Freight corridor has been extended up to Ludhiana: PM to industrialists

The freight corridor project has been extended from Delhi up to Ludhiana and the work will commence soon.

This was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while meeting a delegation of 16 industrialists of Ludhiana at Sutton house. The corridor at the moment is from Mumbai-Delhi, though the Punjab industrialists had demanded its extension up to Amritsar. But the PM clarified that the project had been extended up to Ludhiana only. The cost of this project was Rs 1,800 crore about five years back, and the new cost has not yet been worked out.

Talking about the demand of cycling tracks in India, the PM said, "On a trial basis, cycling tracks will be made in Indore and Jalandhar and if they will work well, we will replicate them in other cities of as well."

The industrialists came up with a demand that 100-day employment under the MNREGA can be extended to the industrial sector for entry-level workers, where in addition to the eligible amount under MNREGA, the industry can also contribute. The number of days under MNREGA can cover the training and skill development period for entry- level workers which may be subsequently regularised as normal workers. The industrialists requested to expand and regularise the Ludhiana Airport for increasing connectivity with Delhi and other places.

The industrialists discussed the issue of cross-subsidy with the PM. They said when they were purchasing power under open access from Central pool, the state is charging them an additional cost of about 85 paise per unit. The Electricity Act, 2003 has provided for the elimination of the cross subsidy in a phased manner. The PM asked the industrialists to take up this matter with state as it is a state subject.

The industry representatives requested for the early implementation of the GST. The Prime Minister said the consensus process with the states was going on to expedite implementation.

Regarding labour reforms, the industrialists said that flexibility in labour laws might be initiated. One idea given was related to flexibility in working hours. Certain countries like Germany and China have adopted flexible hours with a provision of fixing total number of working hours in a specific period say a month or a year. Similar reforms may be introduced in India too.

Prominent industrialists who met the PM were Pawan Dewan, president DCC (U), Ludhiana, Shri Pal Oswal, Kamal Oswal, Rajender Gupta, Mridula Jain, J R Singal, Sandeep Riat (Mini), Rakesh Gupta, Sanjeev Pahwa, Gurmeet Kular, Ranjodh Singh, K N S Kang, O P Munjal, S K Rai, Sanjay Gupta, Gurdeep Singh Ahluwalia, Gopi Kothari, D L Sharma and Satish Dhanda.

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