Harassment at the hands of excise officials will change to respect, new chief parliamentary secretary (excise and taxation) Saroop Chand Singla has assured traders.
On Thursday, Singla was on his first visit to the city after becoming CPS. "Officials of my department won't be allowed to harass traders in the name of clearing files," he said. "Asi officers nu slam karn la devange (we will make officers salute traders)."
Traders were taxpayers, said Singla, and they deserved all respect in the government offices. Asked if pro-farmers image of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was a worry for the state's traders,
Singla said chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had broken the myth by fielding a good number of Hindu candidates in the last assembly elections. "Most chief parliamentary secretaries also are Hindu," said Singla. "The CM understands the issues of traders better than anyone."
Singla is "satisfied with the portfolio" and "eager to work under the leadership of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal". "He is the minister in charge of my department," said Singla, "and I will be in a position to explain the worries of traders to him."
Back to his constituency, Bathinda legislator Singla received a grand welcome to the city. It took him more than an hour to cover 2 km from the city's gates to the civil secretariat.
He was welcomed at many points and given the guard of honour at the civil secretariat. Later, workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) honoured him at Jeet Palace. Om Parkash Sharma and other Akali leaders were present.