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BJP open to talks with farmers: Goyal

Says party will set up multi-dimensional task force to eradicate drug menace

BJP open to talks with farmers: Goyal

Union Minister Piyush Goyal with his wife at Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday. PTI



Tribune News Service

GS Paul

Amritsar, May 25

The BJP is open to holding dialogue with agitating farmers to resolve their issues, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said while campaigning for party candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

Being one of the members of a Central Government panel that had held discussion with representatives of various farmers’ unions earlier, he said the preliminary discussion between both the sides were held on a positive note, but could not reach any conclusion due to “miscommunication”.

“I appeal to all farm unions to remove this miscommunication through dialogue. Our doors are open for farmers to hold discussions on farm issues. The BJP’s priority has always been to strategise policies to safeguard farmers’ interest but a section of farmers might be unaware of the factually correct picture or were misguided. We offered them enhanced MSP against their produce. During a series of meetings, suggestions emerged but the calculation with which they came up with could adversely damage the farmers’ interest, especially the Punjab farmers in the future,” Goyal said.

He also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple along with BJP leaders, including Maninderjit Singh Sirsa.

On the drug menace, he said the BJP intends to make Punjab a drug-free state. “We will set up a multi-dimensional task force involving security agencies to eradicate drugs from the state,” Goyal said.

The Union Minister said India has been a developing country globally, and the BJP aims to make Punjab, especially Amritsar, part of this progress. He said the present government in the state has been a roadblock.

Giving an example, he said Punjab lagged to be a part of the PM MITRA (a multi-crore textile park scheme) as the state government could not revert with a concrete proposal for offering infrastructure for the project.

“It required at least 1,000 acres to set up a textile park to increase investment, promote innovation, create job opportunities and ultimately make India a global hub for textile manufacturing and exports. The Punjab Government did not send us a complete proposal on the basis of which it could be considered. The Tamil Nadu government furnished the requisite and got the project,” Goyal said.

Striking an emotional chord, he recalled Operation Blue Star during the Congress rule in 1984. “On the other hand, the BJP, in view of Sikh sentiments, commemorated Gurpurbs and ‘Veer Bal Divas’ on a global level and allowed international donations at Golden Temple through the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010,” he said.

For Amritsar, Goyal said: “We want to establish good connectivity and logistics, provide infrastructure for international bilateral trade, and exploit the local skill of Amritsar to take their talent on the global level. This will boost the region’s economy which was our goal.” He also clarified that the Attari-Wagah trade was stopped from the Pakistan side.

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