Sunday, September 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Financial crisis in Punjab: CM
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 28
Even as the state government has called an all-party meeting on October 1 to work out the mode of agitation to be launched against the Centre for its discrimination against Punjab in the matter of minimum support price (MSP) and procurement of paddy, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said as the state had been facing a financial crisis, it could default in meeting its financial liabilities, including payment in lieu of paddy to be procured by state agencies.

“In the past seven months, the state government managed to fulfil its financial liabilities. But now, the situation has come to a point where it has been found difficult to meet financial responsibilities, ” said the Chief Minister.

Alleging that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had been playing foul by making the Centre delay in the announcement of the paddy MSP and its subsequent procurement by government agencies, he pointed out that the Congress could resort to any type of agitation against the discriminatory attitude of the NDA government at the Centre.

“The modalities of further action would be discussed in the all-party meeting to deal with the situation which has arisen after the farmers started making distress sale of their paddy crop with the Centre failing to announce the MSP in time and put its agencies into the purchase operation. Pressure will also be mounted on the Centre to enhance the MSP,” said the Chief Minister.

“We were given a repeated assurance that the MSP would be announced in time and procurement would start at the convenience of farmers by various ministers and Central government functionaries at various meetings held since July 18 and in the correspondence done in different quarters. But we were cheated by the NDA government in which SAD led by Mr Badal was also a partner,” alleged Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister was here today to attend the bhog ceremony of Jarnail Singh, Commando, Punjab Armed Police (PAP), who laid down his life while fighting militants in Jammu and Kashmir recently.

Addressing a press conference, he said the Centre was trying to snatch the revenue of the state generated from various types of taxes being charged on foodgrains during procurement. He added that the total loss of revenue per annum to Punjab would be around Rs 1,000 crore.

He said the Centre should tell the people who would compensate the farmers who had disposed of their paddy crop at throwaway prices to rice mill owners. The Punjab Government had no money to compensate them. The Punjab Government had demanded Rs 100 as drought bonus for each quintal of paddy. The state government had demanded that the MSP of paddy should be Rs 726 and Rs 660 for different varieties.

He pointed out that state had suffered a loss of Rs 6,372 crore due to drought in Punjab. It included the loss of Rs 1891 crore to the PSEB for shifting the supply from the paying sector to the non-paying sector.

When asked that why the Punjab Government which had promised a corruption-free government had hushed up the multi-crore export category rice diversion scam, the Chief Minister said that he would check it with police officials and not allow any hushing up.

He said Punjab had sugar stock worth Rs 423.33 crore and had a liability of Rs 79.02 crore in the shape of payment to sugarcane growers. But the Centre government was not releasing funds.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |