Independence Day didn't bring along any new announcement, as Centre bashing remained the highpoint of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's speech at the state level function held at YPS stadium in Patiala.
Complaining of "step-motherly treatment" by the Centre, Badal demanded more powers to the state. "Although we have got independence, the true federal character is yet to be achieved. Giving more powers to the states would be the most befitting way to do this," Badal said while addressing the gathering after unfurling the tricolour.
The chief minister said this was a day of introspection to see if we had been able to fulfill the dreams of our freedom fighters. "Unfortunately, the country is still facing poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, inequality and many other social evils even after 65 years of Independence," he said.
He said the tendency of the Centre to usurp the powers and authority of the states ensured by the Constitution was detrimental for growth. "The real tribute to our martyrs and heroes on this solemn day would be to cherish the aspirations of our people by ensuring them a quality life, which would only be feasible if the Centre granted more financial and political powers to the states," he said.
Listing his government's achievements, he said Punjab had risen to third spot from 14 on Education Development Index as per report of National University Educational Planning and Administration.
The chief minister also demanded a special package for Punjab industry from the Centre on the pattern of neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.
Badal said the ongoing sewerage work would be completed in Patiala at the earliest, as the state government had already released Rs 74 crore out of Rs 103 crore earmarked for the project.
The chief minster took the salute from an impressive parade led by the ACP Swapan Sharma and comprising contingents of PAP, Punjab Police, NCC (Boys and Girls), police brass band, Saint John ambulance brigade, scouts and girl guides.