May 04, 2016 06:05 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Former Punjab Chief Minister and PPCC President, Capt. Amarinder Singh, has offered to provide NRI Punjabi doctors, specially psychiatrists and therapists, infrastructure to set up de-addiction centers within the existing government hospitals in all major cities of Punjab, once Congress is voted to power in the state. Addressing a large gathering of Punjabi diaspora from Central Califonia at Fresno on Tuesday, Capt. Amarinder urged the NRI doctors to work in partnership with him for the rehabilitation of lakhs of drug-addicted Punjab’s youths. “We would provide you with infrastructure in the existing government hospitals in Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar and all other facilities so that you don’t need to waste time in constructing buildings and clinics”, he said adding that all he needed from them was their expertise for the rehabilitation of Punjabi youths. Regretting that Punjab only has 11 psychiatrists on role, Capt. Amarinder said counselling is a major part of de-addiction process and psychiatrists and therapists have a crucial role in treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders of addicts. “We need your help to get our youth back in the mainstream”, he said.Capt. Amarinder said he had a very fruitful discussion with a group of Fresno based Punjabi NRI doctors, who were willing to help, without even charging any money, but were apprehensive of the red tape and lengthy formalities required to start such operations. He said he had assured them that if Congress were voted to power, they would face no such problems. Responding to questions, Capt. Amarinder said he would have a three-pronged strategy to stop sale and distribution of drugs in Punjab. “Firstly we would take strictest action against manufacturers and distributors of synthetic drugs and if needed, we would involve the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities to break their backs”, he said adding that this all would done within the first four weeks of his government. He said he would also push for formulation of a comprehensive National Drug Policy to end ambiguity of state laws that allow growth and distribution of psychotropic drugs in some states. “Finally I would also pursue with the centre for restricting the posting tenures of BSF personnel at Pak borders to one year, so as to mitigate any chances of them forming a nexus with Pak Rangers for facilitating drug smuggling”, he said.When asked as to how he proposes to deal with corruption in Punjab, Capt. Amarinder said during the first session on the assembly, his government would enact a strong Lokpal Act, under which the Lokpal would have the independence to take suo moto cognizance of reports and complaints of corruption against anyone - from Chief Minister and downwards. Making an emotional appeal to the judiciary in India, Capt. Amarinder Singh said the Supreme Court, which is due to deliver its judgement on the presidential reference on Punjab Termination of Agreements Act (PTAA), should first assess on its own whether Punjab has enough water to share with others or not. “An adverse judgement on PTAA, which cancelled all water sharing agreements with neighbouring states, would be disastrous for Punjab, as 9 lakh acres of land in Malwa would go dry. This would lead to a major law and order problem”, he said. When asked what stand does the Congress high command have on the SYL issue, Capt. Amarinder said, “this matter concerns Punjab and we would fight it on our own”. He said expecting the Congress high command to have any stand on the issue is unjustified, as the party has interests in other sates too. Replying to a question on the controversy over the conversion of Khalsa College into a University, Capt. Amarinder said his party would never allow this. “Khalsa College is a historic and a heritage institution and if the Badals convert it into a university, his government would repeal the Act”, he said amidst chairs from a large number of Khalsa college alumni who were present at the interaction.

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