Photo Source: Babushahi Bureau
Eight toll plaza close in Punjab, won't tolerate loot of public money-CM Mann
Toll company sought extension from us but we prepared to facilitate people
Ropar, April 1, 2023: Continuing the pro-people initiative of the state government to stop the plunder of the common man at the toll plazas, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday closed the eight toll plazas in the state thereby saving Rs 10.12 lakh of the commoners daily.
Addressing the gathering after closing the toll plaza at Kiratpur Sahib-Nangal- Una road, the Chief Minister said that these toll plazas have been illegally looting the people in connivance with the previous governments.
He said that though they had promised a corruption-free Punjab, employment for youth, free power, and transformation of schools and colleges along with other guarantees. But, Bhagwant Mann said that several other works are being done which was not part of the guarantee but it is the bounden duty of the state government.
The Chief Minister said that stopping loot of the common man in these toll plazas is a part of this campaign only. Bhagwant Mann said that he had raised these issues in the Lok Sabha and now when he has got the opportunity to serve the people, he is closing these tolls.
Bhagwant Mann said that these roads will be taken over by the PWD and timely repair, widening and strengthening of these roads will be ensured.The Chief Minister said that the era of ‘roads on rent’ has ended in the state adding that it is a big reprieve to the common man.
He said that the Congress and Akalis had connived with the toll plaza agencies to extend largesse to them by blatantly ignoring their all misdeeds. Bhagwant Mann said that when the common man has got the power this sheer loot of public money has been checked.
The Chief Minister said that the agreement of this toll plaza was signed on 10/10/2006 during the Captain government and the toll was imposed for 16.50 years. He said that this toll became operational on 20/11/2007 during the Akali-JP regime adding that as per agreement the first overlay was to be done on 19/11/2013.
However, Bhagwant Mann said that the then Akali government ignored the interests of the state and its people due to which the overlay was done on 01/11/2014, an year after passing of the stipulated date but surprisingly no action was taken against erring agency.Likewise, the Chief Minister said that the second overlay was to be done on 19/11/2017 but instead of stipulated time it was laid on 16/11/20 with a delay of 1093 days.
He said that this delay could have invited punitive action and it could have led to termination of the agreement with the agency but no one bothered to take action against it.
Bhagwant Mann said that due to this negligence the company today owes Rs 67 crore to the state but instead of recovering it the previous governments have been extending favors to the agency.
The Chief Minister said that the company was seeking an extension of 582 days on the pretext of farmers agitation and Covid pandemic but his government has denied it.
He said that this work should have been done earlier but none of his predecessors bothered to secure the interests of people adding that rather they worked zealously for protecting the rights of this company.
Bhagwant Mann said that the common man shelved Rs 10.12 lakh daily to pass through this road which connects Punjab with holy places like Sri Anandpur Sahib, Naina Devi Ji and others.
The Chief Minister said that this money will be recovered from the company and put on the repair and strengthening of these roads. He also said that those leaders and officers who have been hand in glove in this open loot of public will also not be spared at any cost. Bhagwant Mann unequivocally said that every single penny plundered from people will be recovered from these people by all means.
The Chief Minister said that a year ago the people of state had voted them to power by pressing a button of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
Bhagwant Mann said that today within a year he is pressing four-five buttons daily for dedicating new projects to the people of the state. He said that the day is not far when due to strenuous efforts of the state government, Punjab will emerge as the frontrunner state in the country.
The Chief Minister also announced that the state government is exploring the possibility of moving to the court for seeking pending funds under the Rural Development Fund from the centre. He said that the Union government is unnecessarily harassing the state by stalling funds worth Rs 30000 crore under the RDF.
Bhagwant Mann said that while the state government has completed all the formalities but then also the centre government has deliberately stalled the legitimate funds of the state which is sheer injustice with the state.
The Chief Minister said that in a healing touch to the farmers who have suffered huge losses due to rain and hailstorm, the state government has made a 25% upward revision in the compensation for the crop loss to the farmers. He said that in case the loss is more than 75% then the state government will compensate the farmers with Rs 15,000 per acre adding that if the loss was between 33% to 75% then the farmers will get a compensation worth Rs 6750 per acre. Similarly, Bhagwant Mann said that the labourers will get 10% as compensation so that they do not face any problem in life adding that Rs 95100 will be paid as compensation to full house damage whereas Rs 5200 will be given for minor damage to houses.
The Chief Minister said that he has asked the officers to ensure that special girdawari to ascertain the loss of people is concluded within the stipulated time.
He said that loss worth every single penny will be brought on book so that aggrieved parties can be given compensation. Bhagwant Mann said that only the genuine tillers of land get the compensation so that they do not face any crisis.
The Chief Minister said before disbursement of the compensation public announcements will be made to ensure that all the people are made aware of it.
Likewise, he said that in a major pro-farmer initiative, the state government has decided to freeze repayment of loans taken by the farmers from Primary Agricultural cooperative Societies. Bhagwant Mann expressed hope that this will give much needed relief to the farmers in this hour of crisis adding that the farmers can pay back this amount later after they recover from the losses.
The Chief Minister further said that the state government is committed to ensure smooth and hassle free procurement of every single grain of the farmers.
Bhagwant Mann reiterated the commitment of the state government to procure every single grain of the golden harvest of the farmers. He said that elaborate arrangements will be made for the procurement of the wheat so that farmers do not face any sort of inconvenience.