Terming that the construction of Satluj Yamuna Link canal would be a 'death warrant' for the entire state, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today exhorted all the Punjabis to unite and intensify struggle against the construction of this canal.
Addressing a mammoth gathering here during religious congregation to mark the Baisakhi festival, the Chief Minister said that the people of the state have to wage relentless battle against Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who were hell bent upon snatching the river waters of the state. He said that it was on record that the Congress and AAP were both the enemies of the state, who were hand in glove with each other to deprive the state of its water by constructing SYL canal. Apprising the people about the affidavit submitted by AAP government in Delhi, Mr. Badal said that the Delhi government has termed the stand taken by Punjab on SYL canal as unconstitutional and anti - national adding that even Kejriwal led government has threatened Punjabis of dire consequences due to its firm stand of not allowing the construction of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal. The Chief Minister said that it was a fact that as per universally accepted Riparian principle of water sharing Punjab was the only rightful owner of river waters of the state adding he said that Punjab has no single drop of water to share with any other state. However, he said that the Congress has divested the state of its rights by giving water to Rajasthan, Haryana and other states by signing the various water agreements. Likewise, Mr. Badal said that the AAP was now making desperate attempts to get this canal constructed. However, he said that as a true custodian of rights of state the Shiromani Akali Dal was ever ready to make every sacrifice to protect the waters of the state. The Chief Minister reiterated that Punjab would be ruined if SYL canal was constructed as water was the only lifetime of the state. He said that water was basic ingredient of life and any such move to share the river waters of the state would be disastrous as it would ruin Punjab. Mr. Badal categorically said that any decision to rob the state of its water is, was and would never be acceptable to the state at any cost. “We are opposing the canal because it is a direct assault on the food security of the state and Sikh panth. So no Punjabi will ever tolerate this grave injustice against the state” he added. Training guns against the Congress party, the Chief Minister said that this party was solely responsible for the plight of Punjab and Punjabis. Reminding the people about the notorious past of the congress party, he said the Congress had irrelevantly meddled in economic, political, social and even religious affairs of the state adding that no Punjabi could ever forgive Congress for 1984 anti - Sikh Carnage and Operation Blue Star. “We all must remember that every person who supports Congress justifies Operation Blue star which was direct assault on our religious feelings”, added Mr. Badal. Squarely blaming the Congress party for the plight of farmers in the country, the Chief Minister said that the long spell of Congress party's misrule had broken the back bone of the farmers. He said that the anti - farmer stance of the Congress and its regressive policies ruined the farmers of the country, who were now reeling under mounting debt. Likewise, Mr. Badal said that the ever escalating costs of farm inputs coupled with non-remunerative MSP of the crops have rendered agriculture as non profitable venture. Listing the major initiatives taken by the state government, the Chief Minister said that during the past more than nine years the state government has provided free power to farmers worth Rs 28000 crore otherwise their problems would have accentuated manifold on account of electricity bills of tube well. Mr. Badal said that the state government has started first of its kind scheme to provide interest free crop loans worth Rs 50000 to the farmers. He further said that in another historic decision it has been decided that all the farmers would be provided a health insurance cover of Rs.50,000 and an insurance of Rs.5 lac in case of accidental death or incapacitation of head of family adding that now the state government has passed a law "The Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness Act 2016” with an aim to provide a framework for expeditious determination and settlement of non-institutional agricultural debt. The Chief Minister said that in consonance with the path shown by great Gurus, saints and seers, the Punjab was the only state to provide free Atta-Dal to poor people besides starting Mukh Mantri Tirath Yatra Scheme under which state government organizes free trains/ buses to devotees for visiting sacred cities of Sri Nanded Sahib, Varanasi, Katra (Mata Vaishno Devi) and Ajmer Sharif from Punjab and also provide other logistic facilities to pilgrims. He also said that the state government has decided to spend Rs 100 crore to commemorate the 350th birth anniversary of tenth master of Sikhs Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in an unsurpassed manner. In his address, while calling upon Punjabi’s to be ever vigilant to guard the state against anti-Punjab and anti-Sikh forces to thwart their nefarious designs of fomenting trouble and spreading misinformation, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today reiterated that Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) being the true representative of Punjabi people, wont shy away from making even the biggest of sacrifices for the sake of Punjab. Deputy Chief Minister said that SAD has a glorious legacy of fighting for freedom of the country as