Thursday, August 21, 2003

Multi-crore scheme for Dalits in Punjab

PATIALA AUG. 20. The Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab here today launched a Rs 500 crore scheme to provide latrines to ten lakh families of Dalits and other weaker sections of society to mark 59th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Launching the ``Rajiv Gandhi Pendu Jan Sehat Kalyan Yojna'' here, the Chief Minister said that Rs 142 crores had been allocated for the current year when about two lakh toilets would be constructed in beneficiary individual houses free of cost. The scheme would be completed in three years, he said.

He criticised the former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, for having opposed the Rajiv-Longowal accord alleging that his predecessor was never interested in the signing of the accord. Paying tributes to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, whose death anniversary also falls today, Capt. Singh said that, but for leaders like Mr. Badal, peace could have returned to Punjab earlier.

Talking to reporters Capt. Singh said that the government proposes to launch an ``Aashirwaad'' scheme for the girls. The details would be worked out soon, he said adding that the launching of this scheme and other welfare measures would depend on availability of funds.

Those present included Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who said there were no differences within the party leadership.

Source: The Hindu, August 21, 2003

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