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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Tewari seeks white paper on Punjab's financial situation

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 25, 2013
First Published: 22:21 IST(25/8/2013) | Last Updated: 22:23 IST(25/8/2013)

Expressing concern over Punjab's financial situation, union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Sunday demanded a white paper, asking the state government if the state was heading towards bankruptcy.

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Frequent media reports corroborated by ground realities were a serious cause of concern, he said, adding that all signs were of financial bankruptcy, with the state forced to take loan for day to day expenses such as paying the employees' salaries, which were pending since July. "For the first time, the state government had to mortgage its property with banks to get Rs. 1,000 crore loan to be able to pay salaries to its employee," Tewari said here. "You don't sell the family silver," he added.

Suggesting that things were fast moving to a point where imposing financial emergency was the only way out, the minister said it was time for the state government to bring out a white paper on Punjab's financial health, so that Punjab know what it was doing about the economy.

The minister, who represents Ludhiana in Parliament, also questioned the genuineness of the state government mega schemes and projects being announced every day. "How could the state government go on announcing the projects worth thousands of crores of rupees when it did not even have a hundred thousand rupees to pay the monthly salary and pension bill," he said.

The situation was so serious that even the banks had now stopped lending money to the Punjab government, said the minister. "This is the beginning of bankruptcy, when people stop trusting you about your ability to repay," he said, adding that it had happened because the state had exceeded its limit of borrowing money.

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