Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa and Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar on Saturday said the Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata industrial corridor that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had cleared would be a boon for industry in Punjab and would boost the economy of border areas.
In a press statement, Bajwa thanked the Prime Minister for putting the border state on the national industrial map. He claimed that the SAD-BJP government had "messed up" with the industry and economy of the state, while the initiative by the Congress-led UPA government to extend the industrial corridor up to Amritsar would be a boon for industry in Punjab.
"Amritsar was a major business hub before Partition but lost its shine later being a border city," Bajwa said, adding that the industrial corridor would also give a fillip to the trade between India and Pakistan.
The state Congress chief said the proposed industrial corridor would pass through all three regions -- Malwa, Doaba and Majha -- and link Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Amritsar with the sea port in Kolkata. It would open doors for setting up new industrial and manufacturing zones along the corridor, he added.
Bajwa said the move by the Centre would revive not only industrial growth but also the real estate sector in Punjab. He said he, along with state party office-bearers, MPs and MLAs, would shortly meet the Prime Minister to thank him for such a "big favour to the border state".
Jakhar said, "This is a major policy initiative which comes at a crucial juncture when industry in Punjab is in the doldrums." He said the industrial corridor would serve as a lifeline to the existing industrial units which had been dumped by the state government as an unwanted child in its new industrial policy.
The CLP leader said the dedicated industrial corridor would give a major support to industrial infrastructure as the central government would dedicate special funds for its development. It would open up new vistas of business opportunities for entrepreneurs of Punjab, he added.
Jakhar demands special assembly session
Jakhar asked the SAD-BJP government to convene a special session of the assembly to "discuss and amend its new industrial policy", which was announced recently.
"With this major policy initiative (industrial corridor) by the central government in place, it is important that the Punjab government calls a special session of the assembly to discuss and amend its new industrial policy to give the required support to the existing industrial units," Jakhar said.
"The assembly should unanimously pass a resolution to thank Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he has put Amritsar on the industrial map of India."
Jakhar said the Punjab Congress would request the Prime Minister to explore the possibility of operationalising the pre-Independence Delhi-Karachi railway link via Bathinda-Abohar-Hindumalkot so that it boosted industrialisation in the Malwa region.