Punjab has fallen behind under Badal govt, says PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Parkash Singh Badal-led Shiromoni Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government in Punjab, saying the state which was once a frontrunner in all spheres had now fallen behind.
Addressing an election rally in his hometown Amritsar, he asked the electorate to overthrow the present regime and bring back Congress to power in the state.
"Punjab was a golden land till a few years ago. The state was a frontrunner for many years and had done wonders in agriculture, industrial sector and food production. It had no parallel in sabyachar (culture) not just in the country but around the world. But, now it lags behind," Singh told the rally.
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Image: File picture of PM Manmohan Singh addressing a rally in Jammu
'Little development in Punjab under SAD-BJP govt'
He said after being number one state in the country, Punjab had fallen back and alleged the SAD-BJP government was responsible for this.
He said even small and neighbouring state Haryana had left Punjab behind. Haryana was carved out of Punjab in November 1966.
The prime minister said Punjab's fiscal situation was in a mess and the state was facing massive debt to the tune of Rs 1.20 lakh crore. He accused the Badal government of failing to sincerely implement and properly utilise funds provided to the state for carrying out developmental activities.
Speaking in Punjabi, Singh, in his nearly 35-minute speech, said the Congress rule between 2002 and 2007 had seen a swift pace of development in the agrarian state.
He said there had been little development during the SAD-led dispensation, adding power problem and unemployment had aggravated during its rule.
Image: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal
'Education and health sectors remained totally neglected'
The prime minister said education and health sectors remained totally neglected during the SAD rule. He said the United Progressive Alliance government had always kept in mind the interest of Punjab.
The Central government had been liberal in allocating projects to the state and ensuring that its development took place without any discrimination, he said. It had provided 2,700 doctors and para-medics, and set up 126 primary health centres besides giving ambulances to the state, the prime minister said.
"We also gave an Indian Institute of Technology in Ropar and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Mohali, set up a Central University in Bathinda and upgraded Amritsar's medical college at a cost of Rs 150 crore," he said.
The prime minister said it was his greatest desire to have a Central university in Amritsar but the state government had expressed its inability to provide land for the project.
Image: PM also alleged that the Punjab government has not done anything to establish a Central University in Amritsar