Will revive cross-border trade through Attari, focus on healthcare: Gurjeet Singh Aujla : The Tribune India

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THE TRIBUNE INTERVIEW

Will revive cross-border trade through Attari, focus on healthcare: Gurjeet Singh Aujla

Will revive cross-border trade through Attari, focus on healthcare: Gurjeet Singh Aujla

Gurjeet Singh Aujla, MP & Congress candidate from Amritsar



The Tribune Interview: Gurjeet Singh Aujla, MP & Congress candidate from Amritsar

Banking on his performance and credibility during his two-term stint as a Member of Parliament (MP), Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla aims to score a hat-trick from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. He won the 2017 bypoll by nearly 2 lakh votes and then 2019 General Election by one lakh votes. In an interview with GS Paul, he lists his achievements and vision for Amritsar. Excerpts:

How do you see your poll prospects?

My contribution and credibility during my stint as an MP for seven years will pay me dividends. I am set to maintain the Congress’ traditional stronghold on the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

Whom do you see as your competitor?

None. The BJP could not find a local representative, so a parachute candidate, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, was fielded. I may not match him academically or administratively, but he too cannot match the ample experience that I have of gauging the pulse of public at the grassroots level. SAD pick Anil Joshi could hardly deliver during his ministerial term. Only corruption prospered in civic departments in the name of development during his stint as a minister.

AAP candidate Kuldeep Dhaliwal’s debacle is approaching him. AAP knows its failure to deliver on poll promises was exposed within two years, which is why the MC elections were not held. AAP Rajya Sabha members also proved to be dummies.

Amritsar is in dire need of a package under the special economic zone (SEZ) programme for its border belt. The SEZ package announced during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA regime was caught in the official rigmarole. My priority would be to get that package and set up agro-industry in the area.

Do you consider drug menace a major issue?

There are flaws in the system to tackle the problem of drug menace. A combined effort from the Centre and the state government machinery is required to break the supply chain. The government needs to frame laws to fix the accountability of the personnel of a particular police station if drug trade is found flourishing in an area. Similarly, rehabilitation centres need to be set up.

AAP candidate is making superfluous statements. I challenge his claims regarding the eradication of drug abuse by December 31. An AAP MLA has publicly confessed to party’s failure in dealing with the problem of drug abuse. The legislator even named one of the party’s MP, who allegedly has a soft corner for tainted cops. I want to ask what was done by the party in that regard.

Being a border belt, what are the key issues in Amritsar?

Amritsar is in dire need of a package under the special economic zone (SEZ) programme. The SEZ package, which was announced during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA regime, was caught in the official rigmarole, courtesy the then SAD-BJP government. My priority would be to get that package and set up agro-industry in the border area. I will also make efforts for the revival of India-Pakistan trade through the Attari-Wagah border.

Your opponents target you over poor condition of the solid waste management system and Tung Dhab drain?

Though these are state subjects, I have raised these issues in Parliament. But, these could not be resolved due to lack of political will at the level of the state government.

What would you list as your major contributions as a parliamentarian?

I believe connectivity is important for the development of a city. In this direction, I was instrumental in enhancing the frequency of domestic and international flights from the Amritsar airport. A 150-bed state cancer institute has been established at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and I utilised my funds to provide medical equipment, ambulances and modern cleaning machines, and also helped in getting X-ray machines for TB Hospital and ESI Hospital. In the education sector, I raised my voice against shifting the IIM from Amritsar to Malwa belt during the regime of the then SAD-BJP government.

What is your vision for Amritsar if you are re-elected?

I believe the health, education and industry sectors need a lot of attention. The construction of a plant at Vallah to supply purified drinking water to households is under process, but I will expedite it further. I also intend to work on setting up Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education — a project that has been hanging fire for a long time.

#Congress #Lok Sabha


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