The Punjab government will renew its efforts for opening trade with Pakistan through the Hussainiwala border.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal made the commitment on Saturday in his public address at Hussainiwala, 11 km from here, after paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at their memorial on their martyrdom anniversary. The move would ensure development of the border areas, he said.
The opening of the integrated check post (ICP) on the Attari-Wagah border has set cross-border trade in motion already. "It will get a fillip only if the Hussainwala border is also opened," said the CM. "It will also promote people-to-people contact.
He had raised the matter with the union government repeatedly but to no avail, said Badal, adding that he now would renew the efforts. The "Jang-e-Azaadi" memorial dedicated to India's freedom struggle would come up at Kartarpur near Jalandhar, he added.
"The project will be worth Rs 200 crore and complete in two years," said the CM. "Another memorial that will showcase the supreme sacrifices of the Punjabis in the national freedom struggle and armed conflicts is coming up in Amritsar."
Punjabis had immense contribution in the freedom struggle and were uprooted during Partition but the successive union governments had treated them with discrimination and interfered in their social, economic, political and religious matters, said Badal. "Denying Punjabi speaking areas and Chandigarh to the state, along with its legitimate share of river water, were a testimony to it," he said.
Batting for a genuine federal structure in the country, the veteran leader said that it was required for justice, equality and liberty enshrined in the constitution. Badal also honoured the families of freedom fighters. Some of the families had come all the way from Maharashtra.
The CM talked about the plan to build a government degree college in Ferozepur, besides a satellite centre of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.
Cabinet minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon; state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Kamal Sharma; legislators Hari Singh Zira and Joginder Singh; and Sher Singh Ghubaya, member of the Lok Sabha, were present.
Centre's projects: MLA
Ferozepur: It was nice on part of the chief minister to announce a degree college and a PGI satellite centre at Ferozepur but he should remember that it was the Congress-led government at the Centre that had approved the projects, Congress legislator Parminder Singh Pinki said here on Saturday.
"I had raised the matters with union human resource minister M Pallam Raju and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad," he said.