Amritsar : Reiterating firm commitment of state government to safeguard the interests of the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Tuesday vehemently raised the issues of the state during the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council (NZC) meeting chaired by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
At the very outset the Chief Minister welcomed the Union Home Minister and the Chief Ministers of the other states on behalf of the Government and the people of Punjab. Profusely thanking the Ministry of Home Affairs for choosing this sacred land to organize the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council, he said that this is a sacred city, which is deeply revered by one and all, in the annals of history, where more than one lakh devotees from all over the world pay homage daily to seek peace and solace. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the city was a trade hub in the past and with the concerted efforts of the state government it will be very soon our gateway to the markets of Central Asia and beyond.
Punjab Chief Minister said that the hardworking and brave Punjabis had closely witnessed numerous pages of history unfolding on this sacred land of five rivers. He said that besides being the nation’s food bowl, Punjab also has a distinction of being the sword arm of the country and its people are well known all over the world for their courage, resilience and spirit of enterprise. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that NZC is an excellent platform to raise the level of interstate cooperation for our economic development as it is in our interest to sit together and explore the best possibilities of socio-economic development in the region, which is otherwise geographically disadvantaged, being landlocked and with hostile borders.
Batting for need of a genuine federal structure in the country, the Chief Minister said that the need of more financial arid political power to the states has been felt across the entire spectrum of political opinion. He said that there is a wide consensus, cutting across party lines, that the state governments need to be given much greater operational freedom in choosing and financing their developmental priorities. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that federalism remains one of the basic pillars of our Constitution but unfortunately, there has been a trend towards centralization of authority during the past 75 years. “Everybody knows that the state governments are in a much better position to understand, address and solve the problems of their people, at the cutting edge” he added.