The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it was unfortunate that Punjab had failed to use the Niti Aayog meeting presided over by the Prime Minister to make a claim for special funds for the State as well as an action plan to take its farm economy out of the red.
In a statement here, MP and SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said all except three chief ministers, including Capt Amarinder Singh, attended the meeting of the Niti Aayog which was held yesterday to set goals for 2022. He said it was unfortunate that at a time when a vision document for the next fifteen years was being discussed the Punjab CM was absent due to unspecified reasons. "We must jettison this casual approach and engage actively with the centre to continue the development narrative initiated by the SAD-BJP government”, he advised.
Dhindsa said other chief ministers had used the occasion to highlight the problems being faced by the State as well as focus on their future demands before the members of the Niti Aayog as well as the PM. "Mehbooba Mufti even used the occasion to highlight the problems being faced by Kashmiri students in various educational institutions outside Jammu and Kashmir and the PM immediately asked all CMs to look into the issue. "Punjab could have also used this occasion to find an immediate solution to the farm crisis in the State with suicides increasing manifold. Issues concerning the youth and industry could also have been taken up for immediate redressal but Capt Amarinder’s inability to attend the meeting robbed the State of this opportunity”.
The senior Akali leader also reminded the Chief Minister that there was a lot of difference between speaking before such an august gathering too put across the State’s view point and submitting a memorandum which was deemed to the read. "The chief minister should have told Punjabi's as to why he could not attend the meeting instead of making vague excuses even though he was stated to be in Delhi at the time of the meeting. It is unfortunate that the Congress government has chosen to put its faith in a PR hand out to list its demands instead of putting the points across in the meeting by attending the same”, he added.
Stating that the people wanted results and expected the new Congress government to deliver, Dhindsa said the government should put its act together and start delivering instead of submitting memorandums. "For starters the government should announce a complete loan waiver as promised to farmers. It should also increase all social welfare pensions to Rs 2,000 per month as promised and give an unemployment dole of Rs 2,500 per month to youth. If the government takes these preliminary steps Punjabi's will have reason to believe that it will fulfill all its promises. But if the new government continues to delay implementation of these promises by submitting memorandums to the centre and making committees it will become clear that it does not have any intention to deliver on them”, he added.