To ensure the holistic development of Kandi and Border areas of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday approved projects and schemes worth Rs 125 crore for the year 2019-20. The Chief Minister also okayed the guidelines and criteria for the execution of these development projects and schemes.
Of the total approved sum, Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for the overall development of the border region and Rs. 25 crore for the Kandi areas. These funds are in addition to the ongoing schemes and programmes, an official spokesperson disclosed after the maiden meeting of Border and Kandi Area Development Board, presided over by the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder Singh also gave the nod to spend 75 percent of allocated funds on priority sectors viz health, education, water supply & sanitation, and the remaining 25 percent on other sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture and allied, rural development & panchayats and local government.
On the issue of realignment of Kandi canal raised by Member Parliament from Sri Anandpur Sahib, Manish Tewari, the Chief Minister asked the Chief Secretary to constitute a committee comprising MP Sri Anandpur Sahib, MLA Balachaur, engineers from Water Resources Department, besides eminent experts from the field of canal design and management, to suggest ways & means to rectify the technical flaws in the construction of canal in order to harness its optimum irrigation potential.
The Chief Minister assured the Board members that paucity of funds would not be allowed to hamper the pace of development in these difficult areas, where people were grappling with several hardships, especially scarcity of potable water, less irrigation facilities and poor road connectivity etc. He pointed out that the very objective of setting up the Board was to identify the problems in these areas and address them on priority.
Captain Amarinder said the allocation would be enhanced further to ensure basic facilities of health, education, water supply and sanitation etc for the people in these areas, in order to improve the quality of their life.
Responding to the issues raised by members of the Board, the Chief Minister consented to get a third party audit done from an independent agency of repute to ascertain the quality of the development projects. He also directed Rural Development & Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa to put in place an effective mechanism for quality evaluation of development projects in these areas through such agency with proven track of fair expertise, experience and technical knowledge in handling assessment of such projects.
Conceding another demand of the Board members, Captain Amarinder asked the Planning Department to examine the feasibility of fixed tenure of the concerned MPs and MLAs as members of the Board instead of the prevalent practice of rotation, to ensure all-round development of these region in an efficacious and result oriented manner.
Prominent amongst those who attended the meeting were Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra, Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Razia Sultana, MP Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, MLA Darshan Lal Mangupur, MLA Pathankot Amit Vij, MLA Ajnala Harpartap Singh Ajnala, MLA Ferozepur City Parminder Singh Pinky, Eminent Economist Dr Sucha Singh Gill and Anish Kumar Sudan’s from Jalalabad (all Board members).
Apart from these, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, ACS Development Viswajeet khanna, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tewari, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh and Special Secretary Planning Daljeet Singh Mangat were also present.