Best in class connectivity in Punjab

Due to the rapid increment in the development, population and globalization like factors, number of vehicles or we can say vehicle population is increasing day by day. With this comes the need of better transportation mediums and connectivity such as roads, connecting highways, and air connectivity etc. Taking into consideration these important factors, Punjab Government has launched various schemes for the betterment of roads, highways, and air connectivity.

There are two main cities of Punjab, i.e. Chandigarh and Ludhiana, where people regularly travel to and fro. So, Punjab government has consistently made all the efforts required to increase the connectivity between these two cities. The better example of this would be the approval to a highway construction project worth Rs. 2,070/- Crores between Kharar and Ludhiana. The plan includes a 6/4 lane highway b/w these cities so that the travelling time can get reduced. It would be around 76 kilometers long highway which is currently a 2 lane road. As per the authorities, it would take around two and half years for the completion of this project as 145 hectares out of 383.2 hectares of land is yet to be acquired.

If we talk about railways, then the plan is to extend the travelling from Ferozepur & Jammu to Katra because high number of people travels on this route till Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. As per the promise of the Union Minister of State for Railways, a new train to Haridwar will be started soon. Already a train from Punjab to Haridwar is currently running, but only during special holiday/festive season. So, authorities have decided to include this train in regular schedule for the people who travel to this pilgrimage regularly. In addition to this, as a lot of business transaction are carried out between Punjab and U.P the mentioned train to Haridwar from Ferozepur will also benefit in generating the revenue. Also, it will act as a convenient mode of transportation for goods as well.

Punjab needs to connect directly to USA

A state develops manifold, once they start having direct international flights. This is so because with the flights start direct trade between the two countries, also tourism definitely is one of the major factors, which brings in development. Along with the question of development, it is easy for people to go on vacations and business purposes to that particular state or country.

As mentioned above, all of this can start in Amritsar, once the direct flight between Amritsar and London is launched. As there is a lot of percentage of people from Punjab staying in London, it is important for the whole state to have some connectivity with this major destination. Air India has recently started a direct flight from Gujarat to London, which would also be covering New Jersey.

NGO Amritsar Vikas Manch has recently kept in their request to start a direct flight from the holy city to London and USA. There is a huge percentage of students of Punjab and a lot of population residing in UK, USA and Canada, therefore it is the need of the hour to gift the state a direct flight to such destinations. Firstly, this will bring the families closer and even give an opportunity to the students of both the destinations to experience different cultures. A large population of the state used to travel on the Amritsar-Birmingham and Amritsar-London-Toronto flights but unfortunately these have been discontinued. The NGO demands the Air India team to restore these two very important routes for the citizens of the state.

Amritsar is known to be one of the major tourist attractions for people internationally, who are keen on visiting India, to experience its culture, food and people. Start of such a connection of Amritsar will bring in another boost to the tourism sector. Along with this, it will also be a great opportunity for the airports and cities around Amritsar to grow along with the same.

It is great to see that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given such a great gift to the Gujarati community in US, UK and Canada. But now the people of Punjab are looking for something to come their way, so that they can also get closer to their families living abroad.

Uplifting the Amritsar Railway Station

Most of the travellers still like travelling in trains, when it comes to domestic travel. Along with being a cheaper option, many find it more comfortable and a fun journey when travelling with friends and family. Also, the lower income group of the society travels by this medium in their day-to-day lives.

In past few years, the railways and railway stations have improved at a great extent in different parts of the country. A very positive step has been taken by the Rajya Sabha MP, Shwet Malik, who is one of the members in the Railway Department of the Parliamentary Committee. At the Amritsar Railway Station, he recently organized a meeting with the administration and suggested to make the station as beautiful as the International airport of the city. This is because, Amritsar being one of the top cities of the state when it comes to travel and tourism, so having a superior class railway station is very important.

