Chandigarh, Ozi Indian Bureau- 16 November 2021
Punjab, the sword-arm of India, has always been stood against external intrusions thus the border state must be considered as a security case, not just as an economic case at the time of budgetary allocation, besides giving special packages as given to its immediate neighbouring states, urged the Punjab Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal during a virtual discussion with Union Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman to step up investment, infrastructure and growth in the country.
While strongly recommending the case of Punjab for considering special packages to wean away the agrarian state to industries, the Finance Minister apprised the union minister, the land locked state also deserves special packages at par with its immediate neighboring states such as Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, saying that biological chain of Punjab is very strong and its people are very hard working. “Let not the geography of Punjab define its future as the state fought for the nation in 1947, 1962, 1965 and 1971, besides the ten years war against terrorism which sponsored by “our friends” across the border, added Mr. Badal.
Punjab needs some nourishment from the Government of India as the state is facing new age challenges in transition of agriculture, said the Finance Minister, while urging the Union Finance Minister to come out with some schemes like PLI which was given to industry so that Punjab can successfully migrate to other crops or animal husbandry from two crop pattern. It will not only increase the income of the farmers but also help in conservation of ground water and solve the problem of stubble burning which is again a burning issue in the country.
Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal sought the allotment of a Pharma park, a Food Park and a Textile Park for Punjab, which will act as a game changing step for the Punjab.
As far as power generation is concerned, Mr. Badal said, Punjab is the farthest destination from coal mines and actually we want to switch from fossil fuels into either solar or gas if possible. If we can somehow retire our coal-fired power stations, power will become cheap in the state, he added.
He said that Punjab has very good infrastructure in terms of logistics and everything but there are missing links in railways including at Patti and Makhu, Rajpura and Mohali, and Beas and Qaddian. “You will be presenting a railway budget with the union budget, if these links of just 20-30KMs can find favour in your budget Punjab would be very well placed in terms of Railways and travelers won’t have to make round trips to Ambala to get to Rajasthan or Gujarat,” said Mr Badal.
Urging to look for options to provide services to the citizens at their doorsteps using technology, he urged the Union Finance Minister to ask the Union Health Minister to start the National Institute of Virology as soon as possible as the land has already been provided for the same. Mr. Badal also requested for the approval of Punjab’s case of Special Central Assistance for the Capital projects for Rs.150 crores, which is somehow struck at the central government level.