Badal rules out change in ministers portfolios

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Chandigarh, Nov 21 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today expressed satisfaction over the working of his ministers, including Finance Minister Manpreet Singh, who had of late expressed concern on the states economy.

"I am satisfied with the working of the ministers" he said at a press conference here while ruling out a change in the porfolios of his ministers.

"There is no truth in reports of the Finance Minister offering to quit", he said while replying to a question.

When asked about the Finance Ministers absence from office for the last couple of days, the Chief Minister claimed that he was in Delhi attending to his ailing mother.

Expressing satisfaction on the development process in the state, Mr Badal said that a great deal of stress was being laid on improving the existing infrastructure in the state. The Mohali international airport project had been approved by the central government and was expected to be given the nod by the Union Cabinet soon, he added.

Refering to the power scenario, he said that approval had been granted by the Centre for three thermal projects in addition to the Goindwal thermal project. The state would become a power surplus state in the next four to five years, he added.

Replying to a querry, the Chief Minister made it clear that instructions had been issued to all government officials to extend cooperation to the ministers, MLAs and the public.

Reacting to the claims of the state government, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal claimed that the SAD-BJP government had failed on all fronts. The much touted 'atta day scheme' aimed at providing wheat and pulses at subsidised rates to the poor has been a flop, she added.

Regarding Mr Badals claims on the economy, Mrs Bhattal claimed at a media briefing here that the government was contemplating the introduction of a few more taxes to collect revenue. A recent circullar of the Chief Secretary asking officials to identify surplus government land (for sale) speaks of the state of the economy, she added.

Instead of welcoming the announcement of another bonus of Rs 50 per quintal on paddy, Mr Badal has criticised this decision of the Centre, she said while pointing out that during the rule of the NDA the total increase of MSP on paddy was Rs 75 per quintal in five years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been very generous to Punjab and Mr Badal should appreciated this, she said while refering to various schemes passed by the Union Government for the state.


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