M A I N   N E W S

Punjab’s Rs 3,772-crore special term loan waived
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today thanked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for getting waived the pending special term loan worth Rs 3,772 crore against Punjab. Capt Amarinder Singh said the decision to waive the loan was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet this evening.

The issue regarding this loan was hanging fire for the past several years.

In fact, the loan had become a big political issue in the last Assembly elections in the state. While the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had claimed that the entire loan amount of about Rs 8,000 crore had been waived by the Centre, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was then President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, had held that entire loan amount had not been waived.

Capt Amarinder Singh had taken up the issue of waiving the loan with the Prime Minister during his recent two-day visit to Amritsar. He had requested him that as Punjab was feeling burdened because of the non-waiving of the special term loan. It was spent on modernising the police and security forces to fight militancy.

The Narasimha Rao and Gujral governments in the Centre had waived some part of the loan earlier.

Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, said Mr Badal had been misleading people on the loan waiving issue.

“Loan was waived today by the Union Government,” he asserted. He said he had met the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, in this regard a number of times. He said as Punjab was fighting with the militants at that time, the Union Government had given the loan for modernising the security forces in the state.

The 12th Finance Commission had referred the issue of waiving the loan to the Union Home Ministry and the Union Finance Ministry to assess whether the loan availed by Punjab had been actually spent on security forces or elsewhere.



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