Akali stalwart and five times former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said here today that the centre’s decision to extend concessions to Punjab’s neighbouring hill states will “directly and fatally hit Punjab and its economy. “No one deserves these concessions more than does Punjab that has faced four active and bloody wars and is the only part of the country which is situated on a live and hostile border which even centre admits continues to be a cause of concern for national security, ” said Mr. Badal here this afternoon in a brief but sharp response to the announcement of extension of concessions to hill states. ”Weakening Punjab amounts directly to weakening national interests, especially security. Punjab has suffered a lot . And this step is bound to make us suffer more . And whether we realize it today or not, this will hurt our national interests too. ” Mr Badal requested the Government of India to either reconsider the decision or extend the same facilities to the most deserving state, Punjab also. “We are not against our brethren states. But we seek justice and fair-play and a level playing field. In a level playing field, we will prove what we are capable of.
The hard working Punjabis simply have no match.They proved it even across the country’s shores. ” Mr. Badal said that patriotic Punjabis have not only bravely and proudly waged wars for their motherland but have also endured nearly two decades of what the Government of India admits was a foreign sponsored militancy. Because of that , our economy has taken a severe hit . We were the first to deserve these concessions. It is time to put a stop to this discrimination.” The former Chief Minister said that it must realized that Punjab continues to be the target of Pakistan. “Take my word for it. Whenever Pakistan wants to bleed our country, Punjab will be their first target. Why punish the country’s strong arm? Does the country not need a strong and robust Punjab? We have repeatedly assured and proved that as long as Punjab is strong and prospering, this country has nothing to fear from its enemies. But I ask,” Is a strong Punjab not in national interest. Whatever the Congress might say, Punjab’s economy took a huge hit because of the militancy whose roots led to Congress Headquarters in Delhi and Pakistan later fully exploited. That is the truth and everyone knows it. It is time to learn from mistakes of the past and give Punjab a fair deal. A fair deal is all we ask, no favours. “ said Mr Badal.