The Punjab Congress on Sunday demanded a special session of the assembly for holding "an open discussion" on key issues ranging from illegal colonies to closure of industrial units, as the party leaders issued individual statements in their respective positions to corner the SAD-BJP government.
Leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar, in a statement here, along with his party MLA colleagues Ashwani Sekhri, Raj Kumar Verka, Sham Sunder Arora and Bharat Bhushan Ashu demanded that the state government convene an immediate session of the assembly, expressing their concern over the hefty taxes in lieu of regularisation of unauthorised colonies and individual structures across the state.
"Deterioration of industry, non-payment of arrears to the employees since January and embezzlement into the centrally funded Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme" were the other issues on which Jakhar demanded a debate in the assembly.
"Why did the departments concerned not take legal action when these unauthorised colonies were coming up?" Jakhar asked.
"During the Goa 'shivir', deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal proudly claimed that there was a rise in the income of the state. If that's true, then why new taxes are being imposed and government employees are deprived of their arrears," he said.
Closure of re-rolling mills
Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Khaira on Sunday pointed out the closure of 31 steel re-rolling units in Mandi Gobindgarh in the past six months.
"The state government's new industrial policy turns out as a failure, non-starter, ineffective and meaningless," Khaira stated, highlighting that these 31 units had got their power connections disconnected in the past six months.
"Currently, 90 more such mills and furnaces have shut down their operations but have not got their power connections disconnected yet. These mills are also likely to shut down as it is not viable to pay the minimum electricity charges being levied on them by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited. It is unfair to impose the said minimum power charges on the industry as the government is not providing them sufficient power to function amid the long and unannounced power cuts," Khaira said.
"The Congress advises Sukhbir Badal who is used to making tall claims of mega development to focus and prevent the closure and collapse of our small and medium scale iron and steel industry, which would otherwise render thousands of families jobless," Khaira said.
He also demanded the scrapping of the state government's Advance Consumption Deposit Scheme (ACDS) related to the electricity bill payment, saying the consumers were being made to pay hefty amounts in the name of the scheme.