Punjab Government has decided to approach the Union for a fresh loan waiver package for the farm sector as the previous edition benefited hardly one percent of the farmers across the State.

This was disclosed by the Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal who was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the State level function organised to mark the 287th birth anniversary of Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia at Patiala on Wednesday.

Mr. Badal said that Union government could not ignore the problems of Punjabi farmers who contributed more than 70 percent grain to the food kitty. He said that previous loan waiver was tailored to favour States with larger numbers of MPs.

He said that the State government has decided to exert itself to seek a package based on performance and contribution of the farmers. He said that Punjab had already sought Rs. 3500 crore grant to rejuvenate its 100 year old canal network that was backbone of agriculture sector.

Responding to a question Mr. Badal who also holds the Home portfolio said that while a close vigil was being maintained on the situation, naxalism or terrorism would not be allowed to find expression. He said that Punjab advocated special support from the Union Government for those States that could be the potential threats of from the Naxal movement. He said that Punjab had recently sought Rs. 200 crore for modernisation of the Punjab police.

Mr. Badal said that the sports policy of the State would be finalised after the ongoing deliberations with top professionals. The policy would seek to identify those games that had major potential at the International level. After Kabaddi, the Deputy Chief Minister said his focus was on Hockey and other traditional games, while Punjab was all set to introduce district level competitions in all the games with sizeable prize money as an incentive for the youth.

Earlier addressing a well attended public function Mr. Badal paid rich tributes to legendary warrior Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia who raised the flag of rebellion against injustice by Mughal and Afghan rulers in 18th century and liberated Delhi to hoist the National flag. He said that Sikh community was grateful to the Maharaja inculcating the value of excelling in basic engineering. The Punjab Cabinet would seek to set up a full fledged university dedicated in the memory of the Maharaja.

Claiming unparalleled achievements during last three years of the Akali Dal-BJP government, Mr. Badal said that infrastructure development had surpassed the collective progress in the last 62 years. He disclosed that International flights from Mohali Airport would start in December whereas domestic flights from Sahnewal Airport in Ludhiana commence start this month.

Mr Badal said that Punjab was set to become first state in the country that would have all major towns interlinked by four or six laned roads. The Cabinet was close to finalising a Rs. 2000 crore Urban Development package, while he announced a special grant of Rs. 100 crores to upgrade sewerage and water supply network of Patiala city.

While 1900 villages that were categorized as “difficult” across the State would soon have RO systems, potable water supply would be ensured to all rural areas within the next 15 months.