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Manmohan for campaign against female foeticide
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Satguru Jagjit Singh honours Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a rosary after the inauguration of the Satguru Partap Singh Apollo Hospital in Ludhiana on Friday.
Satguru Jagjit Singh honours Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a rosary after the inauguration of the Satguru Partap Singh Apollo Hospital in Ludhiana on Friday.   Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmad

Ludhiana, September 23
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today gave a clarion call for a mass movement for the protection of the girl child, especially in Punjab, where the sex ratio was skewed. He also laid emphasis on the need to go in for preventive medicine in a big way so that the emphasis on healthcare was on prevention rather than treatment.

The PM was on his maiden visit to the city today to inaugurate Satguru Partap Singh Apollo Hospital in the city. He formally unveiled a plaque on the occasion in the presence of Satguru Jagjit Singh, the present chief of the sect. Present on the dais were Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, Namdhari darbar president H.S. Hanspal and Dr Parthap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals.

In his address, the PM said it was sad that the people today have forgotten the teachings of the Sikh Gurus on according the highest respect for women. The declining sex ratio was a serious and grave matter and hence, totally unacceptable to us. No country could develop by neglecting half its population, he emphasised.

I want that the people of this prosperous state to start a campaign against female foeticide. We have seen that legislation is of little use if there is no social sanction against this evil practice. I also urge the doctors to exhibit a professional resolve to curb this practice, he added.

Dr Singh also dwelled on the need to have a rethink on the medical sector. While hospitals are needed, there was also the need for going in for preventive medicine in a big way. The emphasis should be to prevent the outbreak of disease rather than to raise hospitals to control the diseases later on. For this even a elementary step like providing clean drinking water to the people could go a long way in achieving this objective, he stressed.

He revealed that his government had recently launched the National Rural Health Mission which aims to provide accessible, affordable, accountable and effective primary healthcare, especially to the poor and vulnerable sections of society. Besides this, we were also urging private organisations and religious sects and personalities to contribute towards building medical care infrastructure in the country, he said.

Significantly, the PM chose to maintain silence on the release of grants for completing many important and pending projects in the state. He, however, asked the CM to make full use of various Central schemes to benefit the people of the border state.

Earlier, Capt Amarinder Singh in his brief address urged the PM to release some much needed grants to complete various prestigious projects in the state. He also said more grants should be made available for the urban renewal projects if we were to attract more investment in the state.

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Amarinders tea party for PM cancelled
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
A high-profile tea party to be hosted tomorrow by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and other guests stands cancelled. However, the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister had a one -to -one meeting here this evening at the Raj Bhavan.

Informed sources said the evening tea party had been cancelled on the instructions of the Congress high command, which opined that the impression would go around that both Capt Amarinder Singh and the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, seemed to be competing with each other to play host to the dignitary.

The tea party was to be held at the Punjab Bhavan here at 5.30 pm.

Now, it appears that the PM would use that time to hold meetings with eminent persons, including industrialists and others. The CM's tea party was scheduled to be a high-profile affair as the Chief Ministers of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir were to attend the same. Besides, a host of Ministers, MLAs, and bureaucrats were to attend.

Sources said the party high command advised that the Chief Minister and Mr Dullo should concentrate on the workers' meeting to be addressed by the Prime Minister at the Punjab Congress Bhavan here in the afternoon. In fact, Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Dullo spent about one hour together at the Congress Bhavan this evening planning out the details. The CM went around to see the arrangements made at the Congress Bhavan.

Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder Singh raised various issues in the meeting with the Prime Minister. According to sources, he asked about the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and also the extension of the Kolkata-Delhi specialised rail corridor till Amritsar. Likewise, he also asked the linking of Amritsar with the super highway from Delhi. The issue of bus service between Nankana Sahib (Pakistan) and Lahore was also discussed.

Sources said beside the meeting, Capt Amarinder Singh also travelled with the PM in his car to discuss various political issues. The issue of setting up a gas-based thermal plant and provision of recurring cost to run the Beant Singh Memorial Medical Institute at Jalandhar was also taken up with the PM. Sources said the CM would discuss some other issues with the PM tomorrow at the Congress Bhavan in the presence of senior party leaders.

Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will be received by five presidents of block units of the Congress party at the Punjab Congress Bhavan. A decision in this regard has been taken by the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo. Even Mr Dullo will stand behind the block presidents to welcome the Prime Minister to the party office.

Sources said this decision had been taken by Mr Dullo to prove that what mattered him most were the party leaders, who were the backbone of the party at the lowest level.

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