Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said his government is committed to develop industrial sector in the state as promised by the Congress in its poll manifesto. He was talking to members of various industry bodies, who called him here today. The members complained about truck unions in the state, accusing them of indulging in “extortion”. They also said various government departments were “apathetic” towards them when it comes to seeking “required approvals to set up industries”.
Highlighting the plight of the industry in the state, chairman, PHD Chamber (Punjab), R S Sachdeva said the truck unions operating in several parts of the state were “creating hindrance” in the industrial growth by resorting to “extortion and intimidation”.
“The industries, primarily in the Malwa region, are being fleeced by the truck unions. They are charging 30 per cent extra as against the normal freight charges. Similar things are seen in Dera Bassi, Sangrur, Barnala, Bathinda and other parts of the state,” he alleged. Power minister Rana Gurjit Singh also sought intervention of the chief minister to regulate the workings of the truck unions.
“The Industry is facing harassment (at the hands of truck unions). This should stop now,” he said, while blaming the previous SAD-BJP government for allegedly “promoting transport and truck unions to fleece people”.
Amarinder assured the members of early resolution of their grievances. The members also pointed out the problems in VAT refund and difference in cotton prices of Punjab with that of other states like Gujarat in the wake of high local taxes.
The chief minister said revival of industry was critical for state’s growth and to attract investment. He underlined the need for collaborative efforts between the industry and the government and asserted that the new industrial policy, currently being drafted, would be implemented without delay, in all seriousness.
Amarinder also promised to look into other issues raised by the members, including delay in VAT refund and environmental clearances, and support in reviving the closed cotton ginning mills in the Malwa belt. The Power minister said the government was committed to implement its promise of power at Rs 5 per KVAH.