Punjab which was once a land of prosperity, which was famous for being India’s food bowl and for the bravery of its soldiers, today finds itself in news for all the wrong reasons. Be it the prevalence of drugs, be it terror attacks or be it famers’ protests due to rural distress, Punjab today has become a hub of all troubles. This transformation from being a land of prosperity to a land of trouble is not accidental; it is a direct result of suffering from the worst misrule in the history of independent India.
While the dismal state of affairs is quite evident, the problem in Punjab is much worse than what is commonly understood. We discuss here how the nepotistic mafia rule of Badals has pushed Punjab into deep trouble on virtually all important fronts.
- The land which gave India its soldiers today find its youth’s future under cloud due to growing use of drugs. The menace of drugs is causing large scale health problems among Punjab youth; it is reducing their ability to work (and thus their productivity and earning), is putting these youths under debt, is leading to rising crimes, and is destroying millions of Punjab’s families.
- Many leaders of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance have been caught red handed in the drug trade. They are using drug money to enrich themselves and to fund their election campaign. Specific instances of leaders of ruling alliance caught red handed in drug trades are:
(a) BJP leader Vijay Kumar Kamboj alias Daddi and SAD leader Mahal Singh Rana, arrested by Rajasthan police along with three of their supporters earlier this week with 7.5 kg of poppy husk, were transporting the narcotic into Punjab in July (http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/arrested-bjp-sad-leaders-drug-addicts-rajasthan-cops/3.)
(b) SAD leader and its Amritsar rural unit treasurer Maninder Singh Bittu Aulakh, a close confidante of Ajnala MLA Amarpal Singh Bonny Ajnala was arrested in 2013 in connection with the Jagdish Bhola-led drug racket
(c) Ferozepur BJP district president Jugraj Singh Katora, Ferozepur Yuva Morcha district president Jagpal Singh Sandhu (alias Jimmy), Mallanwala block president Gurcharan Singh and OSD to state BJP chief Kamal Sharma Amrinder Singh Chinna (alias Pothi) were booked on charges of accepting bribe to help persons accused in drugs and fake arms licences cases.
- Even more shocking then the instances of leading party rulers promoting trade is that the Drug trade has got the protection of no one less than Badal’s. Manjitha, the son-in-law of CM and Punjab’s revenue minister, has been named as the mastermind, the kingpin of the drug trade in Punjab.
“Wrestler-turned-drug peddler Jagdish Singh Bhola’s revealed that Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia was also involved in the multi- crore drug trafficking racket. There have been many such drug paddlers who have accepted that it is Manjitha, who provides protection to the drug trade. This alone is so ground enough to boot out the Akalis as in their hunger for money and power they have plunged Punjab youths into drugs.”
Thus, it is abundantly clear that as Badals and Akali are the reason behind Punjab’s drug problem, the drug issue cannot be solved as long as Badals stay in power.
- Modi Government came to power promising to give farmers 1.5 times the cost of production but instead it has reduced the hike in MSP’s even below what UPA used to give. Modi raised the per quintal MSP of Paddy by only Rs 50 while even UPA on an average gave Rs 76 increase during its rule.
- Modi Govt has made life of farmers more difficult by raising excise duties on Diesel,thus not passing on the benefit of reduced crude prices to farmers. Otherwise diesel would have been Rs 9.97 cheaper and would have helped the farmer.
- Agriculture minister Tota Singh ordered purchase of spurious pesticides which led to one of largest loss of cotton crop in Punjab’s history. This scam by Tota Singh has led to loss of many lives. But Badals are protecting Tota Singh despite even the High Court giving adverse observations against Tota Singh because they fear if Tota Singh is jailed he may expose Badals involvement in scams.
- While Delhi govt gave compensation at the rate of Rs 50,000 per hectare Badals gave cheques of Rs 100 and Rs 200 as compensation. Also, Badals didn’t give compensation to many farmers who lost their crop and those who got compensation too had to pay hefty bribe.
- The “corrupt” Badals, busy with looting Punjab, have neglected agricultural research and investment, and this has resulted in stagnation of yields and increased cost of production.
- According to Punjab Government appointed Punjab Finance Commission a shocking 2000 farmers commit suicide every year.
