Chandigarh, October 5, 2016: Schools in border areas of Punjab reopened on Wednesday, although with less than 50 percent attendance, officials said.
Reports from schools in the six border districts of Amritsar, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran and Fazilka said that only 35-45 per cent students attended the schools on Wednesday.
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The main reason for this was that the Punjab government, which ordered the reopening of the schools, has still not said anything about the villages within 10 km of the International Border with Pakistan that were ordered to be evacuated on September 29.
“Children studying in schools have left the villages with their families and moved to safer locations. How can they be expected to attend classes? Only children from families which have not moved out or are living nearby came to attend classes today,” a teacher in Attari village in Amritsar said.
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Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh on Wednesday asked Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to explain why the residents of the border areas could not stay in their homes when schools were being reopened there.
“What is the point in opening the schools when you are forcing people to evacuate (their homes)? You are clearly losing it,” Amarinder said in a statement here.
He said that “the state government’s decision to open the schools in the border areas clearly vindicated the Congress’ stand that the Akali-BJP government was just whipping up war hysteria in the border areas for its political ends”.
“Who will go to the schools when there is nobody staying in those areas. In fact, neither schools should have been closed nor evacuations carried out in the first instance,” he said.
The Punjab government had on Tuesday ordered that schools in the border belt of the state should be reopened from Wednesday.
“All schools in border belt will open from tomorrow (Wednesday). These had been closed due to security reasons,” Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said on Tuesday.
The schools, which were situated within 10 km of the international border with Pakistan, had been ordered closed on Thursday last week following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) to destroy terrorist launch pads.
The Punjab government, based on directions from the Union Home Ministry, had also ordered the evacuation of villages in the border districts.
Though thousands of people were evacuated, many refused to move out of their homes in the border villages, saying that they had to tend to their properties, crops and cattle.
The evacuation order affected nearly 1,000 border villages and a population of over 400,000.
Punjab shares a 553-km-long International Border with Pakistan. (IANS)
Chandigarh, Sep 11, 2017: Punjab’s opposition Akali Dal on Sunday said that latest findings of PGIMER survey listing drug addiction in the state at less than a per cent had yet again nailed the “anti-Punjab conspiracy” of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and demanded they apologise to the people.
“The latest comprehensive survey which was carried out in all 22 districts as well as 22 villages in each district, had exposed the anti-Punjab conspiracy of Rahul Gandhi and his team as well as that of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal,” SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a statement here.
“Both leaders and their parties should now tell Punjabis why they branded them as drug addicts and tender an unconditional apology to the people of the state.”
Claiming that the “entire conspiracy was hatched to counter the development narrative of the previous SAD-BJP government”, Badal said though the Congress had succeeded in its goal of achieving power in Punjab, it had caused incalculable damage to its people and its economy.
“Both Congress and AAP played with the lives of the youth and made them virtually unhireable. The image distortion also dented the image of Punjab and Punjabis worldwide,” he said.
Highlighting Rahul Gandhi’s “nefarious role in this sordid chapter of Punjab politics”, Badal said he was “definitely the villain-in-chief”.
“Rahul uttered an utter lie to reap political mileage for his flagging party by claiming in October 2012 at a NSUI function in Chandigarh that 70 per cent of the state’s youth were drug addicts.
“This despite the fact that he knew well that he was reading out a sample survey of drug addicts of which youth formed a big share,” he said.
“During the Punjab assembly campaign this year, he insisted he was speaking the truth and even had the gall to ask Punjabis to admit they were drug addicts. Such behaviour coming from the chosen scion of the Gandhi dynasty is shameful,” he added.
A survey done by a team of doctors and researchers of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state.
Badal said that Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal and “his gang of outsiders had also tried to doom the future of the youth by claiming 40 lakh youth were drug addicts”.
“The PGIMER report puts the entire number of addicts in the state at 2.7 lakh. Other reports, included that conducted by AIIMS, had come out with even lower figures than this,” he added.
A detailed survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi had put the drug addiction at 0.84 per cent.
“The Punjab government also got a dope test conducted on 3.76 lakh youth who presented themselves for police recruitment. The test, which was conducted by the Baba Farid Health Sciences University, saw only 1.27 per cent candidates testing positive,” Badal said, citing a survey done during the Akali government last year. (IANS)