A development plan has already been devised for the railway station, which is estimated to be costing around Rs. 13 crores. This plan includes a number of improvements and revamping processes to be done at the station. Starting with it proposes to improve the parking lots by creating a four-lane parking area, with different points of entry for the two-wheelers, four-wheelers, VIP cars and three-wheelers.

A modern ticket-booking booth is required at the Platform number one; therefore the old one will soon be replaced with a new modern model of the same. The parcel building at the station is also being advised to be replaced with dormitory and more than half a dozen retiring rooms for the travellers visiting the station. Malik also suggested the administration to include a disaster management plan in the whole scheme, and add on escalators on both the sides of the station. Another improvement, in addition to the physical structure of the station, which is required, includes the way the customers are treated by the workers at the facility. The MP has suggested instructing the officials at the inquiry and booking booths to deal with the customers politely and in a courteous manner, so that they feel welcomed and do not hesitate in asking for any help.

The up-gradation of the Chheharta Railway station will help a lot in de-clogging the Amritsar railway station as various commercial transportation can be carried out from there.

Taking a step towards educating the poor

It is not just some schemes and rules applied by the administration, which will help in educating the children in the rural areas, we have to put in personal efforts and do something for the society. Be it an educational institute or an individual, you must play your role in taking this noble cause further.

Satya Bharti Adarsh Senior Secondary School has been doing a lot in this sector. From finding students from the villages, identifying their potential to teaching them and helping them score great numbers, they have been doing it all. In the tenth standard this year, they have a number of marvelous examples of students who were picked up from their day-to-day lives, fighting to help their parents in feeding the family. All of these students have performed brilliantly and scored great position in the class tenth exams. They had 225 students appearing for the examination this year, out of which, 41 have scored a perfect 10 CGPA and 56 students have scored CGPA between 9 and 9.9. This has been possible because of the continuous efforts of the teachers of the school, administration and their motivation amongst the kids to excel in the examinations.

The schools were located in the rural areas, still the kids from different challenging backgrounds of their lives came forward and regularly attended classes along with taking care of their families and various other chores. These students were so determined to come out with flying colours in the examination that the school has had a pass percentage of 99.11 percent.

The students, who came for studying at the school, were spotted by the institute in villages or at different construction sites. The determination amongst the kids and their will to work hard and learn something new made such a brilliant result possible. Every child should at least get an opportunity to be educated and make a bright future of his own.

Bharti Foundation is the Non-Government Organization that has been working towards this noble cause and look out for students around the rural areas of the state. They then get along with the schools and fund the educations of the children. Various other organizations and educational institutions should take up this challenge of educating the poor. If this problem is solved, various other issues of the country will be sorted if the literacy rate increases at a fast pace.

Developing Adarsh Villages in the state

Punjab is known to have a number of villages in the major portion of the state, and these require a lot of development in terms of infrastructure, education, governance and more. The government has now decided to uplift this segment of the state, which holds the roots of Punjab and make it a better place for the people and the community.

The government has developed a huge plan with great ambitions and aspirations, which will help in overall development of the rural areas and create Adarsh Villages all across Punjab. Officers at the district levels have been informed about the same and given instructions to implement this plan at the earliest and in the best possible way. To help in monitoring the development of this plan and creation of Adarsh villages in the right direction, the government has decided to create Planning Units at the Gram Panchayat level.

The 14th Finance Commission had already allocated a good amount of funds for this project to be carried out smoothly and in the best of its spirits. The authorities are trying to implement public representation at the level of the villages so as to induce the Panchayat Raj in the state and make it a stronger practice for managing and developing the respective villages. Under the plan, the Gram Panchayat would be the one that would formulate the Development Plan at the Planning Units with a number of members, including, Sarpanch of that particular village, Panchayat Secretary, Gram Employment assistant, engineers, school teachers, workers and more. Once this has been well-formulated, then NGO, self-help groups and suggested retired officers and workers can also be made a part of the team to help in better suggestions and working.

