Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed on Friday to utilise “every drop” of the Sutlej-Ravi-Beas river waters that have been flowing over to Pakistan for the benefit of farmers in border states, especially Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
“These rivers, as per the Indus Waters Treaty, belong to India and our farmers. I will utilise every drop of it ,” Modi said at the foundation-laying ceremony of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhatinda on Friday.
“Every drop will be utilised by the farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and other states. I am committed to this,” he said.
The PM’s statement holds significance in the wake of the SYL canal imbroglio --- in which the Parkash Singh Badal regime in Punjab refused to abide by the Supreme Court judgment and returned the land acquired for the canal to the owners.
Without mentioning the SYL issue, Modi said all water disputes could be resolved through talks. “We are with Badal sahib on water issue,” he said. He blamed the state’s previous governments for water disputes and under-utilisation of the natural resources.
For embracing mobile banking
A day after the opposition’s uproar against demonetisation in Parliament, Modi looked rather firm on his move, appealing to the countrymen to go for phone-banking or e-banking.
“Mobile phones are your wallet and your banks now. Download the banking apps on your phones and curb corruption,” he said.
He said the number of mobile connections was four times the number of family units in the country.
Acknowledging the harassment to the common people due to cash crunch, Modi said he was thankful to the people of the country “for standing by us (NDA regime) in this mission of demonetisation and bearing the short-lived brunt”.
The PM, however, skipped a reply to his predecessor Manmohan Singh’s claim that this move initiated by Modi will lead to 2% decline in the growth of country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and people may “lose faith in currency and banking system”.
The PM also appealed to information technology (IT) experts in universities and other agencies to train the people in net banking. “We have taken this step to save the poor people and to save the middle class from exploitation. This will end all unaccounted transactions and rid us of fake currency,” he said.
Advises Pak to fight terror, not India
The Prime Minister advised Pakistan “to fight corruption and black money in their country, if they want to fight terror”.
He said people in India were equally pained due to terror strikes in Pakistan. “I want to tell the people of Pakistan that we are also pained for the deaths of children in Peshawar,” he said.
Badals all praise for Modi’s currency war
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, son and deputy chief minster Sukhbir Badal and daughter-in-law Harsimrat Badal, who is a minister in the Union cabinet, were all praise for Modi’s demonetisation move.
“This will curb the parallel economy of black money in the country,” the Punjab CM said, adding that the there will enough cash in banks and ATMs in another 10 days. “Modi sahib, we are always with you,” Badal said .
As Modi laid the foundation stone for the AIIMS with the wish to inaugurate the project in 2020, Sukhbir said he wanted to see Modi as the PM for the next 25 years. “AAP will not get a single seat,” the deputy chief minister said.