Badal takes up farmers' issues with PM

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Chandigarh, Mar 29 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today, has sought his intervention for securing smooth and prompt supply of DAP for the fertiliser-starved farmers of Punjab.

Giving the details of the meeting, Chief Minister's Media Advisor Harcharan Bains told mediapersons here that the Chief Minister stressed that as against the demand of 1.5 lakh Metric Tonnes (MT) of fertiliser, the state had received only 10,000 MT, which could seriously affect paddy production in the ensuing season.

The Prime Minister assured Mr Badal of effective steps for timely supply of fertilisers, including DAP, to Punjab farmers, according to the Media Advisor.

In the meeting, Mr Badal also demanded that Punjab be included in the central scheme for setting up at least one Industrial Manufacturing Region (IMR) in the state.

The Chief Minister said that Mandi Gobind Garh (Iron and Steel) Batala (Agricultural implements) Ludhiana (Hosiery) and Jalandhar (sports goods) should be considered for inclusion in the Centre's plan for setting up of IMRs.

Mr Badal also demanded that the proposed freight corridor from Sonpur (West Bengal) to Ludhiana be extended to Amritsar in view of the expected boost in international trade activity through the Attari-Wagha Border.

Similarly, the Industrial Corridor from Mumbai to New Delhi should also be extended up to Ludhiana.

Mr Bains said that Mr Badal expressed his Government's strong opposition to the Centre's reported proposal to include Ravi-Beas Link in the list of national projects.

River water being a state subject, the Central Government should not force any such projects on any state, Mr Badal said, adding that the move could start a fresh controversy.

The Chief Minister also asked the Prime Minister to take up the issue of a direct visa free access to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan with the Pakistan Government. He pointed out that the Pak authorities had reportedly agreed in principle to provide a visa-free corridor for the purpose from the Attari-Wagha Border.

The Prime Minister assured Mr Badal of timely necessary steps on the issue, said Mr Bains.

The Chief Minister also demanded that the Centre should take up the projects for Sheet-lining of Sirhind and Rajasthan canals in the state. The projects, which should be treated as a ''one time central package'', would cost Rs 650 crore as per the report submitted by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) to the Ministry of Water Resources and would help in fighting the menace of water-logging and water-pollution in 332 villages, covering two lakh acres of agriculture land in Punjab.

The Chief Minister demanded that the Centre should provide a fund of Rs 1,730 crore for power component of Shahpur Kandi Canal project.

Mr Badal also sought the PM's intervention to expedite the setting up of the helipad at Holy city of Hemkunt Sahib.


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