Govt. committed to uplift dalits, says Badal

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Jalandhar, Oct 26 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister today said his Government was fully committed to uplift dalits, scheduled castes and backward classes who were allegedly "neglected" during the previous Congress Government in the state.

Addressing a mammoth gathering at a state level function organised to commemorate the Parkash Utsav of Maharishi Valmiki, he called upon people to follow the teachings of the Maharishi in order to carve out an ideal and harmonious society and strengthen the bonds of compassion, love, peace and brotherhood.

Referring to the poverty rate in the country, Mr Badal said that it was an agony that 60 % of the total population in the country was earning just Rs 20 per day.

He said that the SAD-BJP government had chalked out a comprehensive programme under which various welfare schemes were being implemented with provisions of Rs 15,000 for the wedding of dalit girl and five marlas plots alongwith financial assistance for construction of houses.

He said under the Special Component Plan, a provision of Rs 1250 crore had been proposed for the year 2007-08 to benefit approximately 59,000 sc families living below poverty line.

Referring to the problems being phased by the Valmik community, Mr Badal said that he was fully aware of their problems.

He asked the Local Government Minister to take immediate steps to abolish Mohalla Sanitation Committees within 10 days and direct the municipal corporations to make the payments to the workers through cheques to avoid irregularities.

The Chief Minister announced to establish an award of Rs 5 lakh in the name of Maharishi Valmiki which will be given every year to one poet of any language viz. Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu or English selected by a committee.

He said that appropriate action would be taken to provide due representation to the Valmik Samaj in the government. He said the state government would chalk out a comprehensive plan for development and beautification of Sri Ram Tirath at Amritsar .

Mr Badal announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary quota for the construction of a Bhawan at Jalandhar to be used for marriage purposes by the poor free of cost.

He also announced a grant Rs 12 crore for cleanness of slums in the city. He said that one Adarsh school would also be established at Jalandhar to impart quality education free of cost to the poor and intelligent students. A skill centre would be set up for imparting skill training to the youth.

Earlier, the Chief Minister paid obeisance to Maharishi Valmiki and lighted the ceremonial lamp and released a CD on the Maharishi.

UNI

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