Have been begging for central projects, keen on plan to set up rail industry: CM

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said that the SAD-BJP government in the state would respond "immediately and positively" to any central proposal to set up a railway industry in the state.

"We are in fact keen on any such proposals from all central ministries. In fact, we have been begging for it," Badal said in a statement here. Responding to a statement by Union Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal regarding the Centre setting up railway industries in Punjab, if the state government facilitated land for the purpose, Badal said, "It will be a great news if at all the Centre sticks to it. We will follow it up with the railways ministry. I will personally write to and meet Union Minster Bansal in this regard," he said.

The Punjab chief minister said the state government had been pressing for more central projects in the state for long, but the pleas have gone unheard.

"I believe that with four Punjab ministers in the Union Cabinet, Punjabis have a right to expect that the past will change and that the present government will provide us with an industrial bonanza. Unfortunately, our experience has been very disappointing, so far. But, I am willing to look beyond that," he added.

Badal also said that there is an urgent need for the setting up of agro-based industries in the state.

"With the prospects of expansion in international trade with Pakistan and the rest of the world through the Attari-Wagah border land route, we would certainly need more and more units to diversify our economy," he said.

The Punjab chief minister asked the central government to give a push to agri-value addition, so that the farmers can break away from the paddy-wheat rotation and the state's economy could branch out into fresh business zones.

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