Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Anandpur Sahib Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra today demanded industrial concessions for Punjab as extended to the neighbouring hill states by the centre to promote industrialisation and strengthen the economy of this border state. He raised the issue of continuing discrimination with this state in the Lok Sabha today.He blamed the concessions given by the centre to the hill states for the capital flight from Punjab and migration of industry to Himachal Pradesh. He stressed the industry in Punjab was unable to compete with Himachal Pradesh and this situation had dealt a serious blow and the existing units were on the verge of closure due to losses resulting from uneven playing field. Prof Chandumajra pointed out that in the absence of fresh capital flow, further industrialisation had come to a halt thereby making the state totally dependent on agriculture which would be damaging to the state’s economy and indicative of bleak future in the long run.
He listed the discriminations meted out to Punjab since independence that included re-organisation of states on linguistic basis, keeping out Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas at the time of re-organisation, injustice in the apportionment of river waters and the industrial concessions to the neighbouring states. He said Punjab had suffered badly due to proxy war forced on the state by a neighbouring country.He referred to the damage to the environment and ecology in Punjab in its effort to provide food security to the country and the farm sector was now facing diminishing returns. The only way to put the economy back on rails was to bring Punjab at par with the neighbouring states in the matter of industrial concessions.He warned that the consequences of the impending economic disaster and staggering unemployment could be serious.