Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today directed the department of industries to provide the same concessions to existing industries as are being proposed for the new ones setting up business under the state’s new industrial policy. The directive came during a meeting with a CII delegation led by Sumant Sinha, Chairman Northern Region, which called on the Chief Minister here to discuss ways and means of promoting ease of doing business in the northern states, particularly Punjab, which currently ranks 12th in the country on this count, an official spokesman said.
The chief minister stressed that his government was striving to bring Punjab to number 1 in terms of doing business and invited suggestions from CII to make the state more attractive as an investment destination. The two sides agreed to set up a joint task force for more and continuing dialogue between the industry and the state government, which is currently working on a new industrial policy to promote a favourable investment environment in Punjab, the spokesman said.
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The chief minister accepted the CII delegation’s suggestion to ensure a level playing field for industries that had continued to operate in the state. The chief minister issued immediate instructions to the concerned officials to incorporate this in the new industrial policy, which the department of industries is working on, and to which the CII is contributing through certain important suggestions in the interest of industrial promotion in the state, he said.
The CII suggested to the chief minister steps to promote agro-based food processing industry and small-scale industry in the state. The delegation also suggested improving the power supply, as well as infrastructure development and air connectivity to boost industry in Punjab. The delegation underlined the need for air connectivity with Ludhiana — the industrial hub of the state — while also suggesting increase in the number of flights to the city with the installation of Instrument Landing System (ILS) to ensure smooth landings, he said.
ILS helps pilots land their aircraft in a more controlled manner. While expressing concern over frequent load shedding due to poor distribution of electricity, the CII delegation appreciated the state’s move to provide power to the industry at a lower tariff of Rs 5 per unit. The chief minister told the delegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had responded positively to his proposal to sell power to neighbouring Pakistan.
In fact, the chief minister revealed, the prime minister had indicated that Punjab should explore other trade options also with Pakistan. The CII delegation expressed concern over the central government’s proposed zero liquid discharge policy, saying it would have an adverse impact on the industry.
The chief minister suggested promotion of rain water harvesting in residential areas since, as pointed out by CII, the industry was not allowed to harvest rain water for fear of dumping of liquid discharge. He also asked the industry department to see how rain water harvesting could be introduced for industries.