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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Bajwa targets govt over investment summits

IANS  Chandigarh, July 17, 2014
First Published: 20:24 IST(17/7/2014) | Last Updated: 09:05 IST(18/7/2014)
Accusing the Parkash Singh Badal government in Punjab of not achieving anything from the agriculture summit held February this year, the Congress Thursday termed the entire exercise as a wasteful expenditure.
 
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa slammed the government in a statement here for wasting the public money on investment summits which had failed to give the desired results as no progress has so far been made on the MOUs signed during these events.
 
The Badal government organised two major summits - the Progressive Punjab Investors' Summit in December last year and the agriculture summit in February - to attract investment in the industrial and agricultural sectors.
 
Both the events were held with a lot of fanfare and expenses running into millions of rupees.
 
Bajwa said the Badal government and his party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, had only been exploiting the farmers as vote bank while ignoring their interests.
 
Quoting replies from various government departments sought under the Right to Information (RTI), Bajwa said: "The state of affairs as reflected in these replies was shocking."
 
He said as per the RTI reply obtained from the information and public relations department, the state government spent over Rs.34 lakh on publicity for the agriculture summit alone.
 
He said the memoranda of understanding (MOUs) signed were actually only expression of interest where only proposed investment was talked about.
 
"An RTI reply sought from the Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion regarding physical progress of these MOUs stated that the government had nothing to say on this. The replies stated that the physical progress of these MOUs may be considered as nil," Bajwa pointed out.
 
"A total of 40,580 delegates attended the agriculture summit from all over Punjab as disclosed in the RTI reply, and 961 buses were deployed by the government to transport them to the summit," he said.
 
Bajwa claimed that the agriculture summit was a failure and was used by the Akali Dal to mislead farmers. 
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