Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune press service

Chandigarh, November 16

The Punjab should be seen as a security case and not as an economic case by the Center, when it decides to stimulate growth and investment in states.

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal told Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a Monday evening meeting between chief ministers and / or ministers. of All State Finances with the Center.

During the meeting which ended late at night, Badal advocated the Punjab’s case vehemently, arguing that Punjab’s geography should not define its future, nor should the events of 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and “the ten year period of terrorism sponsored by our friends across the border.” The Punjab has suffered from incentives given to neighboring hill states since 2000 and has not been able to keep up with the pace of growth with other states located by the sea, ”he argued, saying that the Center immediately allocated three major projects to the State. – a farmer’s park, a textile park and a food park – to help small and medium-sized businesses here jump on the growth train.

The state finance minister has also asked for help from the Center to switch from expensive thermal power generation to solar power or gas-based power generation. “We are the furthest from the coal mines, which makes thermal electricity production very expensive for us. We want to retire our coal plants so that electricity becomes cheap and we become a viable investment destination, ”he said.

Stating that agriculture and Punjab are synonymous and that the Center, in its budget, should provide programs such as production-related incentives granted to industry for agriculture, so that farmers in the state can diversify into other cash crops and livestock. “This will help conserve water and control stubble burning. This will help us overcome the challenges we face in the transition to a new generation agriculture, ”he said.

Badal said that although Punjab has good rail infrastructure, there are some missing links – a 30 km stretch between Patti and Makhu (this is a strategic defense link as it will connect Jammu, Amritsar, Rajasthan to Gujarat); 20 km link from Rajpura to Mohali to connect our state capital Chandigarh to Rajasthan and Gujarat, in addition to a 28 km section between Beas and Qadian. “We hope you will factor this request into your budget,” he said.

He also called for the Institute of Virology, proposed to be established in Punjab, to be expedited and for the state to be allowed to offer its citizen-centric services to their doorstep through the Bharat Net platform.