Behind discontinuing international flights from Amritsar is the Centre's ploy to make the Delhi airport profitable, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has said.
On the fifth day of his sangat darshan (public contact) programme on Wednesday here, the CM said diverting the flights to Delhi made it clear what the strategy was. "It is to make the national-capital airport profitable at the cost of the Amritsar facility that has huge revenue potential because of the devotees from world over who visit Harmandar Sahib," he said.
Addressing the gathering at Jogewala village, Badal said the Amritsar airport had run into heavy losses since the scrapping of the flights to Toronto. "It is the height of stepmother treatment that now even domestic flights from Amritsar to Chandigarh had been stopped," said the CM. "If the gimmick is to jolt the state's economy, it is unacceptable."
He charged the state with ruining the state's agrarian economy. "Our farmers made the country self-reliant in food production but did not receive the remunerative minimum support price for crop, in spite of the accelerating input cost," he added.
Asking state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa to not pass the blame for the Centre's failure to Punjab, the CM said Punjab had been forced to levy property tax to meet the requirement of receiving grants from the Centre under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
"It was the Centre that denied us permission for mining, which increased the cost of minerals such as sand and gravel. The state Congress is aware of it," he said, adding that in the state, the auction of mines was transparent and under the eye of the media.
During the sangat darshan, the CM gave away official grants worth Rs 1.31 crore for developmental works in Nidhanwala, Daulatpura Ucha, Daulatpura Neevan, Sadda Singh Wala, Kahan Singh Wala, Jogewala, Daroli Bhai, and Dagru villages.
Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike; local legislator Joginder Pal Jain; former director general of police PS Gill; former Moga municipal corporation chief Barjinder Singh Makhan Brar; and deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind were present.