Centre announces mega projects for Punjab
The government today announced setting up of mega projects in the state of Punjab, whose results would prove to be a boon for the Congress-led Amarinder government to overcome anti-incumbency factor when Assembly polls in Punjab are due next year. President A P J Abdul Kalam has always made continuous efforts to make the country a significant player in the knowledge era. With a strong focus on igniting young minds he today announced that government had decided to create new centres of excellence in basic sciences, on the lines of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, at Kolkata, Pune and in Punjab. “The government is keen on increasing investment in R & D, both in the public and private sectors so that India can emerge as a significant player in the knowledge era”, Dr Kalam said.
Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla welcomed & appreciated the Centre’s decisions. As told to The Tribune, “With the sanctioning of a Indian Institute of Science for the state, which will be set up near Chandigarh — either around Mohali or in Zirakpur-Banur belt, the state will be able to attract knowledge-based high-tech industries.” It is expected to be promoted as a centre of excellence in basic sciences, where research activities could be taken for the new areas. Mr Singla said, “It will be the first institute of its kind in North India, on the pattern of Bangalore, and would cost hundreds of crores. Financial provision for the project is likely to be announced in the Centre’s Budget later this month.”
The other mega projects announced include setting up of a high-capacity freight corridor from Ludhiana to Sonnagar in West Bengal to link the state to eastern ports providing a link to the industry and agriculture sector. The economic development of a region is generally determined by the level of it’s industrial development . Punjab which has done remarkably well in the field of agriculture is now well on its way to rapid industrialization
The plantation of BT cotton and other genetically modified crops is also likely to get a boost, as Dr Kalam announced to set up a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority, allaying aside any doubts about the future of GM crops. The authority will act as a nodal point for release, import and post-release monitoring of GM crops and seeds. Industrial units in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and other towns are also likely to benefit, as the government is to launch a “ten-year national manufacturing initiative to make the manufacturing sector prime driving force for employment and economic growth.” The President said, “Emphasis will be placed on labour-intensive sectors such as textiles and garments, leather and leather goods, food processing, IT hardware and electronics and auto components.”
The Centre has also agreed to set up a special economic zone in Amritsar, which would provide new markets to the industry in the neighbouring country besides in far Central Asian countries through road route. Two other SEZs for IT and pharma sector has already been sanctioned for Mohali. This is a key step considering the improvement in relations with Pakistan.
Keeping in view the coming state Assembly elections next year, the Congress government in the state is making all out efforts to attract maximum number of Central projects. The state’s annual plan has already been pegged at Rs 4,000 crore. Whether Amarinder’s government sticks to the office or not, only time will tell but if the above mentioned projects materialize in an effective manner, the overall economy & infrastructure of Punjab will definitely get a boost