Eastern freight corridor to give major fillip to Punjab development: Badal

Describing Centre`s nod to Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata industrial corridor project as "historic initiative", Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal claimed decision was outcome of SAD-BJP alliance`s efforts.

Sultanpur Lodhi (Punjab): Describing the Centre`s nod to the Amritsar-Delhi- Kolkata industrial corridor project as a "historic initiative", Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday claimed the decision was an outcome of SAD-BJP alliance`s concerted efforts.
"Besides writing letters, I had personally taken up this matter with the Union government a number of times," Badal told reporters in Kapurthala.

Badal said that realising the vast significance of this project, which would "accelerate the tempo of ongoing overall development of the state" on one hand and give a major fillip to the industrial development of the state on the other, the Punjab government had taken up this issue at the various levels with the Union government.

He said that he was happy that "finally conceding to the demand of the state government, the Union government has taken this historic initiative".

Demanding a special economic package for Punjab, the Chief Minister said the Centre must recognise the mass contribution of state by giving it a special status.

"However, despite enormous contribution of the state the Congress led successive Central governments had completely ignored it while formulating the policies," he alleged.

Badal claimed that due to the anti-Punjab policies of the Congress-led Union government the industrial and agricultural sectors of the state have "suffered adversely".

"The Union government is adopting policy of pick and choose while allocating funds required for the modernisation of the police," he said, adding "this attitude of the Union government is not in the larger interest of the country."

When asked to comment on the notice issued by the Delhi Municipal Corporation to the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) for their proposal to construct the memorial of the Sikhs killed in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Chief Minister termed it as "unfortunate", and said that there was no harm in constructing the memorial to pay homage to those innocent people who were killed in the riots.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday gave green signal to the ambitious Amritsar-Delhi- Kolkata industrial corridor project, on the lines of DMIC, to promote development of northern region and create more jobs.

Singh appointed an Inter Ministerial Group (IMG), under
the Department of Industrial Policy and promotion (DIPP) Secretary, to prepare a feasibility report within a month for setting up the corridor, said a PMO statement had said.

The new industrial corridor, stretching over 1,900 km, will cover Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Meanwhile, Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa welcomed the clearance of the project and thanked the Prime Minister "for showing such a kind gesture towards Punjab and bringing the border state on national industrial map".

Bajwa said the decision to extend the industrial corridor up to Amritsar would be a boon for industry in Punjab and it will boost the economy of state particularly the border areas.

He alleged that the ruling SAD-BJP government had "messed up" with the industry and economy of the state.

People of Punjab would remain indebted to the Prime Minister since the completion of Industrial corridor will restore the old glory of holy city of Amritsar, he said.

"Amritsar was a major business hub before the partition but it lost its shine being a border city. The Prime Minister has an emotional bond with Amritsar, the city of Golden temple. The industrial corridor would also give fillip to cross border trade between India and Pakistan," he said in a statement here.

Bajwa said that the proposed Industrial corridor will pass through all the three regions of Malwa, Doaba and Majha and it will prove boon for the existing industry.

He said that corridor would link Punjab districts of Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Amritsar with the seaport at Kolkata and will open doors to set up new industrial and manufacturing zones along the corridor.

"This will attract huge investment and also generate new resources of employment for lakhs of unemployed youth of Punjab. Beside industrial growth, the corridor will revive the real estate sector in Punjab," he said.

The PCC chief said that he along with the state Congress unit`s office bearers, Congress MPs and MLAs will shortly meet the Prime Minister to express gratitude "for such a big favour to border state".
He hoped that with the completion of corridor the International Airport at Amritsar would also see beginning of flights on new routes.

Countering the claims of the SAD-BJP that successive Congress led governments at the Centre had neglected Punjab, Bajwa said that border district has remained neglected due to step motherly treatment given by SAD-BJP government.