Chief Minister Amarinder Singh unfurled the national flag at Gandhi Ground in Amritsar during the 75th Independence Day on Sunday.

He showed concern for the future generations to know the antecedents of the freedom fighters who laid down their lives to free India from the clutches of British regime.

Recalling his visit to the Andaman Cellular Jail, he said he spotted the names of so many Punjabis who he was not even aware of as having fought for the nation’s independence.

He announced that a memorial dedicated to unsung Punjabis who lost their lives in cellular jail, would be installed.

“Except for one Prithvi Singh Azad, I could not recognise others. When I didn’t have any inkling about other names, how could anyone else or our current generation know about Punjabis who have given immense sacrifices for the unity and integrity of the country,” he said.

He also pointed out the discrepancies prevailed in the exact number of martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh.

“At present, a Jallianwala Bagh centenary memorial was set up in Amritsar to pay tributes to them. The list with the Office of Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar spoke about 487 persons, yet there could be many more. We have been trying to authenticate the martyrs and tracing the others,” he said.

He stressed that sacrifices of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and Udham Singh who sowed the seed of Independence could never be forgotten.

“Then came the holocaust of Partition when lakhs lost their lives while shifting from either side. Their particulars too were unknown. It all calls for a thorough research,” he said.

On the law-and-order situation, he categorically said that no gangster or terrorist would be tolerated. He strongly condemned the nefarious designs of neighbouring Pakistan from where arms, RDX, grenades, drugs and other forbidden material were being smuggled through drones.

“Still, our police and BSF were quite vigilant to thwart the activities from across the border and maintain peace in the state. If peace prevails in Punjab, the whole country will be peaceful,” he said.

He elaborated that nearly 347 modules of gangsters were broken by the police and 3565 gangsters were put behind bars. The hardcore ones were brought here after deportation from foreign countries like Armenia, Hong Kong, Portugal and Australia. Similarly, 47,510 cases of NDPS Act were registered in which 61,744 , including 216 big fish, were nabbed and over 2 tonne of heroin, 30 kg smack and over 200 properties of drug traders and extremists were seized during the existing term, he said.

Touching upon the sensitive ‘sacrilege’ incidents, he said that SIT was working to bring justice and the outcome would be revealed soon.

Referring to the welfare of landless farmers, the chief minister said that the state government would make payment of Rs 520 crores to 2.85 lakh landless farmers under the debt relief scheme on the coming 20th August, the birth anniversary of late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Further, debt relief up to Rs 50,000 would be shortly given to about 16,000 beneficiaries of SC and BC Corporation at a cost of Rs 62 crore, he added.

Meanwhile, the chief minister also conferred state awards on 45 persons for their valuable contribution to the society and dedicated services with a certificate, shawl and a medal. 

The awards for the year 2020 could not be conferred earlier due to Covid. However, a separate function would be held soon for giving the state awards for the year 2021 where distinguished persons, including GoC-in-C and all ranks of the Western Command, for their exemplary contribution in the fight against Covid, would be honoured.

He also handed over appointment letters for government jobs to one family member each of the 34 victims of the tragic Amritsar rail accident at Jaura Phatak.

The chief minister also inspected the parade and took the salute of the march past led by Commander DSP Madhvi Sharma and Second-in-Command DSP Harinder Singh Mann. The parade included contingents from Punjab Police Recruits Training Centre Jahan Khela, Punjab Jail Police, Chandigarh Police, Guardians of Governance and Brass and Pipe band of Punjab Armed Police.

The chief minister also announced Rs 1200 crore worth of projects for the development of link roads, phirnis and roads, along with a slew of SC welfare programmes.

In order to facilitate ease of doing business, the CM announced a new set of a whopping 1150 reforms for Medium & Small Enterprises (MSMEs).

The chief minister said a sum of Rs 5 crore would be earmarked for the development of area in and around Guru ki Wadali, the birthplace of the 6th Sikh Guru Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib ji in the vicinity of the holy city of Amritsar.

Paying glowing tributes to the legendary martyr Madan Lal Dhingra, the chief minister announced that a memorial would be established in Amritsar City as a mark of homage to him.

Source: 16 August, 2021, The Tribune