Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Tuesday that the government would implement the 73rd amendment to the constitution to give panchayats control over various aspects of planning and resource management.
In town to administer oath to newly elected 9,200 panches and sarpanches of the district, Sukhbir said the newly elected rural representatives would be given their due. However, he declined any incentive to the unanimously elected panchayats, stating that the government had no plan to reward them.
When reminded that the government had failed to pay Rs 3 lakh each it had promised to the previous panchayats elected unanimously, he said the old promise would be kept. He added that soon Punjab would become the first state in the country to have all its 13,000 panchayats computerised under the e-panchayat project, claiming that the work under this ambitious project was on advanced stage of completion.
Rubbishing the propaganda of Congress leaders regarding economic crisis in the state, he asked PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa to explain the fiscal mess created by the UPA government.
"The Congress itself is a big zero and it will draw a big zero in the coming parliamentary elections," he remarked.
The deputy chief minister said the downtrend in the economy was of great concern to every citizen as investors had started fleeing the country. He said the record low of rupee would have a cascading effect on inflation. The situation had come to such a pass that investors were not even ready to subscribe to the share sale of renowned public sector undertakings at record bottom rates.
When asked about Ajit Singh Shant's induction in Shiromani Akali Dal, he claimed that five or six more MLAs and former MLAs of the Congress were also waiting to join SAD in the coming few weeks. He said chairmen of boards and corporations would be appointed soon.
On the question of illegal sand mining and high rates of sand, he said the UPA government was responsible for creating artificial scarcity of mining products by delaying environment clearance for years to help the mining mafia. He, however, hoped that with e-auction of more mines, situation would ease in the next few months.
Rural development and panchayat minister Surjeet Singh Rakhra and chief minister's advisor Mahesinder Singh Grewal were present at the oath-taking ceremony.