Amritsar: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday alleged the policy of successive Congress governments' at the Centre had undermined the federal structure of India's constitution by usurping powers of states. Addressing a gathering in Amritsar after unfurling the national flag on the Republic day, he said framers of the constitution had envisaged a federal structure in the country for ensuring the well-being of all sections of society but "the policy of the successive Congress governments at the Centre to usurp the powers of the states has today turned India into a unitary state".
"Our great freedom fighters and patriots had laid down their lives during freedom struggle for ensuring the welfare of countrymen but it was unfortunate that the unitary structure of governance in country has given birth to a number of problems due to which the dreams of our forefathers still remains unfulfilled," Badal said.
Citing an example of alleged infringement of states' right by the union government and its "serious" repercussions, the Chief Minister said that as per the constitution agriculture was a state subject "but now grabbing it the Centre was fixing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops and finalizing the prices of diesel and fertilizers besides other agriculture inputs due to which the agonies of farmers have increased manifold."
The unitary structure of governance in the country has given birth to a number of problems, the Punjab CM added.
He said that due to "non-remunerative" MSP and escalating costs of agricultural inputs, farming has no longer remained a profitable venture. Badal said that due to such "ill-conceived policies, the hard working farmers of the state was under reeling under heavy debt of more than Rs 32,000 crore adding that as per the figures of union government more than 2.90 lakh farmers across the country have been forced to commit suicide."
He said the setting up of a "genuine federal structure in the country was the need of hour to fulfill the cardinal ideas of justice, equality and liberty enshrined in the constitution by our great freedom fighters and leaders". Badal said that to provide world class treatment to cancer patients, an ultra modern hospital on the lines of Tata Cancer hospital Mumbai would come up soon at Medicity for which the state government has already allocated 50 acres of land.
Badal said Punjab government has embarked on an ambitious programme of cleaning of the rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ghaggar at a cost of about Rs 2,500 crore by ensuring facilities of proper drainage and safe drinking water with the installation of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) as well as Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in 44 towns along these rivers in the state.
Earlier, the Chief Minister inspected the parade and took a salute during an impressive march past by 19 contingents of Punjab Police, Punjab Home Guards, Punjab Forest Guards, NCC, Bharat Scouts and Guides besides the Punjab Police band and other school bands. Students of local schools presented a colorful programme, including Bhangra, Gidha, Group Dance, PT show and group singing.
On the occasion, Badal honoured freedom fighters for their valuable contribution to the country. Badal gave tri-cycles to physically-challenged persons and honoured eminent personalities from different walks of life for their outstanding services towards the society.