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Punjab CM confident on economic revival
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 15, 2003 15:37 IST
Captain Amarinder Singh, chief minister of Punjab, has accused his predecessor Prakash Singh Badal and his ministers of plundering the state exchequer and putting it in a financial mess.
Addressing a news conference in the Press Club in New Delhi he said his government has made immense effort to put the state economy back on the rails.
" When we came to power sixteen months ago the state was reeling under a debt trap. It owed Rs 36,000 crores (Rs 360 billion) to various banks and financial institutions. There was no money to even pay the salaries of the state government employees. We have worked hard to put the economy of Punjab back on track," he claimed.
According to him the debt of the state now stands at Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion).
The CM said his government would announce a power reforms bill in the state to resuscitate the Punjab State Electricity Board.
"Days of free power are over. Our state electricity board is running into losses to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) thanks to the policies and programmes of the Akali Dal government led by (Prakash Singh) Badal."
Dwelling on the transport sector the chief minister said that the state government has earmarked Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) for the construction of four-lane highway throughout the state and improve the road conditions in general.
"I think you have only travelled on Chandigarh-Patiala road and that is why you are talking about the quality of road on this route. I can assure you that we are going to construct similar quality roads in Ludhiana and Jallandhar as well," he said in response to a query whether the entire money was being spent on laying a road for Patiala, which happens to be his hometown.
Punjab government has launched a Rs 900-crore (Rs 9-billion) drinking water project to cover almost all the villages in the state.
Talking about the corridor around the Golden Temple he said three phases have already been completed."I had a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani on Monday and he has promised to release Rs 50 core (Rs 500 million) for the completion of phase four and five. The project cost is around Rs 117 crore (Rs 1.17 billion)," he said.
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