Chandigarh, Sep 30 (PTI) Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Sunday accused Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik of resorting to “cheap tactics” to divert the attention of the people from the saffron party’s “failure” at the Centre. Also Read - Must Watch | After 'Kamal, Kamal', BJP Leader's Breathless 'Corona Corona' Chant Goes Viral

The chief minister’s remarks came a day after Malik questioned the functioning of the Congress government in the state. Also Read - ‘Don’t Sack Employees or Reduce Their Wages During Lockdown,’ Punjab Govt Urges Industries

Singh said he was elected by the people of Punjab and not the BJP to run the state. Also Read - 'Stand Together With Govt But Sudden Lockdown Created Immense Panic', Rahul Gandhi Writes to PM

He asked Malik to stick to managing his own party affairs, which was staring at “total decimation” in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

“Does Malik even know how we (my government and team) are working? Does he have any clue about how I am managing the state and its governance. He is resorting to cheap tactics to divert the attention of the people from his party’s failure at the Centre,” said the chief minister.

Malik had on Friday attacked the Singh-led Congress government in Punjab, accusing it of “failing on all the fronts” in the last 18 months.

Singh termed the Malik’s statement as “totally absurd and nonsensical”.

“Given the BJP’s own track record of misgovernance, no member of that party had any locus stand to comment on the functioning of the incumbent Congress government,” said the chief minister in a statement issued here.

Singh said unlike the Akalis, who never allowed its ministers, including those from the BJP, and officers to work independently, he believed in decentralisation of authority.

“I have given full freedom to my ministers and all policy decisions are decided by me in the cabinet. As for the officers, I issue instructions to my CPCM, CS, DGP and PS and they carry them out,” he said.

Malik perhaps would not understand this as such autonomy “eludes” BJP’s form of governance, he added.

Singh said in the last one-and-a-half-year, his government has provided jobs, in private and government sectors and through self-employment, to 3.89 lakh youths, which translated to almost 695 youths gaining employment every day.

He said for the first time in the last many years, the real estate sector in Punjab was witnessing an upward swing, as stamp duty and registration revenue collections were up by 15 per cent.

“In fact, revenue collections in August have increased by 35.71 per cent, as compared to August last,” said the chief minister.

As regards the agriculture sector, he said, the state recorded the highest production of wheat, paddy and cotton last year and is poised to cross all records this year too.

“We produced 178.50 lakh tons of wheat in Rabi 2018 with the per hectare productivity of 50.90 quintals, the highest ever. Similarly, the production of paddy in kharif 2017 was an all-time high at 199.72 lakh tons, with a record per hectare yield of 65.16 quintals,” said Singh. All this happened due to good management on account of timely supply of quality seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, power for tubewells and canal irrigation, he added.

The chief minister said despite some losses on account of the recent rains, this season Punjab is again looking at a record paddy production of 205 lakh tons, with a per hectare yield of over 66 quintals.

Even the cotton yield is expected to be 780 kg lint per hectare this year, as compared to 757 kg per hectare in the last kharif, he said, adding that his government would also ensure that the procurement process is hassle-free and smooth, as had been in the last three seasons.

The chief minister said while the BJP and the Akalis did nothing except “lip service” for the debt-ridden farmers in the state in their decade-long rule, his government had already waived off co-operative bank crop loans of 3,07,045 farmers, amounting Rs 1,736.29 crore.

“By mid-October, we would start waiving off crop loans of 1,27,838 marginal farmers that were availed from commercial banks,” said Singh. A total of 10.25 lakh families will benefit from the government’s loan waiver scheme, he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.