Free Press Journal

Declare Guru Gobind Singh Marg as National Highway: Punjab CM


New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today met Union minister Nitin Gadkari and requested him to declare the remaining 1786.12-km stretch of the Sri Anandpur Sahib-Talwandi Sabo-Nanded Guru Gobind Singh Marg as National Highway and carry out its four-laning.

At a meeting with Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari, Badal said the route also has historical significance as tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh undertook his last journey from Sri Anandpur Sahib to Talwandi Sabo and finally to Nanded in Maharashtra on this road.

The Chief Minister said 1294.35-km stretch of this road has been declared as National Highway and urged him to give the same status to the remaining 1786.12 km also. He said the state government had already finalised the entire route Guru Gobind Singh took after intense discussions and consultations with eminent historians and Sikh scholars. Earlier in the day, Badal met Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Birender Singh and requested him for early release of a Rs 226.82-crore project to address the problem of drinking water contamination in the state.
He said the state government had already submitted a detailed proposal envisaging special allocation to tackle presence of uranium and other heavy metals in water in many areas. Badal said a comprehensive project of Rs 226.82 crore for installation of 1,829 water treatment plants in 1,971 habitations was submitted to the Centre in October, 2014.

He requested Singh for early sanction and release of requisite funds so that people of the state could be saved from the curse of deadly water-borne diseases. He also sought higher allocation of funds under National Rural Drinking Water Project (NRDWP) and asked the ministry to change the existing norms of allocation so as people residing in low lying areas could be covered under this scheme.

Badal also urged the Ministry to hike the MGNREGA wage rate from existing Rs 201 to Rs 300 per day in wake of higher prevailing market wage rate in Punjab. Under Indra Awaas Yojna, the Chief Minister demanded to enhance the assistance from existing Rs 70,000 to Rs 2 lakh as the amount allocated to beneficiaries under the scheme was insufficient to construct their houses.

Badal also met Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and sought early clearance of various pending irrigation projects of Rs 2943.46 crore, including the re-lining of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeders at a cost of Rs 2125.69 crore.

Pleading for expeditious clearance of various irrigation projects awaiting Ministry’s nod, Badal proposed a Rs 284.98 crore project of Swan River Flood Management besides seeking funds of Rs 161.04 crore for execution of flood protection project under river management activities and water related to border areas.

He also sought approval for the channelization of River Ghaggar by the Ghaggar Standing Committee involving a cost of Rs 135.63 crore. He also sought release Rs 46.12 crore for flood protection works along River Beas under Flood Management Project.