Member of Parliament Dr Dharamvira Gandhi has asked the Union government to return the money, which the Punjab state has paid as instalment of loan given to fight militancy, as the Centre is duty-bound to provide help to fight militancy to every state.
Dr Gandhi has shot off a letter to finance minister Arun Jaitely and home minister Rajnath Singh to this effect and warned them that he would move the Supreme Court, in case the loan paid and interest incurred on it was not refunded.
During years of militancy from 1978 to 1995, a special term loan of Rs 5,800 crore was given to Punjab to meet securityrelated expenditure.
The state government had paid interest of Rs 1,923 crore and principal amount worth Rs 771 crore. Although, the balance amount of Rs 5,029 crore was waived in 2007, but the state was not given back the amount it had repaid earlier to the extent of Rs 2,694 crore, including principal and interest. Since Punjab was fighting a battle for the nation, the state should be given a special grant to the extent of Rs 2,694 crore in lieu of its payment for the aforementioned loan. Besides, the Union home ministry has asked the state government to reimburse Rs 298 crore for deployment of paramilitary forces in the state. This amount should also be waived.
If Jammu and Kashmir, north-eastern and red corridor states, fighting ultra-left insurgency, are not asked to pay back whatever the Centre spends to tackle problems there, then why Punjab is being treated separately and being given a step-motherly treatment, Dr Gandhi questioned.
Unwarranted and unlawful recovery made from Punjab is clear violation of Article 355 of the Constitution which states that it was the duty of the Union to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbances.