Expressing concern over the declining representation of Punjab in the military, minister of state for youth affairs & sports and defence Jitendra Singh appealed to the youths of the state to come out of the 'tight grip' of drug addiction by participating in sports activities and then join the military to serve the country.
"During the past couple of years, drug addiction has emerged as a big challenge before the youths of Punjab. The state had a recognisable representation of youths in the military but this serious evil was ruining the brave youths of the state", said Singh while addressing a gathering after the inauguration of the Rs 6.87-crore synthetic athletic track at the War Heroes Stadium here on Tuesday.
Without mentioning any specific step, the minister, however, assured the state of all support from the central government to deal with the rising problem of drug addiction and drug trafficking in the state.
Talking to media persons, he said that the central government was planning to install new equipment at the borders of the state to curb activities of drug peddlers.
Replying to a question about the ouster of the Indian Olympic Association from the Olympics, he said, "It is upsetting that the ban has not been lifted yet, but we are hopeful of getting the issue solved before the next Olympics games and I am also sure that in 2020 Olympics, India will be among the top 10 countries in the games".
Replying to another question about the Bharat Ratna award to any other sports personality, the minister said that the ministry was considering to recommend the name of former hockey player Dhyan Chand for the award.
Singh also announced that this year's national youth festival will be organised in Punjab in a bid to make the Punjabis aware of the different cultures in the country. He also sought the support of the Akali-BJP government for the success of the festival.
On the demand of a sports university by local MP Vijay Inder Singla, the minister said that a national level sports institute can be set up in his constituency if he provided land for it.
The minister also hailed Singla's efforts for the synthetic track project saying, "Being the sports minister of the country, I have failed to get such a track for the youths of my Alwar constituency, but, due to his restless efforts, Singla has managed to get this project, which will take this stadium to the international level," he added.
During his brief speech, Singla said that by allotting this project, the union government has accepted the long pending demand of the people of Sangrur.
He said this project will help divert the attention of the youths of the state from drugs to sports, he added.
Earlier, the minister also laid the foundation stone of the SAI extension centre at SD College campus at Barnala.
MoD faces ire of ex-servicemen
Minister of state for defence Jitendra Singh had to face the ire of the ex-servicemen who accused the Congress-led UPA government at the centre of mistreating them.
During his meeting with ex-servicemen at local MP Vijay Inder Singla's residence, several ex-servicemen from the city stood up on their chairs and accused the government of ignoring their contribution to the country.
"After the tenure of Indira Gandhi, the ex-armymen have become the victim of negligence," rued the retired armymen before the minister. They also submitted memorandums of demands to the minister .
Reacting to their demands, the minister said that he would take up their demands at the appropriate level. But he refused to give any assurance regarding the immediate implementation of the 'one rank one pay' (OROP) demand, saying, "the union government was fully concerned about the issues of ex-servicemen but for on the OROP, they should have faith on the 'upar wala' (Almighty).
Subedar (retired) Babu Khan, who had come from Malerkotla submitted a memorandum to the MP seeking his intervention to resume the construction of Shahi Masjid reportedly being constructed on military land in Malerkotla.