RAMPANT NEPOTISM-A PLUTOCRATIC RULE
- Badals have converted the state into their personal fiefdom. The CM, the deputy CM, the revenue minister, a cabinet minister are all from the Badal family. There can be no greater insult to the youth and people of Punjab, that Akalis can’t find minsters from outside one family. Why should the sons of farmers and shoulders also not get to become ministers? Why should all the hardship be borne by the hardworking Punjabis and all the fruits be enjoyed by the greedy Badal parivar? A joke captures the sorry state perfectly that there is no adult in Badal parivar who is not a minister.
- If Badal have stuffed all important position with their kins, how can other Akali leader be far behind? Whatever positions are left after they have been distributed among Badal parivar are then distributed among sons and daughters of other Akali leaders. Even the selection if IAS the sons of soil are being rejected to give these posts to Akali leaders. A case in point is how Daughter in law of Maluka joined IAS via nomination route.
- Thus Badals have closed whatever little employment was previously available. They are also acting like they own the state of Punjab and can hand over its resources for their personal benefit. Badal’s are the worst sort of crony capitalist India has ever seen. Today, in every business fields — be it cable, be it mining, be it transport, Badals have monopolised business opportunities. They have deliberately made Public services poor to benefit their private businesses which are rivals of these public services (a clear case of conflict of interest).They have also misused the state machinery to provide advantage to their personal businesses .The administration is often fearful to act against the illegal activities of these business as they are owned by Akali leaders. Thus the citizens who has no option but to use these services due to lack of alternatives is freely exploited by these businesses .The helpless citizen has nowhere to go. Following instance proves how this anarchy and loot is all prevalent:
- In Moga, Badal owned orbit bus staff sexually abused a girl and her mother and threw them when they protested. The girl died due to this heart rendering brutality. This incident would not have happened if the law regarding not installing dark films was applied to Badal’s buses. This incident would not have happened if the Orbit staff did not have the arrogance that they could flout law, abuse citizens with immunity as they enjoy protection of Badals. Also the compensation for the mischiefs of Badal companies was payed from state exchequer , while there was no large fine or criminal action taken against the Badals company.
- In December, Akali leader Dhillon-owned Deep Transport mowed down two girls near Ferozepur and Lambi. In Ferozepur, a 10-year-old Dalit girl was heartlessly killed by a bus of Dhillon. But still these buses continue to flout rule and regulation with impunity.
- Manjit Narang who was MD of Punjab Road Transport Corporation was removed because he had turned around the Punjab public transport. Even though this led to citizens getting better and cheeper services, this was hurting Badals’ own interest. So in classic case of how Badal deliberately weaken Public services to benefit their private business, this performing officers was shunted out. The message was loud and clear, any officer who dared to improve Punjab public corporation will be removed. No wonder few officers dare to improve things.
- The current price growth in 2014-15 reduced by nearly half a percentage to 5.32% compared to 5.73 % a year before. More worrying was the performances in agriculture in the state which once gave India its ‘Green Revolution’ – there was a negative growth of 2.36 percentage compared to positive 2.35 % a year before. Thus when the nation witnessed an acceleration of growth to 7.2 % Punjab saw its growth decline to 5.3%,this free fall is strictly due to the misrule of Badals. The fall is even more shocking if one consider that Punjab grew at 10.18% in 2006-07. But within a decade of Badal rule, the once vibrant economy has become totally moribund.
- Factories are closing in Punjab and investment is flowing out. An ASSOCHAM report revealed that investment in Punjab had reduced by 93 % in 8 yrs. “Punjab has failed to lure investors over the years evidently as the new investments attracted by the state was 36,650 crore in 2007-08 which has declined to a meagre Rs 2,600 crore in 2014-15, registering a fall of around 93%”
- While on the one hand economy is nosediving,on the other hand debt is skyrocketing, thus completing the story of economic ruin of Punjab. Punjab has one of the highest total debt, and per capita debt. This has been caused by the fiscally irresponsible behaviour by the Badal Government. The “corrupt” Badals have borrowed recklessly to cover up for their mismanagement and corruption. This has left state in a precarious financial situation where it risks being caught in a debt trap.
- Textile mills are closing down to high VAT and power tariffs (Rs 8 per unit). The high electricity tariff is pushing industries out of Punjab.
