Union minister Ashwani Kumar on Saturday dismissed the claims of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal regarding the "drought-like situation" in the state. Kumar said that though there was a drought-like "situation existing in parts of some states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, there is no such situation in Punjab".
The minister's statement came on the same day Parkash Singh Badal met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded a Rs 2,380-crore package from the Centre. Punjab, which is already reeling under a power crisis and is expected to spend an extra Rs 1,500 crore on electricity for irrigation purposes, is among the partnering state of BBMB that were at the receiving end of the dam releasing lesser water for drinking and irrigation purposes.
The CM had on August 2 described the weather conditions this year as "one of the worst monsoon failures" in recent history. His son and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, too, had on the same day attacked the Centre for what he described as "discrimination" against the agrarian state.
Kumar, who is a minister of state for science and technology and planning, said the Centre had released "huge" funds under various schemes for the development of the state. "(The) state government should make judicious use of (the) money for all-round development," he said.