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Punjab flays industry tax holiday extension in hill states

Posted on Jan 16 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, Jan 16 : The Punjab government and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal Thursday slammed the central government for extending the tax holiday for industries in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand till March 2017.

Criticising the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre for extending industrial tax concessions to the two hill states, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the "Congress backstabbed the state by keeping it out of the ambit of the package, despite repeated and earnest pleas".

Badal, in a statement, said the the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decision to extend the industrial incentive special package in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand from January 7, 2013 to March 31, 2017 was clearly aimed at further derailing industrial growth in Punjab.

"The central government has hatched a conspiracy to sabotage the plans of the state government to usher in an era of industrial development by firming up more than Rs.65,000-crore investments in the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit held Dec 9-10, 2013. The UPA government is clearly working to a plan for inflicting economic devastation in Punjab through its destructive policies," Badal said.

He said Punjab being a land-locked state, having an active and hostile international border with Pakistan, had a much better claim on the tax concessions given to its neighbouring states.

"By denying this status (to Punjab), the central government has once again proved it is inimical to the interests of the state," the chief minister said.

Taunting the Punjab Congress leaders to raise their voices against their party's government at the centre for ignoring Punjab's interests, Badal asked them to stage protest.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal also dared state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa and his supporters to hold protests against the central Congress leadership.

Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said Bajwa and other Congress leaders raise hue and cry over non-issues in Punjab but are silent when the central government ignored the interests of the state.

Cheema said the central government extended the concessions to the two states because both were Congress-ruled while Punjab's demand for a package went unheard.

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