CII upset with Punjab Govt's handling of Amritsar development projects

Amritsar, July 14 (ANI): The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has expressed its anguish and concern over the way industrial issues are being handled by the Punjab Government.

The upset industrialists expressed their anguish during an interaction with Punjab Finance Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

In a statement issued here after the interaction, former state head of the CII Gunbir Singh said that since the forming of the ADA as an all encompassing body empowered to take decisions in 2007, the situation viz-a-vis industry was no better than what it was before.

"Sadly, we have been no better than before with a plethora of civic bodies still saddling the system. Fortunately, the deputy chief minister (Sukhbir Singh Badal) is now the chairperson, and our expectations now are manifold."

"We have heard enough about grandiose plans for our city. Amritsar does not want to be a Paris or Switzerland or Singapore. We have had enough of that lip service. Amritsar also does not need its officers to travel to Lahore or undertake other foreign junkets, because we have never learnt from them," he added.

"Sukhbir Badal wishes to paint in a single colour the Hall Gate route to Harmandir Sahib and add a heritage feel. While the thought is laudable, perhaps the single colour should be green creepers on all buildings on both sides. A maintenance free solution which will mop up pollution and look beautiful for the whole world to see," Gunbir Singh said further.

Highlighting stark realities, he said: "Non-cooperative government system, nine months of futile exercise by a body corporate to maintain and beautify the green patch from Kacherhri Chowk to the M K Hotel Crossing, Bill Board Company given rights to put up hoardings, AFD demonstration projects started all over the city to curb garbage, increase green cover, zero chemical and plastic usage, save water and energy etc."

EcoAmritsar program, whereas MC and Improvement trust did not bother. We accomplished Simple successful examples of accomplished demonstration projects are Green Nagar Kirtans, ZDP's, organic households. Many want to pitch in as responsible citizens, but the administration is non cooperative.

He further revealed that Punjab's cultivable area has increased in 37 years by 3.2 per cent, and NPK by 791 per cent.

"We in Amritsar are feeding our children chemical laced water and vegetables," he claimed.

"This is the only city in Punjab which has ample logistic advantage, excellent communication network, superb connectivity and social infrastructure. The only issue is where we are creating the land bank for it," he asked.

He said plans for establishing two universities for Amritsar are yet to get off the ground.

He asked: "Is higher education not a priority for us? What is stopping us from executing these prestigious projects for the city?

He also said air connectivity is a sore point with Punjabis living both in India and overseas.

"Tourism sensitization, programs and information flows lacking. While we are arranging huge funds for infrastructure projects, which is indeed laudable, ten percent of funds must be allocated to soft development eco-friendly endeavors which will actually change the look and feel of the city," he said.

He said that people are willing to give time and spend their resources to improve the city.

The former CII head said Amritsar needs a two-fold plan-one to preserve and showcase the heritage in the walled city and the other to develop the Civil Lines across the rail line in a clean and green manner.

"All we want is that the government machinery should work in tandem with well meaning citizens who seek their support to make a better Amritsar. We do not seek big ticket funds, but need public servants to perform their duties. There should also be a political will to clean up and beautify the city," he said.

Finance Minister Majithia asked CII to prepare and submit a separate note on issues to be addressed separately by the state government and central government. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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