Terming his visit to Pakistan as "fruitful", deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said the opening up of trade between the two Punjabs would be a turning point in bilateral trade.
He was here to attend the 64th All India Sikh Educational Conference organised by the Chief Khalsa Dewan at Guru Nanak Public School.
He said, "The response of the people in Pakistan was tremendous as was evident from their eagerness to the initiation of trade between the two Punjabs."
He said Pakistani Punjab chief minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaaz Sharif would visit Punjab next month to strengthen business ties. "The emphasis will be on the joint trade centre which should come up at the border where products of both the countries would be made available, making it easy for people to buy them."
He said Pakistan had realised that the only way to move ahead was to make a joint effort to rewrite the business priorities according to the changing scenario. He said both Punjabs had decided to constitute a joint business committee and to explore the possibility of developing a joint industrial zone to complement each other with its advantages and expertise.
Earlier, speaking at the concluding ceremony of the conference, Badal underlined the need for quality education as with mushrooming of various educational institutes it became difficult to maintain high standards of education. He said that in the era of competition, it was imperative to ensure quality education, which was possible only through sufficient investment in the education sector.
He said the state government had decided to set up five edu cities at Mullanpur, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bathinda to attract world-class educational institutes to set up their campuses so that the youth could get quality education in the state itself.
Badal said the talks with world-renowned educational institutes were on for the ambitious project. He said their government had set up prestigious educational institutes like Indian School of Business's campus at Mohali. Similarly, the Indian Institute of Technology had been set up at Ropar, besides a number of degree colleges in educationally backward areas.
The deputy chief minister appreciated the efforts of the Chief Khalsa Dewan in imparting quality education.
He advised the state Congress leaders not to indulge in petty politics, and instead press the UPA government at the Centre to expedite the issue of granting a full-port status to Wagah and open three more land routes at Hussainiwala, Fazilka and Khemkaran to facilitate smooth trade between the neighbouring states.