A delegation of the ShiromaniAkali Dal led by the party president Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal today called on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s New Delhi residence this morning to express thanks for the Union the government’s “unprecedented and decisive” initiative in exempting Guru Ka Langar from the GST regime, and to draw the PM’s attention to several issues concerning the people of Punjab.The delegation expressed its wholehearted appreciation for the fact that the decision on “exemption on all purchases for Guru ka Langar for all Gurdwara Sahibaan throughout the country was “ a first ever initiative of its kind by the Government of India since independence.”The Prime Minister at the very outset expressed his “profound appreciation” of the fact the Shiromani Akali Dal is the oldest and the most dependable ally of the BJP in the entire country. “This is the oldest, the most durable and time-tested alliance and the BJP profoundly values it. The alliance signifies the social and political consensus in Punjab and elsewhere and is a symbol of peace and communal harmony throughout the country, especially in Punjab,” the Prime Minister observed in the course of the meeting with the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, said a party press release here this afternoon.Apart from Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akali delegation comprised Sukhdev Sigh Dhindsa, Sardar Ranjit Singh Brahampura, Sardar Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Union Cabinet Minister, Sardarni Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra and Jathedar Manjinder Singh Sirsa.The presidents of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committees, Jathedar Gobind Singh Longowal and Jathedar Manjit Singh GK respectively were also in the delegation.
The delegation also thanked the Prime Minister for the decision of the Union Government to release Rs 800 crore for cane growers of Punjab out of a total of Rs 8000 crore for the entire country. This comes as a huge relief to the beleaguered peasantry in the state, the delegation told the PM.The Shiromani Akali Dal urged the PM to expedite the implementation of the Swaminathan Report by which the farmers would be ensured of a profit margin of 50% over and above the costs incurred by them.The delegation asked the Prime Minister to set up a National Committee under his own chairmanship to ensure the 550thParkash Utsav of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji is celebrated as a major national and global event. The Prime Minister’s response was very positive.The delegation urged the Prime Minister to ensure that all Sikh and Punjab detenus who have been languishing in jails even after completing their sentence, in many cases lasting 20 years, should be immediately released. Keeping them in custody after the expiry of their sentence is both illegal and immoral.The delegation requested the Prime Minister to take up with his counterpart in Pakistan the issue of a corridor of access from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev ji. This , said the delegation, would be a befitting tribute to the great Guru during his 550th Parkash Utsav anniversary.After the meeting, Mr Badal said that the meeting with the Prime Minister was very positive and fruitful.