M A I N   N E W S

Rural indebtedness package soon: CM
Pradeep Sharma & Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ghanaur (Patiala), July 29
With an eye on the forthcoming elections, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced that the state government would soon unveil a liberal package on rural indebtedness to bail out Punjab farmers from the vicious debt trap.

Addressing a largely-attended rally here today, Capt Amarinder Singh hoped that the proposed package would go a long way in mitigating the sufferings of the farming community which was reeling under heavy debt.

Later during a Press conference, the Chief Minister held out a threat to the Central Government that if the latter failed to effect adequate hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat and paddy,the state government would be left with no other option but to urge the farmers of the state to stop growing these crops.The hike of Rs 10 in the MSP of paddy was meagre and I have taken up the matter with the Prime Minister to revise it, he added.

Lambasting the SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh alleged that the Akalis had no agenda except to criticising the government to woo the voters.Mr Badal was scared of the bright prospects of the Congress in the Assembly elections and the people should judge the Congress and SAD on their performance during their tenure in office, he said cautioning the voters not to be misled by the “malicious and false” propaganda of the Akalis.

Mr Badal was running away from his trial in the corruption case by getting the hearing delayed in the Supreme Court on one pretext or the other.

On the Punjab Government’s tie-up with the Reliance Industries Limited(RIL), he said the government would soon sign the MoUs with the company for the setting up of 352 hubs in the state which would provide the farmers with inputs,including quality seeds,fertilisers, pesticides, drip irrigation and green houses.The RIL would set up seven such hubs in Ropar district by December 2006, he added.

Accusing Mr Badal of making attempts to scuttle this project for his political and vested interests, Capt Amarinder Singh claimed that lakhs of Punjabi farmers would benefit from the project as growing fruits and vegetables would give 400% more income than the traditional farming.

Talking about the power sector, Capt Amarinder Singh said efforts were being made to augment the present 5,700 MW of power to 7,200 MW.

Earlier, the Chief Minister laid the foundation of a water supply scheme here at a cost of Rs 20.74 lakh. He also inaugurated a sport stadium built at a cost of Rs 56 lakh and the branch of the Primary Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank at a cost of 46 lakh.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee(PPCC), said had Mr Badal been sincere about welfare of the state he should have appreciated the initiatives of the Congress Government on the development front.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Ms Preneet Kaur, Patiala MP, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Mr Sardul Singh, all Punjab Ministers.





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