Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday reiterated his government’s commitment to check monopoly and undue profiteering in the transport business while announcing that a new mining policy would be brought out soon to eliminate the mining mafia completely from the state.
The Chief Minister also announced a 50% concession on bus fare to women traveling in government and PRTC buses, as well as 5000 new Mini Bus route permits in the next two years to benefit the state’s unemployed youth. Another 2000 route permits would be provided for regular 52-seater stage carriage buses during the next two years, the Chief Minister told the House.
On the issue of the State Transport Police, Amarinder Singh pointed out that the matter was sub-judice but necessary action would be taken as per the directions of the Court, as and when the issue was settled.
The Punjab Chief Minister assured the House that any transport permits found illegal would be canceled, disclosing that show-cause notices had already been issued for 142 permits, which were being examined as per law.
The transport department was in the process of issuing 15-day Show Cause Notices for the remaining 212 permits as well, said the Amarinder Singh, promising total transparency in issuance of permits, along with all possible steps to break the monopoly in the transport sector.
He said his government was totally committed to ending monopolistic practices and cartelization in the transport sector, which the previous SAD-BJP regime had promoted to its own benefit.
Referring to his government’s decision to lower the age of retirement by ending the process of optional extension, Captain Amarinder said all vacancies that will be created as a result of the move would be filled in the next two years. He pointed out that a single case of retirement on a high pay scale could help generate jobs for three youth in the lower bracket.
Reiterating his commitment to the realisation of his vision to ensure `Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar’, as part of his government’s flagship employment generation scheme, the Chief Minister informed the House that 57,000 government jobs, including contractual employment, had already been provided in the last three years. The pace of employment generation would be further augmented through the creation of the industry, which had seen a major boost at the back of his government’s industry and investor-friendly policies in the past three years, he added.
Underlining the importance of crop diversification to boost farmers’ income, the Chief Minister said under the State Crop Diversification Programme, for which a provision of Rs 200 crore has been made, focus would be on alternative crops, mainly the Summer (Kharif) Maize, and also pulses, cotton, basmati, and horticulture crops. In this endeavor, priority would be given to replacing common paddy in areas/blocks with low paddy productivity per acre, as well as those that are water starved because of a high decline in groundwater.
Captain Amarinder also announced his government’s decision to deepen the ambulances network, through 108, in order to ensure quick and effective delivery of health services at the doorstep. The number of ambulances will be increased from the existing 242 to 400 during the next two years, enabling 24X7 access to ambulance services for every cluster of 30-35 villages.
To further strengthen the health delivery network, the Chief Minister said all doctors in government hospitals should double up for both administrative and clinical work. Of the total of 4036 doctors currently available, 1000 do not engage in clinical work at present, he noted, adding that if Vice-Chancellors of universities could do both teaching and administrative work, then why not doctors.
Congratulating the Finance Department of Punjab for an excellent and progressive Budget, Amarinder Singh said he was happy with the budget, which was aligned to his government’s vision for the state.