‘We must protect our democratic values’

Health Minister Sidhu unfurls Tricolour in city; opens 66-kW power grid at AIIMS

‘We must protect our democratic values’

Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu unfurls the national flag during the Republic Day celebrations at Multipurpose Stadium in Bathinda on Sunday. photo: Vijay kumar

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 27

The 71st Republic Day was celebrated with patriotic fervour at Multipurpose Sports Stadium here on Sunday. Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu presided over the function as the chief guest who unfurled the national flag.

Cultural activities and contingents of the Punjab Police and the NCC wing enthralled the audience during the event. Achievers from different walks of life were felicitated during the function. The Health Minister, along with Deputy Commissioner B Srinivasan and SSP Nanak Singh, took the guard of honour.

While addressing the gathering at the stadium, Sidhu said, “On this historic day, I pay my sincerest respects to all the martyrs who laid down their lives for the freedom of the country and all members of the Constitution committee, including chief architect of the Constitution Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Secularism and democratic values are enshrined in the Constitution of our nation and it should be our main duty to protect those values.”

Talking about the public welfare schemes of the state government, he said, “The state government has launched various public welfare schemes for every section of society with emphasis on the underprivileged section of society.”

He appreciated the Bathinda Police for their efforts to manage vehicular movement in the city. The Health Minister lauded the initiative of growing medicinal plants in government schools in the district. “As many as 45.89 lakh beneficiaries have been included under the ambit of Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana who can avail medical services at 206 government health centres/hospitals and 475 private hospitals. Under the scheme, 2,330 heart patients have taken benefits, 3,522 elderly patients got their knee replacements and 2,066 cancer patients availed of free medical treatment so far. Besides, the state government has waived off loans to the tune of 4,736 crore for 5.83 lakh small-scale and marginal farmers. The loan waiver scheme will continue and in the next phase, we would achieve the set target,” added Sidhu.

During the function, the Health Minister distributed tricycles and sewing machines to needy people and also felicitated widows of freedom fighters. More than 2,000 students from different schools performed cultural activities. The contingents of the Punjab Police, the Punjab Police Women Wing, the Punjab Home Guards, the NCC, scouts and guides took out a march past and took the guard of honour. Tableaux symbolising rich cultural heritage of Punjab and the Malwa region and awareness of various social issues remained the main attractions during the function. Later, the Health Minister inaugurated 66-kW power grid at the Bathinda AIIMS.

The 71st Republic Day was celebrated with much fanfare by children and the staff members of DPS, Bathinda.

The chief guests of the event were Amrit Varsha Sethi, a philanthropist and member of Inner Wheel Club, and social activist Amrit Sethi, a pioneer of Bathinda cycling group and renowned eye specialist. The guests of honour were Vandana Jee and Tanmay.

On the day, various cultural events were presented by students of Shiksha Kendra, a school run by DPS for underprivileged children. Students exhibited extraordinary talents in various activities such as group song, speech and dances. All eyes were moist when the children presented a short choreography on the life and sacrifice of Indian Soldiers.

The chief guest said, “As citizens, we all must undertake the responsibility to liberate our minds from unnecessary evils and by working as a unit to preserve, respect our Constitution as that will finally show how much we understand the essence of a Republic nation.”

Faculty members and doctors, including assisting staff members, at the Bathinda AIIMS and Advanced Cancer Institute, Bathinda, also celebrated the Republic Day by unfurling the national flag on Sunday. Students and faculty members of Central University of Punjab also celebrated the 71st Republic Day on its main campus at Ghudda with great zeal and patriotic fervour. At the start of the programme, Vice-Chancellor prof RK Kohli unfurled the national flag.

On the occasion, everyone sung the national anthem and after this, the entire university campus echoed with patriotic songs. After the flag-hoisting ceremony and the inspection of the parade, the VC extended the Republic Day greetings to everyone.

To commemorate the day, a cultural programme was also organised wherein university students showcased their beautiful performances of patriotic songs, poetry recitations and dance on the nationalistic theme.

Students and teachers of Silver Oaks School also celebrated the Republic Day with patriotic fervour. Students participated in various activities on the theme of patriotism to mark the day. The function concluded after everyone participated in the national anthem.

Dy Speaker unfurls Tricolour in Faridkot

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti unfurled the national flag on the Republic Day at Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

Lauding Punjabis’ contribution towards the national freedom struggle movement, Bhatti said though the state had only 1.6 per cent geographical area of the country, the participation of its people in the freedom struggle was up to 80 per cent in the country.

The roads leading to the venue and those around Nehru Stadium were sealed by cops who allowed entry to selected vehicles. As it was a sunny day, a large number of people flocked to the function.

Facts About Republic Day

  • Celebrating Independence Day on January 26! Sounds strange, but in the 1930s, freedom fighters used to celebrate “Independence Day” after the declaration of Purna Swaraj on January 26, 1930.
  • After India’s Independence on August 15, 1947, leaders wanted January 26 to be remembered in history as well. Therefore, the day was made to coincide with the day of Swaraj.
  • The first Republic Day was celebrated on January 26, 1950.
  • Prior to Republic Day, India followed the Government of India Act, 1935, which was compiled and laid down by the British government.
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the first President of India on January 26, 1950, at 10.24 am. During the first Republic Day, the President of India was greeted by a 31-gun salute.
  • From 1950-54, Republic Day was celebrated at Irwin Stadium (now called National Stadium), Red Fort, Ramlila Grounds and Kingsway. The first R-Day parade was held at Rajpath in 1955.
  • A Christian song, Abide With Me, is played during the Republic Day parade. It is believed to be one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs.
  • A majority of the national awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan and Kirti Chakra are awarded during the Republic Day ceremony.
  • The Indian Air Force came into existence as an independent body on Republic Day. Prior to this, the Air Force was a controlled body.

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