As they took charge on Friday, Punjab’s new ministers outlined their priorities and reiterated their promises made during the campaign.
Irrigation and power minister Rana Gurjit Singh said he would start working towards reforming tariffs besides developing a “well-planned strategy” on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal “to safeguard the rights of the state”.
Rana Gurjit took charge of his office after ardas (Sikh prayers) in the presence of advocate general Atul Nanda and several MLAs. He said his top priority would be to meet the promises made by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) in its manifesto.
“The SAD-BJP government failed to fight a strong legal battle on SYL. I have called Atul Nanda to discuss this issue and frame a well-planned strategy to present Punjab’s case during the next hearing of the case in the Supreme Court on March 28,” he said.
On power tariff, he said that a number of industrial units from the state have shifted to others parts of the country during the last 10 years “because of mismanaged power tariff policy of the SAD-BJP government”. He said that Amarinder and the PPCC have promised in the manifesto to reform tariffs for domestic, industrial and commercial consumers. He said he has called a meeting with the power secretary and the chairman-cummanaging director (CMD) of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PPCL) to discuss the issue.
Local bodies, tourism and cultural affairs minister Navjot Singh Sidhu also assumed office. Interacting with the media, Sidhu said it is now his prime duty to live up to the expectations of the people. “Citizen-centric services will be given in transparent manner. Government will not work on vendetta politics; instead, development of the state in all spheres is our goal,” he said.
Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, minister of rural development and panchayats, water supply and sanitation; Razia Sultana minister of state (independent charge), public works,, social security and development of women and children; and Brahm Mohindra, minister of health and family Welfare, medical education and research and parliamentary affairs also took charge on Friday.
Sultana, wife of top cop Mohammad Mustafa, said she would ensure that there was no corruption and nepotism.
Mohindra said his would focus on chalking out the roadmap to keep hospitals adequately staffed. The minister said that he would soon hold talks with the Medical Council of India (MCI) to increase the number of MBBS and MD seats.