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No truth in Akali-BJP regime’s investment claims, says minister Navjot Sidhu

Punjab local bodies minister said against a stated investment of ₹1.2 lakh crore, the then government actually got only ₹6,652 crore.

punjab Updated: Jul 23, 2018 15:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,Akali-BJP,Akali-BJP regime
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu (HT File)

Chandigarh Claiming that the previous SAD-BJP regime’s figures of bringing in investment into the state was misleading, Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that against a stated investment of ₹1.2 lakh crore, the then government actually got only ₹6,652 crore.

In an interaction with the media, Sidhu said, “In the Invest Punjab Summits that the then state government had organised, 391 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed, but only in 46 cases was some investment made. At the 2013 summit, 128 MoUs were signed and only 61 set up shop.”

Sidhu said this on the basis of information received through RTI, that Diljot Singh Gilzian, son of Tanda Urmur MLA Sangat Singh Gilzian, had procured. “SAD leaders who signed the MoUs in the investment summit in 2015 never invested anything and they were included only to increase the number and the amount of the MoUs to mislead other investors and the people of the state,” he added.

Sidhu said companies who owed allegiance to the Akali Dal including, Wahid Sandhar promised investment of ₹100 crore, Trident Group promised an investment of ₹1,000 crore, JLPL (₹4,500 crore), Gillco (₹2,400 crore) and NK Sharma (₹1,250 crore), but not one of these invested a single penny.

“A state government agency, the Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA), also promised to invest ₹3,500 crore but nothing happened,” Sidhu added.

Referring to the 2015 Invest Punjab Summit, he added that major investment promises came from the real estate sector with 84 MoUs being inked and an investment of ₹59,100 crore was promised. However, only six companies came with an investment of ₹2,039 crore.

Speaking on initiatives of the Punjab government, Sidhu said that between July 2017 and July 2018, 170 MoUs had been signed for a total investment promise of ₹47,116 crore, of which ₹8,400 crore had been invested. “The investment brought in during the one year of our government is more than that during he five years of the previous government,” he claimed.

On a query that he does not speak against the BJP, the party he left to join the Congress in 2016 before the assembly polls of 2017, Sidhu said, “I would make a big revelation involving a former minister of the BJP. The BJP is a minor player in Punjab, but I will not hesitate to reveal any wrongdoing, if I come across it.”

Sidhu has become a habitual liar: SAD

Responding to Sidhu’s comments, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said, on Sunday, that the local bodies minister had made it a habit to mouth lies and twist facts to suit his irrational mentality. The party also asked Sidhu to list a single achievement of either his own or that of the Congress government on the investment front over the past 18 months.

Reacting to Sidhu’s comments on the two Investment Summits in Punjab in 2013 and 2015 during the SAD-BJP regime, SAD spokesman Maheshinder Singh Grewal said Sidhu was propagating lies with the sole aim of gaining cheap publicity.

Stating that it was strange that Sidhu had taken on the responsibility of becoming the official spokesman of the government when his own MLAs had rated his performance as zero and even the state cabinet had refused to consider his recommendations, Grewal asked him not to hide his failures by resorting to comedy shows in the name of press conferences.

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 15:49 IST