Chandigarh, Sep 15 (UNI) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said although it was a matter of great satisfaction that Punjab had emerged as the No-1 state in country in the India Today survey, the steep fall on all parameters of development in the last five years was a matter of grave concern.
''It was only the recovery made in the last six months that Punjab was able to maintain its lead over others inspite of the gross misgovernance and mismanagement of former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh,'' SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a statement here.
The findings of the survey clearly showed that the gap between Punjab and other states had narrowed down during the past five years, he said.
''The decline in industrial growth, infrastructure development and central and private investment during these years, were a reflection on how the state have been mismanaged by the previous government'', he claimed.
The survey had also fully exposed the claims of Capt Singh that he had brought investment of over Rs one lakh crore to the state,the statement said. During Congress period the state slipped to No-7 in matters of investment friendly policies, he said.
The Akali leader further said it was mainly because of the rearguard action by the present government in the past six months that the state managed to stay on top in infrastructure development and agriculture. The clearance of the Bathinda refinery, the International Airport at Mohali, the Rs 6000 crore Urban Renewable Project for Ludhiana and Amritsar, Metro Rail for Ludhiana and four lane and six lane expressways for the entire state during the past six months, had saved Punjab from slipping behind others, he added.
Mr Badal further pointed out that in agriculture, states like Haryana and Madhya Pradesh were closing in on Punjab. The farming community was reeling under a debt of Rs 24,000 crore and Capt Singh had never approached the Centre for a debt relief package, he said.
Regarding the claim of Capt Singh that BT cotton introduced by him had boosted the agri economy of the state, the Akali leader said that the farmers had now realised the fraud of Capt Singh.
Millibug had created havoc in the cotton growing areas of the state, he pointed out.
The SAD leader, however, congratulated the people of Punjab for having worked hard to keep their state ahead despite the serious damage done to the economy in the past five years. He said that the Akali-BJP government had in just six months put the state back on the tracks and would take Punjab forward on the path of progress and development.