M A I N   N E W S

PM to aid of border farmers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the Border Security Force to open at least one gate of each Border Observation Post (BOP) from dawn to dusk on the 533-km border along Pakistan to facilitate thousands of farmers to cultivate their land across the fencing.

Mr Ashwani Kumar, Union Minister of State for Industries, addressing mediapersons here today, said the border farmers faced a lot of inconvenience due to restrictions by the BSF, that opened for a few hours only.

Mr Kumar said trade through the Wagah border would be promoted and the Government of India was in touch with Pakistan on the issue. He said he had surveyed the area to learn about the plight of border farmers, along with senior officials of the BSF. A huge chunk of land across the border fencing would be used for cash crops. This would lift the economic standards of the farming community in the region.

Mr Ashwani Kumar said necessary instructions had already been passed to the BSF in this regard.

To revive the industrial town of Batala in Gurdaspur, the Central Government would sanction Rs 50 crore under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme. A project report had been prepared to help revive the small-scale and cottage industry of Batala, known as the steel town of the state.

He said the Pathankot airport would be opened to civilian aircraft in November. With the Halwara and Pathankot airports operating domestic flights, this would give the necessary boost to economy and tourism in e state.

The setting up of a fruit processing unit in Gurdaspur and an economic corridor for furthering Indo-Pak trade via
Wagah were the immediate priorities.He said for accelerating the pace of development in Punjab, efforts would be made to check the flight of industry from Punjab to the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.



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