Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday inaugurated the Agecare multi facility home at Jiwanwal village, three km from here, in the presence of former union minister for law and justice and Rajya Sabha member Ashwani Kumar.
Kumar had given a grant of Rs 2.75 crore from his MPLAD scheme funds for the 60-bed old age home building, while the Punjab government had provided land.
During the function, Kumar and Badal showered praises on each other during their brief speeches, and narrated how they had been helpful to each other. Kumar called Badal his 'elder', while Badal said that Kumar's father, former Punjab speaker and minister Parbodh Chander, had always been a help to him.
Confining their speeches to the cause, both admitted that building old age homes was not a part of Punjabi culture, which required that the person who did not take care of his parents to face humiliation in the society. They said such facilities had other benefits, like allowing seniors to get company of their own age.
Badal said he got one such facility built in his village after visiting important old age homes in the region, adding that seniors were enjoying a good life there, with food of their choice and facilities like bathrooms, newspapers, radio, television and a common room, besides a regular dispensary.
He said that that Old Age Home was giving shelter to the women and orphans too.The management of the Home had also made arrangements for the education of the orphan inmates of the Home.He said that in addition to it there was a Gurdwara built in the Old Age Home for service to their spititual aspect.
Praising leader of opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha Sunil Kumar Jakhar for his cooperative attitude over issues concerning the state, Badal said he and Jakhar had gone to New Delhi together to meet the Planning Commission, seeking more funds and projects for Punjab. Terming "politics of vengeance and bitterness" a "futile exercice", he said he neither liked, nor indulged in it.
He also announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the new old age home, promising that the facility would "never undergo dearth of funds."
Later, replying to a query, Badal said the government would not build and run old age homes, but would extend "full support" to such projects, brought forth by NGOs in the state. He also suggested that leaders of all political parties should hold meetings about four to five months before the elections, and chalk out a common policy for development, and should extend their whole-hearted support on it to whichever party came to power.
Gurdaspur MLA and chief parliamentary secretary for agriculture Gurbachan Singh Babbehali of SAD, and Help Age India's national head Avinash Dutta also spoke on the occasion, which was also attended by former Punjab ministers Lakhbir Singh Randhawa of Congress, and Sucha Singh Langah of SAD.