List major demands, Sidhu tells traders

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Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 4

Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu today asked representatives of 52 diverse trades and industrial organisations to bring down their demands to five, and assured them of fulfillment of the same. He chaired a meeting with traders, organised and moderated by Congress leader Ranjan Aggarwal. MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Congress MLAs OP Soni, Sunil Dutti, Inderbir Singh Bolaria and other leaders were also present.

Sidhu assured the industry leaders that he would arrange their meeting with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh once they come up with their five demands.

He categorically said, “If we want to put the economy of Punjab into high growth trajectory and bolster its progress, then the industry in general and manufacturing in particular has to deliver desired results.”

MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla said, before the Partition of the country, there were two major cities in Punjab — Lahore and Amritsar. The former had a population of six lakh and the latter four lakh. Now, Lahore has over one crore population and over 100 flights daily land and take off from its airport. On the other hand, Amritsar has a population of 15 lakh and a handful of flights operate from here, he said.

“There is a need to probe the reasons of its slow growth. Industrial units shifted to neighbouring states after the NDA government gave tax holidays to hilly states. The UPA government gave Central University to the Sikh holy city and the SAD-BJP government in the state shifted it to Bathinda. These are among some of the reasons to have brought down the city’s growth,” he said.

Industrialist and Congress leader Ranjan Aggarwal demanded shifting of power cut on industries from Monday to Sunday. He sought reinstatement of the recent order of the PSPCL withdrawing the rebate of Re 1 power unit on industries, which operate between 10 pm and 8 am. “Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkatta Industrial Corridor (ADKIC) must be extended up to Attari. The government must refund the VAT of businessmen before June 30,” he demanded.

Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) president PL Seth said the state government would present its first budget this month and it must incorporate at least Rs 1,000 crore for trade and industry. He rued that the previous budget of Rs 39,000 crore had measly Rs 100 crore earmarked for the industry.

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