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Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday digitally flagged off a fleet of ambulances and construction of 750 rural stadiums/playgrounds, besides witnessing the signing of an MoU for conferring ownership rights on economically weaker sections, thus paving the way for further development and progress of the state.

The MoU was signed between the Local Government Department and Centre for Policy Research, while the ambulances were flagged off in Patiala, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

The 750 stadiums, being taken up for development at a cost of Rs. 105 crore in rural areas, will help channelize the energy of the youth in a constructive manner, under the state government’s rural transformation strategy and Tandarust Punjab Mission, said the Chief Minister. The government has set a target of minimum five stadiums per block to be completed in 2020-21. Captain Amarinder said the new stadiums villages should be named after eminent sportspersons so as to inspire youth to excel in sports at national and international levels. Sports and Youth Affairs Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi said the stadiums would help strengthen the state’s sports infrastructure.

The initiative is part of the Smart Village Campaign launched in 2019, under which 19132 works with a total cost of Rs. 835 crores were taken up for 2019-20 (Phase -1). The projects under the campaign include Renovation of Ponds, Street lights, Parks, Gymnasiums, Community Halls, Drinking Water Supply, Model Anganwadi Centers, Smart Schools and Solid Waste Management are the integral part the campaign.

The Chief Minister further pointed out that to commemorate the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, 550 plants per village, with as many as 72 lakh saplings, were planted across the state, thereby increasing the overall green cover of the State. Around 24000 Van Mitras have been appointed.

The second phase has been launched at a total outlay of Rs. 2500 crore for 2020-22, under which a total of 48910 works have been taken up.

While digitally flagging off four ambulances each for Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar, the Chief Minister thanked the Zee Entertainment Group for donating these ambulances, which would augment the health infrastructure of the State, especially amid Covid-19 pandemic. Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said these ambulances would help augment the existing fleet of 400 ambulances currently available with the government hospitals. He further said that the state government has approved procurement of 100 more BLS ambulances to further strengthen the fleet.

Meanwhile, the MoU inked digitally between the Local Government Department, Punjab, and Centre for Policy Research (CPR), Odisha, in the presence of the Chief Minister, will help push the implementation of the Punjab Slum Dwellers Proprietary Act, framed in April, 2020. The MoU was inked by the Principal Secretary Local Government Ajoy Kumar Sinha and the President of CPR Yamini Aiyyer.

The Chief Minister said it would help bestow ownership rights on the people belonging to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) on the land they live. It will also ensure various amenities, such as sewerage, clean drinking water, electricity, drainage and road connectivity, to the 14 lakh slum dwellers of the urban areas of state through technical knowhow by the CPR. The ownership certificates would help the slum dwellers in procuring bank loans and would also serve as address proof, said the chief minister.

Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra assured the Centre for Policy Research that the State Government would render all necessary assistance and cooperation for effective implementation of the MoU.

PPCC President Sunil Jakhar and PYC chief Brinder Singh Dhillon were also present at the virtual programmes, along with several top officials.

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