From captain in school to minister: Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer the man who breathes sports

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With no background of politics in the family, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer who is popularly known as ‘Meet’ in the area had joined India against corruption movement in 2011 and later became a founder member of AAP.

Though he belongs to a farmer family and his father was a sub divisional officer in Punjab state power corporation limited. “Since my childhood, I used to live sports like anything. I have played almost every sport. I used to be sports captain in school and participated in various sports competitions in football, badminton, athletics and cricket. Even now I continue my habit of playing a sport daily .. sometimes I play badminton or cricket and if I don’t get time, I prefer to walk..at times late in the evening, I get off my vehicle 3-4 km ahead of my home and go home walking ..I personally don’t like to go in gym and hence prefer to play.”

Meet Hayer is youngest of his three sisters who all are married and live in Canada and England. A mechanical engineer, Meet said that after completing his degree he was preparing for UPSC when he joined Anna Hazare’s movement and eventually joined politics. In 2017 , he contested his maiden election from Barnala and won by a margin of 2,432 votes and in 2022 this margin increased to more than 38,000.

A day in life: Meet starts his day very early as he goes for walk and starts meeting people at 8 am at his house in Chandigarh or even in Barnala.. at around 10 am , he visits secretariat , goes for field engagements… throughout the day..he tries to keep some time for playing a sport ..sometimes it happens at 7 pm .. sometimes at 10 pm as well.. it depends on the schedule, he tells ..” at times I get free at 2 am as well..but when you have interntion to serve people , a power nap is enough to remain up to work till late,” he tells . Twice a week, he visits his constituency and being a cabinet minister, he does visit various districts of Punjab based on the engagements.”

Work Accomplished: Soon after taking charge as sports minister, we started Khedan Vatan Punjab diyan in which a record 3 lakh participants registered out of which 60,000 had qualified for state tournaments. “We have provided sports equipment to almost every sports complex of Punjab . Over 283 services have been made available on WhatsApp as part of governance reforms,” he tells.

Works in Progress: In higher education,we aim to recruit over 500 teachers in government colleges as they are short staffed. We want to open district libraries so as to inculcate reading habits amongst people . In sports, once again we are trying to revive that sports culture as till 2001 , Punjab used to be number 1 in national games. In governance reforms : home delivery of atta dal will be started soon , on lines of Delhi, people can get their various works done at home as staff will visit them home , instead people going to government offices. In environment portfolio…we are working on controlling stubble burning , to make stubble used in brick kilns and ofcourse to reduce pollution levels .. providing a storm sewer in Barnala to get rid of perennial waterlogging problem.

Challenges: protesting 1158 assistant professors whose selection process has been quashed by high court are
a big chalenge for him apart from the government and so is to get the issue of Zira liquor factory resolved where a dharna is going on since 24. As of now Hayer is under sharp criticism after the lathicharge which happened on September 19 outside his Barnala residence. Those teachers will be meeting the minister on October 1 at secretariat.

Controversies: Meet Hayer came under sharp criticism on September 19 when police did lathicharge on assistant professors outside his Barnala residence. They had come to seek time to meet the minister.