Appreciating the Captain Amarinder Singh led government’s holistic approach to the problems of Agriculture, Water and Power, the World Bank on Wednesday offered to sponsor the state’s projects for finding comprehensive long-term solutions in these critical areas.Punjab was the only state that was talking about an integrated solutions-based approach to the problems relating to Water, Agriculture and Power, said World Bank Country Director India, Junaid Ahmad, who met the Punjab Chief Minister here along with a delegation.If Punjab wins the challenge of water, energy and agriculture, it would set an example for the world for shifting from narrow based projects to more complex and comprehensive ones, said Junaid Ahmad.Other delegation members included Sumila Gulyani, Program Leader, Sustainable Development; Bhavna Bhatia, Lead Operations officer, Governance Global Practice; John Blomquist, Program Leader, Human Development; Chakib Jenane, Lead Agriculture Economist; Kavita Saraswat, Sr Power Engineer and Mohinder Gulati, Energy Sector Expert.The Chief Minister informed the delegation that providing potable water across the state, especially in parts of Southern Punjab, was a major challenge as the ground water table was depleting day by day due to the vicious circle of wheat and rabi. Pollution of river water had touched alarming levels, he said, adding that industrial and municipal wastes had badly affected the river waters.
Captain Amarinder sought assistance from the World Bank in strengthening the state government’s efforts to combat the problem of water depletion and pollution, and provide clean drinking water and better sanitation facilities to the people.The Chief Minister also emphasised the need for improvement in the traditional methods of agriculture, besides motivating the farmers to shift away from wheat and paddy crops.
The Chief Minister took up the issue of managing urbanisation in the state, which the World Bank team pointed out could be done either with the existing model followed by India or the China model, where Mayors were appointed as Managers.On the issue of Power, the Chief Minister urged the team to extend help to the state government for further diversification into renewable energy sources, such as Solar, Gas based and Wind power. The Chief Minister said the state had received offers from various companies, including GE, for setting up gas based power plants.Prominent amongst those present in the meeting included Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Media Advisor to Chief Minister Raveen Thukral, Chairman Punjab Farmers Commission Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary Local Government A Venu Prasad and Special Secretary Finance Dr. Abhinav Trikha.