After over 18 months of wait, viewers gallery finally gets inaugurated. Though the viewers gallery had been built about one-and-a-half years ago and could not find any VIP to inaugurate it, ultimately it was formally inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday at Joint Check Post Hussainiwala. Interestingly, this viewers gallery had been frequently used by the visitors since it had been constructed without any inauguration due to one or the other reasons. Captain Amarinder Singh also joined Rajnath Singh in paying tributes to the great martyrs of Hussainiwala, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. It is to be mentioned here that this viewers gallery had been allotted for construction at the cost of about Rs 16.39 crore and construction had started on January 1, 2012, was completed in 2015 but could not be formally inaugurated till on Tuesday.Interacting with media during this visit, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for full Central government support to the state’s development programmes for the border areas, including a proposed special package for the region. The Chief Minister later discussed various issues concerning the development and progress of the border areas, to which Rajnath said the Centre was committed to extend all possible help to the people of these areas and resolve their issues on priority. Pointing out that Punjab had a 553 km-long sensitive international border comprising the districts of Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Fazilka, the Chief Minister told Rajnath that his government was considering a special package to create new social and industrial infrastructure, reserve jobs in government and seats in selected educational institutions for the residents. The new industrial policy of Punjab also provided for special incentives to these areas, he added. Seeking Central government’s support in the region’s development, Captain Amarinder urged the Minister to provide a special one-time infrastructure development package for improving the state’s border areas. He also called for acquisition of land lying beyond the border fence by the Union government, as the same could never be optimally used for agriculture due to security restrictions by the Border Security Force (BSF). Till these pieces of land are acquired, the farmers should be compensated for loss of their livelihood due to border fencing, he added.
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