Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal feels that splinter and rival Akali groups have no significance in the political system of Punjab and can never be a threat to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which represents "Punjab, Punjabis and Punjabiat".
Interacting with media persons on the sidelines of the convocation of the Government Medical College, Amritsar, (GMCA) here on Monday, the chief minister said that "offsprings of SAD" had time and again been rejected by the people of the state.
Commenting on the formation of the United Akali Dal (UAD), a new party launched by some radical elements in Sikh Panth, he said that it has no relevance in the political system of the state. He said that the new Akali party would prove to be a total non-entity in state politics as the people would reject it, as had happened with the other Akali factions.
He felt that as such outfits are totally bereft of any ideological commitments, they have no impact on Punjab politics.
Recalling the "glorious track record of SAD in safeguarding the interests of Punjabis", the chief minister said that people have reposed their faith in the policies of his party time and again. He said that the fact that people have given their mandate to SAD for serving two premier institutions of the Sikh Panth, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), reflects the fact that the public recognises SAD as the only representative of Punjab and the Khalsa Panth.
"Any new party can mushroom in the state but no one can match the commitment and dedication of SAD towards Punjab," he added.
'VAT HIKE CABINET DECISION'
When asked to comment on the claim of state BJP chief Kamal Sharma that his party was not taken into confidence when the decision to raise VAT on diesel was taken recently, the chief minister categorically said that all the decisions regarding the state were taken by the SAD-BJP alliance jointly.
To support his point, he pointed out that his cabinet comprises of ministers from both the alliance partners and there was hardly any scope of a one-sided decision by a single partner of the coalition.
INQUIRY INTO STILLBORN BABIES IN LUDHIANA
Condoling the tragic incident of death of two new-born babies and birth of three still-born baboes in Ludhiana hospital, the chief minister said that he had already ordered an inquiry into this unfortunate matter. He said that he had asked the officers to ascertain the causes and circumstances which led to the incident and submit the inquiry report.
He said that if laxity was found on the part of any public servant, he/she would not be spared and brought to book as per the law of the land.
When asked to comment on the Bhagatanwala garbage dump issue, the Badal said that this would be solved amicably. He said that he had already asked the officers to find some mutually-accepted solution to this problem.
RECALLS HISTORY OF GMCA
Earlier addressing the faculty and students of GMCA during the convocation, the Chief Minister reminded the students of the rich legacy of this apex medical institute, which has produced seven out of the 11 directors of the PGI, Chandigarh. He said that this college was the 'nursery of the medical fraternity' as it has produced several distinguished doctors, who have proved their mettle in the field of medical sciences.
Listing the initiatives taken by the state government in the health sector, the chief minister said that the setting up of the Homi Bhabha Cancer Treatment and Research Centre at Mullanpur (New Chandigarh) was a step to provide the best possible cancer treatment to patients in this region. He also listed the advanced cancer treatment units coming up at GMCA and at the medical colleges in Faridkot and Patiala and at Bathinda and Sangrur. He further said that the state government had also initiated a cashless treatment scheme for the cancer patients, besides making efforts to provide subsidised medicines to them.
He pointed out that Punjab has became the first ever state to ink a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in the healthcare sector. He said that the MoU with NSDC's arm Healthcare Sector Skill Council would facilitate training of young boys and girls to become paramedics, laboratory attendants, technicians (repairing and maintaining diagnostic equipment) and for various other jobs.
On the occasion, the chief minister also gave a cash award of Rs 1 lakh to Dr Rajat Gupta who was honoured with a gold medal for outstanding academic performance.
The chief minister was accompanied by medical education and research minister Anil Joshi and his advisor on health and medical education, Dr KK Talwar.