Punjab on Thursday leapfrogged into a new era of development and progress with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh launching a slew of milestone welfare projects, including free sanitary pads for high school and college girl students in the state.

Even as he kickstarted the process of the realisation of the dream of owning a home for thousands of slum dwellers, the Chief Minister further powered the state’s digital leap with the rollout of a Rs 75.64 crore Smart Metering project and an ‘e-Daakhil’ portal for e-filing of consumer complaints.

Youth and girls have been earmarked as the beneficiaries of the two other schemes launched virtually by the Chief Minister, dedicated the month of January to the girl child as ‘Dheeyan Di Lohri’ and also paved the way for distribution of 2,500 sports kits to promote health awareness and sports culture among youngsters.

Launching ‘Dheeyan Di Lohri’, the Chief Minister, in a symbolic gesture, blessed five girl children, along with their mothers, with a ‘shagun’ of Rs 5,100 and baby kits for each.

Under the special scheme, a series of events will be held every day across districts, beginning with Mohali district, through the month to mark the occasion of Lohri, which will see congratulatory letters penned and signed by the Chief Minister being handed over to the parents of more than 1.5 lakh girls celebrating their first Lohri this year.

Acceding to the demand of state Congress President Sunil Jakhar, the Chief Minister also announced free sanitary pads to all girl students of high schools and colleges besides those residing in rural areas, especially in slums across the state.

Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Singh Dhillon said this step would inculcate a sense of self confidence among the girls.

Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary said the concluding event of the ‘Dheeiyan Di Lohri’ month would be marked by grand celebrations during a state-level function at Ferozepur where the parents and grandparents of newborn girls would be honoured. – IANS