The guidelines by the Centre Government has been the base of the formulation of this development plan, where the main focus and concern has been given to being transparent in giving out grants and also taking suggestions from the people wherever required. The main issues of the society and specially the villages have been the major concern while developing this plan, like sex ration, welfare of the community, malnutrition, education, increasing death rate of the mother and child, social security, issues of farmers and more.

The state government has been working hard to lift up the social as well as the financial status of the scheduled caste of the society, so that they can get an equal opportunity to develop their future in the society. Cleanliness, safe potable water, development of parks and playgrounds for the kids are a few more major concerns that the development plan will be taking care of.

Farmers’ Health Insurance Scheme launched

Health Insurance Scheme was recently launched all around the state for farmers; to maintain their health and support them with any kind of help required making them stay healthy, as they are the backbone of our country.

Farmers Health Insurance Scheme launched

Surjit Singh Rakhra, Minister for Higher Education launched the Bhagat Puran Singh Health Insurance Scheme at Bhawalpur Palace in Patiala. On the other hand, Bikram Singh Majithia, Information & Public Relation Minister offered free health treatment to farmers, small traders and registered construction workers under the Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojna in Amritsar.

Under this scheme, the farmers and their families will be given health insurance cover of around Rs. 50, 000 every year for each family who is a part of this scheme. Along with this, Rs. 5 lakh cover is also a part of the scheme for a situation when the head of the family dies accidentally or is suffering from complete disability.

Representatives attended the ceremonies in both the cities of Punjab from the respective authorities, and all are appreciating this scheme, it has specially developed confidence amongst farmers and their families. With such schemes, Punjab has become one of the very few states around the country that have been able to effectively implement pro-people schemes. With such schemes, the government is trying to help in raising the standard of living of Below Poverty Line families.

The benefits of this scheme can be enjoyed by the Smart Card Holders, which will include the Blue Card holders of Punjab, which are around 28 lakh families, J-form holder farmers, who are around 11 lakh in number, small traders and even construction workers, who are at least 2.3 lakh each. The government has earmarked, an amount of Rs. 116 crore for this purpose.

Along with taking care of their expenses on health related finances, the government will also be providing a cover of around Rs. 5 lakh in case there is damage due to fire on their business premises. Another health insurance scheme for the farmers is the cashless health insurance scheme, which is already being operated since January 2016. An amount of Rs. 56 crore has been reserved for the same by the government.

Zero Maintenance Plants at Dhaipaie

Water is an essential component when it comes to farming, and with huge environmental issues in the society today, it is important to recycle water and reuse it in any possible way. To conserve the environment, and to take this forward, two Natural Waste Water Treatment Plants were recently installed at Dhaipaie village in Ludhiana.

Zero Maintenance Plants at Dhaipaie.jpg

The way they were constructed and the way they are being used is commendable. It has become a role model project for developing other such treatment plants in different villages of the state. This model is such that it runs on almost zero maintenance cost as it does not require involvement of any electricity in its operations and nor it needs a regular staff to maintain it on daily basis. Sukhbir Singh Badal recently visited these plants and seeing its flawless functioning, he appreciated the work done.

Replenishing the underground water, this plants helps in purifying the same, which is then used further for irrigation, by the help of electric pumps installed in the village. The project can help saving water and being environment friendly in a number of ways.

The construction cost for these treatment plants is around Rs. 70 lakh each, and this was an idea of an NRI Family, lead by Sarpanch Jaspal Singh. Followers of the founder of Nanaksar Thath Late Sant Mihan Singh helped in financing the set up of this project along with some financial help from family and friends. The MLA and the organizers helped in providing the knowledge required for setting up such a plant to the villagers and other government permissions and reforms, which helped further in setting up the plant without any hurdle.

This is an attempt to move ahead from the unhygienic village ponds, which presented an ugly picture to the village. Jaspal Singh said that both these plants which are built in an area of nine and four bighas of land will help in providing a good facility for the villagers to dispose of waste water. Environmentalists and specialists have been visiting these plants to study them and make an effort to install the same in other villages around the state, so that water conservation can be done without any maintenance cost.