Punjab was known for Left minded political leaders but not left wing extremism, also called Naxalism. If state chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is to be believed, naxalism would be a reality soon in one of the most prosperous states of northern India.
Falling agriculture income, rising agriculture debt and high farm investments were some of the reasons given by Badal for farmers egging revolt.
If nothing is done to deal with impending agrarian crises soon, there would be Naxalism in Punjab, Badal told the Planning Commission functionaries at the state’s annual plan meeting.
The commission approved state annual plan of Rs. 16,125 crore for the current financial year, which is about 15% higher than the last financial year.
On poor agriculture produce management, he said around 60 lakh tonnes of wheat grains were being kept in stores in an unscientific manner and accused the railway ministry headed by Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal of not providing cheap transport facility for food grains.
He also called upon the Central government to declare minimum support price for less water intensive crops such as Maize, Soyabean and Basmiti Rice to help Punjab to cope with water stress, a view well taken by planning commission officials.
Badal was, however, at his political best at the meeting slamming the Centre for most of its policies. He claimed that world biggest job guarantee progamme -- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee --- has given birth to new type of corruption at the ground level.
Taking a dig at the Central government inclusive growth plank, he said, that even though the government was spending thousands of crore rupees for development poverty and unemployment was on the increase.
Blaming Centre’s policies and militancy for Punjab’s debts of around Rs. 98,000 crore, the chief minister said the poor performance of the Central government was showing its impact on the state revenues.
Minister of state for planning Rajiv Shukla countered him by saying that it was the NDA government which had accorded special industrial status to Punjab’s neighbouring state of Himachal.