Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said the Punjab goverment would once again take up the issue of “safe and prompt release” of 39 Punjabis trapped in Iraq with the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre. The Chief Minister said from the last few months the SAD-BJP government had been consistently taking up this matter with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and now again he had asked the Union Food Processing Minister and SAD’s Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal and other Akali MPs to pursue the matter with the Centre.”We are making strenuous efforts to bring back the Punjabis from Iraq safely by regularly keeping a liaison with the Centre,” Badal told reporters here on the sidelines of his Sangat Darshan programme of the Lambi segment.Badal said that besides taking up the issue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, he was regularly in touch with the special envoy of the Centre in Iraq over the matter. “The state government is extremely worried for the sons of the soil trapped in Mosul city of Iraq and no stone is being left unturned for ensuring their safe return to their motherland,” he said.The Chief Minister claimed that being an international affair there was limited scope of the state government in this matter and only Union Government was competent to pursue this issue with their counterparts in Iraq.He further said that on its part the Centre was also trying its level best to evacuate the stranded Punjabis in the strife-torn Iraq and hoped all these steps would bear fruit. Replying to another query, Badal said the state government was making all efforts to eradicate the menace of cancer from state.He said the setting up of the Homi Bhabha Cancer Treatment and Research Center at Mullanpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh was a right step towards this direction. Badal said the state government has already made elaborate arrangements to provide state-of-the-art treatment to cancer patients in the government medical colleges at Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot. He further said the state government had also initiated a cashless treatment scheme for the patients besides making efforts to provide subsidized medicines to them.Earlier addressing the gatherings at the villages of Singhanwala, Fatuhiwala, Mithdi, Gaggad, Badal, Mehna and Bhaagu, Badal bemoaned that due to the escalating costs of agriculture inputs and squeezing margins of profit, farming was no longer a profitable venture. He impressed upon farmers the need to adopt allied agriculture activities like dairy farming, fishery, piggery, and others in order to supplement their income.

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Punjab government to take up issue of release of 39 Punjabis in Iraq