Chandigarh, Feb 29 (UNI) Punjab Governor Gen (retd) S F Rodrigues described Punjab as ''an oasis of peace'', despite the ''grave provocations'' by some ''self-styled religious chiefs'', to hurt the religious sentiments of others by dressing like the ''great Gurus''.
''Punjab is the most peaceful state in the country'', the Governor said while addressing the state Legislative Assembly on the opening day of the Budget Session here today.
He made it clear that maintenance of peace and law and order would be given equal priority, considering the serious threat being posed to peace and communal harmony in other parts of the country.
In this context he also referred to naxalite violence and threats to expatriates in some states which were a threat to the national fabric.
Referring to violence against women in some parts of the country, the Governor said fortunately Punjab stands out as ''an oasis of peace and civilized behaviour amidst all this madness''. He made clear that his government would not pursue the policy of political vendetta.
Turning to the fiscal health of the state, Gen Rodrigues said the government was fully committed to pull the state out of the financial morass and once again put it back on the path of progress.
New, bold and path breaking steps have been taken to launch Punjab into the next higher orbit of integrated and inclusive growth and development, he added.
Referring to agriculture, the Governor said that steps had been taken for diversification to break the wheat-paddy cycle and propagate alternate crops like cotton and maize. The area under maize increased to 1.59 lakh hectare and the productivity increased to over 34 quintals per hectare while the area under cotton went upto 6.19 lakh hectare this season, he added.
The Governor in his address also referred to the National Horticulture Mission, the realignment of canals and the stress being laid on dairy farming and fisheries to increase the income of the farmers. He also mentioned the steps being taken to improve the infrastructure in the state and introduction of Mass Rapid Transport System for Mohali.
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