Cash-strapped Punjab seeks Rs 3,769-cr grant for rain plan

Written by fe Bureau | Chandigarh | Updated: Aug 29 2013, 07:50am hrs
Cash-strapped Punjab has asked the Centre to allow a one-time grant-in-aid of Rs 3,769 crore for different rainwater harvesting projects in the state.

The request for the grant-in-aid comes at a time when the state is in a financial mess and had to raise R500 crore from Canara Bank against the building of Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) called PUDA Bhawan at Mohali.

The state has not been able to pay salaries and other bills of employees on time in the past months. However, the request to the Centre says that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is keen to popularise the concept of rain water harvesting in the state. He wants it to be made mandatory in government buildings, especially in the educational and technical institutions.

It is learnt that the state irrigation department has already submitted a detailed project report to the Centre for R3,769 crore for recharging of ground water, for which Badal has taken up this matter with the Planning Commission for giving a one-time grant-in-aid to Punjab so that the depletion of ground water could be checked effectively. The project was with the Central Water Commission and the Centre for technical appraisal.

In another development, to save the farmers and farm labourers from undue exploitation at the hands of money lenders, Badal has decided to set up a Cabinet sub-committee for expeditiously paving away for enactment of Punjab Indebtedness Act, which had been long-pending.

A decision to this effect was taken by Badal in a meeting with the delegation of Bharti Kisan Union led by its state president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal here. The CM asked the financial commissioner (revenue) to put up a comprehensive proposal in the next Cabinet meeting for the composition of the Cabinet sub-committee along with the draft Bill for its consideration.