well as being the voice of peasants, traders, poor people and all the other sections of society. He said that SAD fought against the imposition of emergency apart from waging relentless struggle for Punjabi Suba. Pooh-pooing the opposition parties especially Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for spreading misleading information and also branding entire Punjabi people as drug addicts, Deputy Chief Minister said that these parties are inimical to the progress of the state and have no love for the ethos and culture of it. Lambasting congress, he said that this party under instructions from its high command in Delhi is always finding ways and means to spread malicious propaganda against Punjab. Not only this, Congress attacked the holiest of Sikh shrines Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar. Taking on AAP, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal thundered that this party has started emulating congress policies by attacking sikh shrines which is evident from the demolishing of ‘Piau’ at Gurudwara Sri Sisganj Sahib in Delhi. He further said that AAP has its eyes on Punjab polls next year but how can it explain to the people of Punjab it’s backstabbing them on crucial SYL issue. He vowed that anti-Punjab forces that are jealous of and inimical to the development of state, would not be allowed to take roots in Punjab and sensible Punjabi people would thwart their designs decisively. Making a pitch for development, he said that the people friendly and welfare schemes of SAD-BJP government cannot be matched let alone excelled by any party because SAD-BJP government under able leadership of Chief Minster Mr. Parkash Singh Badal has done unprecedented development of the state and made it count amongst frontline states in the country. He divulged that SAD-BJP government delivered what it promised. As per the promise, Punjab was made power surplus, construction of shaheedi yaadgars and memorial to Bhagat Ravidass ji were undertaken besides launching atta-dal, shagan and Insurance schemes for farmers and traders. Making further announcements, Deputy Chief Minister disclosed that all big cities would be connected with 4 and 6 laned roads, all roads in villages would be repaired, Concretisation of canals and Khaals (water bodies) would be undertaken at Rs. 2000 crore and Rs. 1000 crore respectively. A sum of Rs. 2500 crore- Rs.6000 crore would be spent on overall development of villages. He also said that sewerage and drinking water in mandi’s of the state would be provided at a cost of Rs. 4000 crore. Listing other pro-progress measures, he divulged that SAD-BJP government being farmer friendly, waived off tubewell bills of farmers and also formulated a scheme under which farmers can avail an interest free loan of Rs. 1 lakh per year from co-operative banks. Disclosing more, he said that under another farmer friendly measure of state government, farmers would get pensions with equal contributions by state government getting them Rs. 5000 pension per month after 10 years. Disclosing other measures, he informed that SAD-BJP government popularized kabaddi and has conceived a plan to award interest free educational loans to the students besides opening skill centers in every constituency to tarin youth of Punjab in accordance with demands of industrial sector. The Deputy Chief Minister informed that the amount of development carried out by present government and the rapid pace all round progress remain unparalleled in the history of the country. Earlier in her address Union Food Processing Minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal exhorted the people to make a firm pledge for foiling the nefarious designs of anti - Punjab forces who were hell bent upon ruining the state. She said that every Punjabi must make all out effort to ensure that such forces were not successful in their plans. Mrs. Badal said that every effort aimed at weakening the panth and Sikh community would be given a befitting reply. The Union Minister said that it was the moral duty of every individual present in this conference to pledge and follow the tenets of Sikhism. She said that Sikh history was full of countless sacrifices made by the Sikh gurus and their followers for the sake of protection of weaker sections of the society, which must be emulated by one and all. Prominent amongst other present on the occasion included Cabinet Ministers Dr. Daljeet Singh Cheema, Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Mr. Sikander Singh Maluka, Rajya Sabha MP Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Media Advisor to Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Jangveer Singh, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Mr Sarup Chand Singla, Mr. Mantar Singh Brar and Sant Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLAs Mr. Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, Mr. Harpreet Singh, Mr. Deep Malhotra, Mr. Prem Mittal, Jathedar Chatin Singh Samao, Mr. Hari Singh Zira, Mr. Darshan Singh Kotfatta, Mrs. Rajvinder Kaur Bhagike, Mr. Mahesh Inder Singh Nihalsinghwala and Mr Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, Chairman Punjab Agro Jathedar Dyal Singh Kolianwali, senior Akali leader Mr. Darbara Singh Guru, Chairman PRTC Mr. Avtar Singh Brar, Chairman Mr. Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Chairman Mr. Tejinder Singh Middukhera, Chairman Puncofed Mr. Kulwinder Singh Bhai Ka kera, Chairman District Planning committees Mr. Jagdeep Singh Nakai and Mr. Hardeep Singh Dimpy Dhillon, former MP Mrs. Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, President Youth Akali Dal Mr. Kanwarjeet Singh Rozy Barkandi and Chairman of State Youth Development Board Mr. Parambans Singh Bunty Romana.