Bansal educates Punjabis in fuel hike

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Kharar, Jun 7 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal today sought to educate the Punjabis on reasons behind the increase in fuel prices rather than talk politics at a public rally organised by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

Addressing the rally organised to protest the alleged atrocities on Congress workers by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP government at the Grain Market here, Mr Bansal said that it had become necessary following the increase of oil prices globally.

The Union Minister sought to assure the farming community that they would get remunerative prices for their commodities. The government had given an MSP of Rs 1000 per quintal for wheat and for paddy too the price would not be below the price of wheat, he assured while pointing out that it was under the UPA-government that farmers had got higher rates for their produce.

Turning to the farm loan waiver scheme, Mr Bansal said it was for the first time that small farmers were being provided relief to such an extent. More farmers could be included in the ambit of the scheme in future, he said without going into details.

The Union Minister further said that the government would soon ease the procedure for farm loans from banks. The Minister pointed to the various centrally sponsored schemes intiated by the government in Punjab, including the development of Anandpur Sahib, the birthplace of the 'Khalsa'.

PPCC chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in her address demanded that the Punjab government reduce the sale tax on petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders so as to provide relief to the public. She said all Congress ruled states had under the instructions of party chief Sonia Gandhi reduced sales tax on these commodities.

Mrs Bhattal claimed that the government headed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had failed on all fronts and had failed to live upto the aspirations of the people. She alleged that a large number of Congress workers were implicated in fabricated cases in the last one year.

Later, in an informal chat with mediapersons, Mrs Bhattal said she would be meeting the Prime Minister to apprise him of the economic crisis gripping the state and the 'misdeeds' of the SAD-BJP government.

Mrs Perneet Kaur, Patiala MP and wife of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also addressed the rally. However, Capt Singh who did not attend a similar rally at Moga on June 5, again preferred to stay away.

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