Punjab to create industrial 'Land Pool' to attract investments

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Chandigarh, Sep 30 (UNI) In a bid to attract industrial investment to the border state, the Punjab Government proposes to create a 'Land Pool' for industrial houses.

''This land pool will comprise 10,000 to 20,000 acres of land which can be offered to the industrialists for setting up their units,'' Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said here today.

Addressing a meet the press programme at the Press Club here, Mr Badal said a budgetary provision of around Rs 300 crore to Rs 500 crore every year will be made for creating this Land Pool.

''This is on our radar'', he added while claiming that Punjab despite being an agricultural state had enough land for industrialisation also.

Lamenting that industrial growth rate in the state had suffered due to various reasons, Mr Badal was hopeful that sooner or later entrepreneurs would turn to Punjab. The greatest strength of here is the ''industrial peace'' and an atmopshere free from communal tensions and violence, he said while pointing to other states like Gujarat where such an atmosphere did not prevail.

''We do not have the resources to give subsidies or lower freight charges but then we can create the atmosphere for industrial investment,'' he said while pointing out that the state was spending heavily on improving the infrastructure.

The Minister was hopeful that once the special industrial concessions given to certain states end in 2010, entrepreneurs would definately turn to other states. ''Punjab will be a natural choice of the industrialists,'' he added.

Acknowledging that states like Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra and few others had shown a faster pace of progress than Punjab, Mr Badal asserted that development in these states was only limited to certain pockets. ''We must remember that the incidence of poverty in Punjab is a mere 8 per cent, which is the lowest in the country,'' he added.

The Finance Minister was satisfied with the agricultural growth rate in the state and said it was expected to climb with another bumper paddy harvest on the doorstep. He told that this year the state had a bumper wheat harvest.

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