CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday slammed the Centre for presenting an “anti-Punjab, anti-people, anti-farmers and directionless” Budget. He alleged that the Centre was getting back at farmers for launching an agitation against farm laws by not making any allocations for them
It is shameful that going by its myopic mindset the Centre has completely ignored the state, thereby bringing a huge disrespect to countless sacrifices made by the brave and hardworking Punjabis before and after independence,” said Mann.
“Earlier, Punjab’s tableau was not allowed at the Republic Day parade and now the state is missing from the Budget. This is the second deliberate attempt of the Centre to undermine the contribution of Punjab. I fail to understand why the BJP is meting out such step motherly treatment with Punjab,” he added.
The Budget has exposed the “anti-farmer” stance of the Modi government, he said. “No minimum support price on any new crop has been announced. We had demanded that the Centre pitches in with financial assistance of Rs 1,500 per acre as incentive to farmers for not burning paddy stray. The state would have contributed its share… It appears that the Centre is making the farmers pay a price for the agitation (against the three farm laws). The farmers have been left to their fate,” he said.
Regarding the state’s demands at the pre-Budget meeting, Mann said being a border state, a demand of Rs 1,000 crore for modernisation of BSF and state police was made to the Centre. He said this fund was needed to stop the smuggling of drugs and weapons from across the border by hi-tech drones.
“Punjab faces challenges as a border state. We wanted to upgrade the police. It was suggested that fencing at the border be taken up to 200 meters, as it would have helped farmers and also save the BSF from its frisking exercise… Such unfair treatment to Punjab is not right. When there is debate in Parliament on the demand for grants, MPs from the state will remind the FM that Punjab should be considered a part of the country,” he said.
Mann added, “We had asked for Vande Bharat train from Amritsar and Bathinda to Delhi. As an MP, I had suggested running a train for religious tourism, which was accepted. A train is required to connect all the five Sikh Takhts. Lakhs of NRIs who wish to pay obeisance at the Takhts face problems in the absence of such a facility.” Although the Union finance minister has announced that new nursing colleges will be opened, no timeline has been fixed, he said.