Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday postponed his plan to gherao the chief minister’s residence, which he was to do on Monday to highlight the plight of the steel and re-rolling industry in Mandi Gobindgarh.
It is in the wake of the deputy chief minister’s sitting with industrialists on Saturday and assuring them of a solution. According to Bajwa, Amloh Congress legislator Randeep Singh had taken him to the industrialists. “Of the 600 industries in Mandi Gobindgarh, 300 have shut and 100 turned non-performing, but the state government paid no heed,” said Bajwa, adding: “A day after I announced the sit-in outside the CM’s residence, the government woke up and invited the industrialists for talks.”
Bajwa said he had performed the job of opposition and got industrialists the invitation to the CM’s house for talks. Ridiculing the Punjab government for its failing to get a friendly government at the Centre to release a special industrial package to the state, he said the Punjab industry was in a flight to the neighbouring hill states to take advantage of tax holiday over there.
Saying Punjab was heading into a paddy and basmati procurement crisis this kharif season, Bajwa said his party would go to governor Shivraj Patil to seek a package for farmers for their loss on account of first drought and then excess rainfall.
Asks BJP about stand on package
Bajwa asked the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party to clearify its stand on the demand for special package by the chief minister. “The BJP should clarify if it is with the Punjab government or the Centre on the issue,” said the state Congress president, adding: “Since union finance minister Arun Jaitely rejected the demand, the Punjab BJP is silent.”
He also demanded a white paper from the Punjab government on the state debt. “During the tenures of IK Gujral and PV Narasimha Rao as prime ministers, the Punjab debt of the militancy days was cleared. Now which debt are they talking about?” said Bajwa.