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Sukhbir Badal bats for liberal trade between two Punjabs

Posted on Nov 03, 07:38PM | IANS

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal Saturday asked the centre to unshackle economic laws impeding growth and said a more liberalised trade with Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border would transform the economy of North India.

"Punjab is waiting for the day when it would be allowed to export its agriculture produce, including wheat and paddy directly to Pakistan, Central Asia and Iran through road route," Badal said, addressing the 'Invest North' convention here.

"Once given status of full port and allowed import and export of 6,000 items, it could change the total economic profile of North India," he told the meet, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Badal aid during his visit to Pakistan starting Monday he would explore possibilities of strengthening trade ties between East and West Punjab.

He also urged the union government to expedite talks for laying oil pipelines from Iran and Kazakhstan to India that could reduce energy bills substantially.

He said Punjab is improving its infrastructure, road and air connectivity and making state power surplus to attract investments in the state.

According to him, the state government is planning to give industrial status to hospitality, health and real estate sector in a bid to attract Rs.1 lakh crore investment in the next four years.

Badal said that the confidence of foreign institutional investors in India could be restored by creating transparency in decision-making, as well as minimising the discretionary powers of the authorities.

"Punjab government realizing the same problem had set up governance reforms commission and on its advise had brought in historical changes in the state laws besides ensuring transparency in the decision making process," Badal said.

For example, the Punjab government is creating transpreancy by making e-tendering mandatory, which could lead to saving 20-30 percent on project costs by breaking the nexus between engineers and contractors.