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Guv: Water crisis grave, Centre needs to chip in 

Chandigarh, February 12

Punjab is threatened with a water famine and needs resources to tackle it, said Governor VP Singh Badnore, while addressing the opening session of the Assembly today.

“We wish that the Centre takes note of it and helps before the state turns into a desert. The Central Ground Water Board has declared nearly two-thirds of the state area as ‘dark zone’. Punjab proposes to set up a state water authority to ensure better regulation and conservation of water,” Badnore said.

The Governor, in his 55-minute address, blamed Punjab’s current financial crisis on the previous SAD-BJP government. He alleged that financial imprudence and reckless spending by the Badal government had led the state into a debt trap. The state had a liability of Rs 13,039 crore as on March 2017, he said. 

Meanwhile, MLAs of the SAD-BJP got up right after the Governor started his address and raised slogans against the government for its “failure” to address the issue of farmer suicides. They later walked out of the House.

Continuing his address, Badnore said no one involved in the sacrilege cases would be spared as the government was committed to the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission findings.

He said the state police neutralised 1,414 gangsters in the last two years. “At least 19 terror modules have been busted, which included 101 terrorists and 22 foreign handlers. As many as 21,049 cases have been registered under the NDPS Act wherein 25,092 peddlers were arrested and more than 556 kg heroin was seized.”

Not only teachers, grievances of all employees of the state were receiving full attention of the government, the Governor said. He underlined the government’s efforts in improving the quality of education. At least 1.73 lakh pre-primary students were enrolled in 12,921 schools and 2,387 English medium primary schools were started, he said.

“A total of 224 villages affected with fluoride and arsenic have been provided with safe drinking water through arsenic removal (88) and RO plants (136) in 2018. As many as 4.99 lakh toilets were constructed and 4.58 lakh power connections were given in the last two years. All 167 urban local bodies are open defecation-free,” he said.

Besides, 5.83 lakh small and marginal farmers have been provided relief under waiver scheme notified in 2017. Badnore said all crop diversification schemes in the state meant nothing till the Centre assured procurement.

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