Naveen S Garewal, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 29. The Vidhan Sabha today passed a resolution welcoming the release of Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan. The House further adopted a resolution urging the Centre to again take up the issue of release of death-row convict Sarabjit Singh, also lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail.
The House asked the Centre to take steps for the release of several prisoners of war (POWs) and other Indians languishing in Pakistan’s jails due to legal impediments.
As Zero Hour started, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal announced that Parkash Singh Badal wanted to introduce a resolution. Badal said it was a moment of great joy that Surjeet Singh, who had spent 30 years in a Pakistani jail, had been released.
He appealed that Sarabjit Singh too should be released and asked the Centre to take up the issue with Pakistan.
The resolution pointed out that some organisations in Pakistan had also spoken up for Sarabjit. Rana Sodhi of the Congress said Surjeet required financial help which should be announced today. To this, Badal said he would ask the Deputy Commissioner to consult the family on the issue.
Sunil Jakhar, CLP Leader requested the Speaker to extend zero hour as it was the last day of the Budget session and many new MLAs wanted to speak. Aruna Chaudhry of the Congress highlighted how liquor was being sold from ration depots in Dinanagar. “As against 75 legal vends, 163 are functioning, many from grocery stores,” she said.
Kang raised the issue of Animal Husbandry Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike’s PA being booked in a Rs 1.5 crore graft case. He demanded the resignation of the minister. Ashwani Sekri spoke of the poor economic status of border areas and demanded a special Bill be presented in the House to protect the youth of the border areas from drugs. Virsa Singh Valtoha of the SAD seconded the suggestion.
Jakhar questioned the government on water cess being collected in Abohar. He pointed out how water supply centres were closing down on account of non-payment of electricity bills, causing hardship to residents.
Legislator Mohammad Siddique rendered a patriotic song “Bharat hai vaang mundri…..vich nag Punjab”, inviting criticism from SAD legislators who said the House had been reduced to a “singing platform” as the Congress had no agenda.