Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the gastroenteritis-hit Gandhi Camp locality on Tuesday and announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for the families of those, who had succumbed to the disease.
The state government, especially Badal, his son and deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal and health minister Madan Mohal Mittal, have been drawing flak from the opposition Congress for their "indifferent" attitude even as 21 people died of gastroenteritis.
Talking to the media at Gandhi Camp, Badal said that considering the grave situation due to the disease outbreak in Batala, the state government would organise a mega free health camp here in December on the lines of the 'Sangat Darshan' programme to diagnose patients with serious ailments, gastroenteritis in particular.
Expressing grief over the death of 21 persons, Badal said it was unfortunate that the disease had spread in the area due to mixing of sewage sludge with the drinking water because of the poor condition of supply pipes.
He said the Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) was already carrying out relief operations in the city and medicines worth Rs 3 lakh had been distributed free of cost to the residents.
Peeved at the unhygienic living conditions of Gandhi Camp residents, Badal asked the Gurdaspur deputy commissioner and political leaders to draft a rehabilitation policy for the people with their consent.
Asked about the alleged laxity of the administration, Basal said he had marked an enquiry to the PHSC managing director Dr Raji Shrivastva and assured that the guilty would not be spared.
Women residents complain of drug abuse among youth
Women residents of Gandhi Camp conveyed their anger to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal about the rampant sale of drugs in the area. They said hundreds of persons of their locality had died due to addiction to drugs and illicit liquor.
Due to the easy availability of drugs, more than 80% of youth in the area were addicted to drugs, the women said.
After hearing their grievances, Badal ordered Batala senior superintendent of police Tulsi Ram to take immediate action on the sale of drugs.
'NO CHANCE OF TERRORISM REARING ITS HEAD'
Asked to comment on the apprehensions of the Congress regarding revival of terrorism in the state, Badal ruled out such a possibility, and said that his government was committed to maintaining peace and communal harmony.
He said the Congress leaders had a chronic habit of raising the issue of terrorism whenever they were out of power.
'CENTRE PARTIAL TO CONG-RULED STATES'
Badal said the Congress-led government at the Centre was discriminating against some states regarding release of grants for development.
"The Congress-ruled states are getting more money whereas those where non-Congress parties are in power are getting almost nothing," he said. "To aggravate the situation, union ministers are diverting projects and funds of their respective departments to their native states, leading to lopsided development in the country. Punjab is the worst sufferer of such discriminatory policies. If at all the Centre sanctions a grant to the state, riders imposed on it makes its utilisation impossible."
Dismissing talk that in Punjab too, only some areas were getting all the attention and the money, Badal said there was no discrimination in allocating funds.
The chief minister was accompanied by chief parliamentary secretary Desh Raj Dhugga, BJP national executive member Swaran Salaria, former Vidhan Sabha speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon and former MLAs Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal and Capt BS Bath.