- Punjab Government has been bankrupted to such an extent that it does not have the resource to pay even its employees. Leave alone implementing raises suggested by the pay commission ,the Punjab Government is not able to pay the regular salaries too.
- The government has failed completely in providing jobs to the youth of Punjab.
- Badals played with fire by courting Dera Sacha Sauda for votebank politics, despite knowing full well that he had insulted Sikh sentiments. But when faced with an opportunity to gain some votes Badals didn’t think twice about insulting Sikh sentiments.
- Also when the sacred text of Sikhs was defiled, the Punjab Government it is usual ineptness did nothing to find out the culprits.
- To add insult to injury the police which didn’t find those who insulted holy texts for months, fired promptly against unarmed and peaceful crowd protesting to secure Sikh faith.
- The Panj Pyaraas too were not spared by the Badal controlled SGPC.The Panj Pyaraas who tried to protect Sikh religion from corrupt Badals were humiliated and sacked.
Thus on religious front Badals who rose to power by using panthik issues have today become the biggest enemy of Sikh religion. Just like the corrupt mahants used to use Sikh bodies to promote their private interest similarly Badals are also using their control over SGPC to loot the faithful and enrich themselves. Also like the mahants fired against unarmed protesters so have the Badals made police fire against unarmed protesters. But just like the corrupt mahants finally lost so will the corrupt Badals.
COLLAPSE OF ADMINISTRATION AND LAW AND ORDER
- Badals have thoroughly politicised the appointment, so that at every important post only those who are in good books of badals are appointed apart from family members of Akali leaders. This nepotism and favoritism has taken its toll on administration.
- Since Akali leaders are involved in drug trade the officials under them too partake in the crime. This has made the whole state machinery hollow. Those who were supposed to enforce laws have themselves turned into law breakers. The rise in crime is also related with the lawlessness of Badals enterprises.
- Since the state police has been forced into drug trade it has also made it easier for terrorist to attack Punjab. As terror and drugs are closely linked, in fact they are close cousins, you can’t curb one without curbing the other. So it is not a surprise that Punjab is home to most terror incidents.
- Akali leaders have converted police into their personal protection force. When there is critical shortage of Police to safeguard people of Punjab, a large number of police personnel have been diverted to securing Akali leaders and their families. Again it shows that Badals are more concerned with security of their leaders and their family than with the security of the people of the state.
WATER CRISIS AND DESTRUCTIVE POLLUTION
- Punjab is facing an unprecedented water crisis. The overexploitation of ground water is leading to drastic fall in water levels. This is raising cost of getting water for agriculture, reducing yield and also endangering the future of agriculture in a state dependent on the agriculture.
- So when the dip in water levels is such a major challenge one would have expected government to take proactive steps to address the issue. But like in everything else Punjab Govt has been found sleeping on this front too. It has taken no steps to:
(a) promote less water guzzling crops
(b)promote less water consuming techniques
(c) exclude rich farmers from free power scheme
It even failed to establish a Water Regulatory authority.
CRISIS OF HEALTH AND EDUCATION
The educational and health infrastructure is way below what is required. There is shortage of number of health units and schools, also the existing units lack necessary facilities. This is ruining the human development of Punjab, the future of Punjab’s children is suffering because the government is not allocating sufficient funds, is not carrying out necessary academic reforms and is promoting rampant corruption in these departments.
The years of misrule by the corrupt, self-centred Akalis has taken its toll on Punjab on all fronts. Punjab can no longer suffer the same sort of abuse that Badals have subjected it to. There is a urgent need to throw out the Badals to restore Punjab to its former glory. Also the alternative to Badals cannot be Congress which is equally corrupt, hostage of vested interests, involved in all sorts of crime including drugs (its leaders even shamelessly called for legalising addictive substances), is aloof from people and competes with Badal in trying to be more dynastic. The alternative needs to be one where people are once made partner in their governance, where there is a clean leadership, where merit and not birth right is the reason for selection, where dirty religious politics is not used to divert attention from failure to solve people’s problem .Since AAP embodies all these virtues, AAP is uniquely placed to restore Punjab to its lost glory. This more than any other reason is why AAP should and will win a thumping majority in the upcoming state elections. We must vote for AAP, so that hope for Punjab can live and be restored.