Slamming the central government during the oath-taking ceremony of sarpanches and panches, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said the constant increase in input costs of agriculture, coupled with the decreasing margin of profits, had broken the backbone of the state's farmers.
Squarely blaming the union government for pangs of the farmers, Badal advised the farmers to start allied business activities like fish farming, bee farming for their survival. He also asked the farmers to adopt crop diversification, as the Centre had been hesitating in procuring paddy crops from Punjab.
The chief minister was addressing the gathering after administrating oath to 927 sarpanches and 6,079 panches of which 127 were elected unanimously.
In his speech, Badal said today Punjab's farmers were reeling under a huge debt of Rs 30,000 crore due to policies of Centre.
The chief minister pointed out that unprecedented development had taken place during the SAD-BJP government in the state, which would get further impetus in the coming days.
Badal said while Rs 1,700 crore would be spent on upgrading and strengthening of rural road network, an ambitious project to supply potable drinking water to every village of the state had also been initiated. Likewise, Badal said all villages of the state would be soon provided basic civic amenities on urban pattern.
He further said despite being a border state, Punjab had emerged an epitome of peace and communal harmony in the country. He said the state government had made all-out efforts to ensure peaceful conduction of panchayat polls in the state, whereas many other states in the country had witnessed unprecedented violence during these polls.
Rural development and panchayati raj minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said the state government was committed towards uplifting and developing villages. The state would connect all villages through Internet and would implement e-Panchayat system in the state, he added.
Prominent among those present on the occasion were public works department (PWD) minister Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, advisor to chief minister Maheshinder Singh Grewal, MLAs Balwinder Singh Bains and Manpreet Singh Ayali, Punjab State Subordinate Services Board chairman Jathedar Santa Singh Umedpuri, former ministers Hira Singh Gabria and Jagdish Singh Garcha, former member of Parliament GS Galib, CM's special principal secretary KJS Cheema, and district BJP president Praveen Bansal were also present in the ceremony.