and he said the Centre should take a realistic view of the problem to prevent the state turning into a desert.
Though the central authorities had declared Punjab as a water starved state, its water crisis and the fact that it does not have surplus water is not fully appreciated, he said.
“Punjab does not have surplus water and is in fact threatened with a water famine in not too far a future,” the Governor said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.