Chandigarh, March 23 : The Punjab government on Friday launched a campaign to wipe out the drugs menace in the state to mark the martyrdom day of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh paid tributes to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on Martyrs Day, with a vow to empower the youth and a call to people to join his government’s efforts to wipe out the menace of drugs.
Dedicating the occasion to youth empowerment, he also launched a unique initiative – DAPO (Drug Abuse Prevention Officer) – to engage with government employees and citizens of Punjab in the ongoing fight against drugs.
Amarinder Singh, addressing the state level function at Khatkar Kalan (nearly 85 km from here), the maternal ancestral village of Bhagat Singh, took the DAPO oath and also administered it to other volunteers.
The cabinet ministers simultaneously administered the DAPO oath to volunteers in various district headquarters.
The Chief Minister later told the gathering that the DAPO programme, marking the Youth Empowerment Day, will involve engaging with dedicated volunteers to work in their localities in coordination with the local administration, police and STF (special task force).
He disclosed that more than 4.25 lakh DAPO volunteers had already registered on the DAPO website as part of the campaign and more applications were expected.
“I appeal to one and all to become a part of the anti-drugs campaign of the government. It is the collective responsibility of all to rescue youth from the clutches of drugs, which was destroying future generations. It is important for everyone to support the government in this fight against drugs in the interest of the state’s development and progress,” he added.
Referring to a demand for naming the Mohali International Airport after Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh, Amarinder Singh said the Punjab government had already taken up this issue with the Centre.
The Chief Minister laid a wreath at the statue of Bhagat Singh and paid floral tributes at the memorial of the martyr’s father, Kishan Singh.
Paying his tributes, Punjab Tourism and Culture Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu urged the youth to seek inspiration from their supreme sacrifice to imbibe themselves with the spirit of patriotism.
“Students in schools and colleges and even higher institutes of learning should be brought to the memorial and museum here at Khatkar Kalan to connect them with Punjab’s rich legacy of nationalism and patriotism,” Sidhu said.
Sidhu requested the Chief Minister to formulate a policy for youth, who constitute 56 percent of the state’s population, to provide them with quality education and gainful employment.
Functions were also held at Hussainiwala border in Ferozepur district where the martyrs were cremated during British rule as well as other places across Punjab and Haryana