Capt Amarinder trashes Shwait Malik’s remarks as ‘ridiculous’

Chandigarh, September 30: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has trashed BJP state unit president’s comments on his and his government’s functioning as “ridiculous”. He has accused Shwait Malik of resorting to cheap tactics to divert the people’s attention from his own party’s failure at the Centre.

Punjab BJP president Shwait Malik had challenged the Punjab government saying if the CApt-led government had proof against the Akali Dal, “then I am also ready to stand with them against Akali Dal because no party is above the country.”

He also stressed to “punish the guilty” in sacrilege cases, irrespective of his or her position or stature. Malik also accused the state government of trying to vitiate the atmosphere under the garb of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on sacrilege incidents only “to divert people’s attention from its failures”.

The CM, on the other hand, countered by saying that the people of Punjab had elected him, and not the BJP, urging Malik to stay out of the affairs of the government and stick to managing his own party, which was staring at total decimation in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

His officers and team members were following his directives and executing his orders, which was what they had been appointed to do, said Captain Amarinder, dismissing 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 to comment on the functioning of the incumbent Congress government under his leadership, said the Chief Minister, in a hard-hitting statement issued here on Saturday.

“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?” asked the Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder 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 to work 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 adding that Malik perhaps wouldn’t understand this, as such autonomy eludes BJP’s form of governance.

Every member of his staff was doing an effective and efficient job of managing the affairs of the government, as was manifest in the major strides the state was making in every sphere of governance, said the Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder said in the last one and a half years, his government had provided jobs, in private and government sectors and through self-employment, to 3.89 lac 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, the chief minister reminded Malik that Punjab 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 lac 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 lac tons, with a record per hectare yield of 65.16 quintals”, said Captain Amarinder, adding that all this happened due to good management on account of timely supply of quality seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, power for tubewells and canal irrigation.

The chief minister said that 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 it had been in the last three seasons.

The chief minister said that while Malik’s party and its ally, 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 Cr. “By mid-October, we would start waiving off crop loans of 1,27,838 marginal farmers that were availed from commercial banks”, said the chief minister, adding that a total of 10.25 lakh families will benefit from his government’s loan waiver scheme.

Captain Amarinder said that industry, which fled Punjab due to the lopsided policies and mass corruption during the Akali-BJP regime, has finally started looking towards the state. He said 209 applications for industrial projects, with proposed investment of Rs. 11,000 Cr and jobs for 71,635 people, have been received in the past 18 months and most of these will see the light of the day soon. He said the industrial sector is witnessing a revival and the number of Medium, Small & Micro units, which were 74, 2276 and 8571 respectively in 2016-17 have increased to 78, 2831 & 18172 in 2017-18 showing a growth of 5.5%, 25% and 112% respectively.

“So rather than speaking about my government and its functioning, it will be better if Malik explains to the people why the BJP has not fulfilled the promises of creating employment for 2 crore youths every year, controlling fuel prices, checking the slide of the rupee, bringing back black money and doubling the farmers’ income”, said the chief minister.