Badal demands special economic package for agricultural states
Kamahi Devi (Hoshiarpur), July 28 (babushahi.com bureau): Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Government to give a special economic package to all the agricultural states of the country in general and that of Punjab in particular for tackling the drought like situation, due to scanty rainfall.
Talking to the media persons here on the sidelines of the second day of his Sangat Darshan program during thanks giving tour of the Dasuya assembly segment, the Chief Minister said that due to the deficit rainfall an emergency like situation has been created in the food producing states of the country as they were not able to cope up with the demand of power for supplying it to the farmers in the ongoing paddy season. He said Punjab was also facing a similar sort of crisis due to which he had already met the Union Power Minister Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde at his office in New Delhi, a few days back and had asked him to allocate 1000 MW of more power to the state from the central pool. Mr Badal further said that in this hour of crisis the Union Government must extend a helping hand to the food producing states so as to bail them out from the grave crisis, because the rainfall was not within the control of any state government.
Concerned over the weakening federal structure of the country, the Chief Minister lamented that due to the Union Government’s policy of excessive centralization most of the states of the county were facing severe financial crisis. He said that it was a stark reality that the successive Congress-led governments at the Center had constantly usurped the powers of the state governments reducing them to beggars who were at the mercy of the Union government for seeking funds to ensure development in their respective states.
Reiterating his demand that the Union government must disburse the Central grants in proportion to the share of taxes collected from the states, Mr Badal said that it was unfortunate that the Centre had been constantly discriminating the states in devolution of Central funds. The Chief Minister said that it was a well known fact that 68% of taxes collected by the Centre from the states were retained by Union and 32% devolved upon the states. However he said that the need of the hour was that states should be given more share from these taxes because it would provide the required fillip for the development of the states. “By weakening the Federal structure of the country Government of India was not acting as a ‘National Government’ because due to its such policies the country was afflicted with plenty of social maladies”, added Mr Badal.
Replying to a query regarding the recent hike of the power rates in the state, the Chief Minister reiterated that the prices have been hiked by the State Power Regulatory Authority and state government hardly had any role to play in it. However he said that the rates of power were far more less than many other states of the country.
Holding the Union Government entirely responsible for the devastation of many areas of the state due the floods in Ghaggar river, the Chief Minister said that on its part the state government has already completed the work for construction of the dam on Ghaggar river but the Centre government was not granting the sanction to complete the work due to which it was lingering on, much to the dismay of people of the area. He reiterated that ever since independence the Union government had meted out step motherly treatment with Punjab by meddling in its social, political, economic and even the religious affairs. Mr Badal said that the depriving the state of Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas, denial of its legitimate share in river waters and the shattering the industry and the agriculture of the state by the Union government were the glaring examples of the injustice with Punjab.
When asked to comment on the differences amongst the SAD-BJP on the issue of imposing new taxes on people, the Chief Minister categorically said that no decision has been taken by the state government to levy any fresh tax on the people. However he said that the people should contribute in the overall development of the state by paying their due taxes.
Addressing the gathering during the Sangat Darshan program the Chief Minister said that the state government would lay a major thrust on the up gradation of Health care facilities, providing technical and skilled education to the youngsters and supplying water to the people of the Kandi area. Expressing gratitude to the people for their massive verdict in the favour of SAD-BJP candidate Mrs Sukhjeet Kaur Sahi during the recently concluded by-poll of Dasuya assembly segment, the Chief Minister said that the state government would leave no stone unturned to fulfill the dreams of former Chief Parliamentary Secretary late Mr Amarjeet Singh Sahi.
Earlier the Chief Minister also laid down the foundation stone of ultra modern Community Health Centre at village Beh Nangal which would be constructed at the cost of Rs 5 crore.
During the Sangat Darshan the Chief Minister disbursed a grant of nearly Rs 3 crore to 56 villages for carrying out developmental works in them. Mr Badal also gave a grant of Rs 5 lakh to Guru Golaknath Self Help Group of village Beh Dulo for their exemplary works in handicrafts.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included MLA Mrs Sukhjeet Kaur Sahi, Mr KJS Cheema and Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh (both Special Principal Secretaries to the Chief Minister.