Chandigarh, May 20: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has responded to an editorial published in Tribune on May 19 with a “letter to the Editor”, in which he states that “it is only a small section of the media and rival political parties that doubt our sincerity and commitment to fulfilling our poll promises…. While I am not a miracle maker, I have, in just two months of governance, set the ball rolling in the right direction to bring the beleaguered state back on the path to progress”.

The editorial titled “Return to governance: Captain faces an uphill task” can be read here.

The following is the text of the letter written by Capt Amarinder Singh: Your editorial, ‘Return to governance  — Captain faces an uphill task’ (May 19), does not only err on the side of a strong and unjustified bias but fails to reconcile the harsh realities of Punjab, which it has itself admitted to, with the tremendous strides made on the ground to address the multifarious problems inherited by my government from the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime.

With neutrality on the part of the media becoming a rarity, one does not really expect a fair and unbiased assessment of the government’s performance from the so-called opinion-makers in the media. Having said that, it is sad, indeed, to see even senior journalists engaging in uncalled for criticism and choosing to ignore hard facts in favour of rhetoric.

The Punjab situation, as it prevails today, requires not unwarranted criticism but collective thinking, with the media, a key contributor to shaping the state’s future. Unfortunately, the media, or at least a section of it, has adopted a confrontationist attitude, instead of supporting us in our difficult but concerted endeavour to clean up the widespread mess in the state.

Had your opinion-makers taken a less myopic view of the prevailing situation, they would have realised that restoring systems that had been eroded over a period of 10 years could not be an eight-week job. They would also have been more realistic in their expectations of my government, which, even my worst critics would admit, has started in right earnest with the task of cleaning up Punjab’s mess.

Fortunately, it is only a small section of the media and rival political parties who doubt our sincerity and commitment to fulfilling our poll promises. Or who actually believe, as your editorial says, that my promises to the people were fuelled by a “burning ambition” to come to power. But for their sake, I would like to point out that, while I am not a miracle maker, I have, in just two months of governance, set the ball rolling in the right direction to bring the beleaguered state back on the path to progress.

Let me take the liberty here of citing just a few examples of what we have achieved on the ground in restoring the confidence of the people and putting the state’s development agenda on the right track.

Elimination of the drugs promise, as you are aware, was my key promise to the state and its people. And you just have to check out the numbers, not merely of the arrests and the seizures but also of the youth knocking the doors of the rehabilitation centres, to realise how far we have come in ridding the state of this scourge.

Now take industry, which the previous government had brought to its knees completely with its unfavourable policies. I am sure your journalists and opinion-makers would be aware of the kind of response we have received from leading captains of industry to our efforts to woo investment into the state, which will pave the way for employment generation to fulfil another of my government’s poll promise.

As far as agriculture is concerned, while the unabated farmer suicides continue to be a cause for concern, the initiatives taken by my government on crop diversification and horticulture, etc. will go a long way in alleviating the woes of the farming community. And coupled with the farm debt waiver, for which we are working out the modalities, I see agriculture once again becoming the mainstay of Punjab’s economic growth, as it was till a few years ago.

The signs of positivity are already there, as evident from the smooth procurement of the record wheat production this season, backed by the highest-ever payment to farmers in April.From ending the VIP culture to cracking down on the transport and sand mafia, and from taking steps to augment infrastructure and quality of education and health in the state to doing away with the halqa system — the list of initiatives we have taken to implement our poll promises is endless.

Unfortunately, in analysing the current situation, your editorial writer failed either to consolidate all the hard facts or to apply common sense in drawing conclusions. He/she even failed to take cognizance of the simple fact that contrary to what has been suggested in the editorial, the Central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been extremely cooperative and supportive of my government’s efforts to bring Punjab’s growth back on rails.

Given the support I have received so far from all quarters, including the Centre and industry, I am confident that not only will my government succeed in bringing the state out of its current state of ruination, but also will, in fact, restore it to its pristine glory, as one of the most economically developed states in the country.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister

www.tribuneindia.com

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