On the occasion of the 64th Republic Day, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal committed himself to upholding the honour and dignity of women as well as ensuring their safety.
Addressing a public gathering after unfurling the national flag at Guru Nanak Stadium here on Saturday, the chief minister said his government had decided to have a woman station house officer (SHO) in each police station of the state in addition to the regular SHO.
To fulfil this commitment, he announced the recruitment of 500 women sub-inspectors (SIs) in the police force. The woman SHO will be an SI ranking officer or could even be of the rank of an inspector.
"We have already issued directions that no woman will be called to the police station for inquiry in any case. The police party comprising a woman officer will question a woman at her house and in the presence of relatives or neighbours," he reiterated.
Bats for federal structure
He reiterated that a "genuine federal structure" was the need of hour to fulfil the cardinal ideas of justice, equality and liberty enshrined in the Constitution.
He said the framers of the Constitution had envisaged a federal structure in the country for ensuring the well being of all sections of society but the policy of the successive Congress governments at the Centre to usurp the powers of the states had turned India into a unitary state. The unitary structure of governance had led to a number of problems, he added, while citing the example of the Centre deciding the price of agricultural commodities and fertilisers despite the fact that agriculture was a state subject.
"Due to such ill-conceived policies the hardworking farmer of the state is reeling under heavy debt of more than Rs. 32,000 crore. As per the figures of the Centre, more than 2.9 lakh farmers across the country have been forced to commit suicide," he added while calling for giving states more financial and political autonomy, especially with regard to decision-making process on issues of local and regional development.
Hails electorate of Punjab
Expressing gratitude to the people of Punjab for their historic mandate to bring the SAD-BJP government back in power for the second consecutive term, the chief minister said the verdict had filled them with even greater humility and responsibility to fulfil the promises made to the people. He said that during the last six years the government had worked hard to promote communal harmony, peace, brotherhood and amity in the state.
Renewing the pledge to take people towards a society that matched the aspirations of freedom fighters, he said that to put Punjab on the fast track of development, the SAD-BJP government had taken bold initiatives coupled with pragmatic policies and programmes due to which an era of unprecedented development had been ushered in the state. Thereafter, he went about listing the achievements of his government in various fields.
He pointed out that his government had laid a special thrust to increase power production in the state. He said work was going on in full swing at three thermal plants in Talwandi Sabo (1,980 MW), Goindwal Sahib (1,860 MW) and Rajpura (2,100 MW) and after the commissioning of these plants the state would become power surplus by next year.
He laid emphasis on creation of more job opportunities and providing the best of education in the state. He claimed that the state had the best network of roads in the country.
Earlier, the chief minister inspected a parade and took the salute at an impressive march past by 19 contingents of Punjab Police, Punjab Home Guards, Punjab Forest Guards, NCC cadets, Bharat Scouts and Guides besides the Punjab Police band and other school bands. The students of various local schools presented a colourful cultural programme. He also honoured the families of freedom fighters and gave away tricycles to the physical challenged.