Attari (Punjab), Feb.20 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram along with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal laid foundation stone of Integrated Check Post (ICP), envisaged to boost trade and commerce between India and Pakistan, at Attari border here on Saturday.
The project is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 150 crores to be developed on 130 acres of land acquired by the Punjab Government.. Chidambaram, during his address on this occasion, said that Attari is the first integrated check post in the series of 13 integrated check posts on the International Border of India with various countries. The work on this project would be completed within 14 months.
Chidambaram said that the setting up of integrated check post is a major initiative, which the Government of India has taken as part of a Plan scheme with an initial outlay of Rs. 635 crore during the 11th Five Year Plan.
Lauding the role of farmers of the Border belt here, Chidambaram said that the Central Government is fully aware of their hardships and problems and will work out a special plan for making their life comfortable and convenient, as they lead a life in uncertain and uncomfortable circumstances.
Appreciating the farming community for bumper wheat crop in Punjab, Chidambaram said: "We salute them and the people of Punjab deserve all praise for making the country self sufficient on food front."
On this occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Badal in his welcome address highlighted the problems of the people of border belt and demanded a special package for the development of the area under the Border Area Development Programme.
He asked the Union Home Minister to restore the special remuneration of Rs. 2,500 per acre earlier being given to the farmers of the border belt which was stopped by the Central government some time back.
Badal urged for giving special package to border blocks and also job quota to the unemployed youth in BSF and other Central forces, besides setting up skill development centres.
He also emphasized the need to give compensation to the farmers whose land is being utilized by the BSF for patrolling purposes. He made a plea to exempt toll tax on the Attari-Amritsar 4 lane road.
Besides, he requested the Union Home Minster to strengthen vigil along the Indo-Pak border to check flow of narcotics and fake currency from across the border. He also aid that modernization in Punjab Police Force infrastructure is very essential and the Central Government must allot more funds for this purpose.
Union Home Minister and Chief Minister later inaugurated BSF Wives Welfare (BWWA) emporium at JCP and witnessed Retreat Ceremony. He also distributed sweets to the BSF jawans and Pakistan Rangers.
P. Chidambaram and CM Badal also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)