The NITI Aayog will visit Punjab to discuss with the state government issues relating to development of the state. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was assured of this when he called on NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariaya to seek central help for state’s development, including its industrial and farm sectors. The date of the visit is yet to be finalised. The Aayog assured measures for the development of the state through programmes such as crop diversification and industrial revival.Allaying Amarinder’s concerns, Panagariaya said Punjab would not be impacted by the Centre’s industrial incentives to Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal. Amarinder urged for a special industrial package for the state along a 40-km belt in the sensitive border area. He made a case for encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises with similar incentives in border belt and the sub-mountainous area along the hilly tracts.
He suggested the development and maintenance of border roads under the country’s national highway programme. He sought the promotion of a petro chemical hub adjoining the Bathinda refinery for manufacturing value-added products. Amarinder urged for financial support to bail out farmers reeling under financial distress, and encouragement to agro food parks, especially in horticulture.
Price deficiency support for maize and other crops, as per the MSP, in addition to wheat and paddy, one-time waiver and debt swap by the Centre of the term loan taken by the state were also sought. Other demands included support in planning and implementing micro-irrigation system. Besides, the Chief Minister suggested the Centre to acquire land located beyond the border fence and compensation for lands damaged or rendered ineffective for farming due to periodic military deployment.
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