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Boost to major infra projects in city

Nod to Rs 460 cr for 24x7 water supply, new horticulture estates at Rs 40 cr, urban estate over 1,600 acres

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Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, March 10

The city has bagged a big deal in the state Budget with a much-needed boost to major ongoing and new projects conceived to benefit residents of Ludhiana.

The ongoing 24x7 canal water supply project to quench the thirst of local residents, new horticulture estate, urban estate over 1,600 acres of land, and an automotive testing in Ludhiana have got allocation in the Punjab Budget for 2023-24 presented to Vidhan Sabha by Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema in Chandigarh on Friday.

Unlike previous years, the state’s biggest and largest district, in terms of area and population, has not got any allocation for the industry, agriculture, animal husbandry, health, investment promotion, sports and youth services sectors in the Budget estimates for the next fiscal 2023-24.

An allocation of Rs 460 crore was made to undertake the ongoing canal-based water supply project, costing Rs 1,242-crore, excluding operation and maintenance for 10 years, during the next financial year. The project was being undertaken by the state government with the help of the World Bank. The allocation will also fund the similar project in Amritsar as well.

Under the ambitious project, surface-based potable water will be made available to the industrial hub of the state, which is currently groping with the problem of rapidly depleting groundwater level.

Ludhiana, also known as the Manchester of India, and Amritsar were among the two cities that had got the World Bank-funded canal-based water supply project in the state during 2021.

“A new World Bank report estimates that India will need to invest $840 billion over the next 15 years into urban infrastructure if it is to effectively meet needs of the fast growing urban population. Realising this reality, our government is focusing on urban development and strengthening of local bodies. A budgetary outlay of Rs 6,596 crore is proposed in financial year 2023-24 for Local Government and Urban Development,” the Finance Minister said.

He announced that of this, Rs 1,149 crore was proposed to be provided under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Rs 425 crore under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). Further, a provision of Rs 460 crore for surface water supply Ludhiana and Amritsar, Rs 412 crore for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Rs 250 crore for the Punjab Municipal Development Fund and an initial allocation of Rs 5 crore for the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Amritsar was proposed in the next fiscal.

To promote the area under fruit and vegetable crops in their natural growing regions, the state government announced to set up five new horticulture estates. The estates would be located in Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Bathinda and Faridkot. “I propose an allocation of Rs 40 crore in the financial year 2023-24 for the purpose,” Cheema said.

He said: “Our government has also decided to launch a new risk mitigation scheme, ‘Bhaav Antar Bhugtan Yojna’, for horticulture producers. The government would intervene to ensure right remuneration to horticulture producers whenever market prices fluctuate beyond a certain level.”

A new scheme for diversification through flower seed production would also be operationalised in the upcoming financial year.

The FM informed the House that Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has created an apple variety through tissue culture, which was suited for Punjab’s climate conditions. “In the next two years, we can expect Punjab to have its own apple orchards, which are only seen in hill states,” he asserted.

Stating that horticulture crops play a vital role in the agriculture economy, he proposed an allocation of Rs 253 crore for next financial year, which was more than double the Budget allocated in the current revised Budget estimates.

“It is my duty to tell you that Punjab has become the first state to introduce certification, traceability and block-chain technology for tissue culture potato plants by implementing the Punjab Tissue Culture Based Seed Potato Act, 2020. Further, the Punjab Fruit Nursery Act, 1961, has been amended to supply disease-free certified horticulture planting material to state nurseries,” he mentioned in his Budget speech.

The Finance Minister announced that GLADA would set up a new urban estate in Ludhiana over an area of 1,600 acres in the next fiscal. Also, a township over an area of 200 acres would be developed in Bathinda by the Bathinda Development Authority.

He said the government had decentralised powers to the level of development authorities for granting Change of Land Use (CLU), completion certificate and layout and building plans. In another such move of process simplification, the authority for approval of building plans and grant of completion certificate to the standalone industries has been delegated to the Director, Factories.

Cheema said for the first time, the government has operationalised 33 public mining sites in Ludhiana, Fazilka, Tarn Taran, Mohali, Ropar and Nawanshahr for use of sand by manual excavation for the general public and another 117 public mining sites would be operationalised soon. Also, the New Punjab State Sand and Gravel Mining Policy, 2023, has been notified by which the government has reduced pit head rates for sale of material from Rs 9 to Rs 5.5 per cubic feet to make sand and gravel affordable to the public.

To conduct the fitness of commercial vehicles with ultra-modern equipment, the FM announced to establish six automotive testing stations on build, own and operate basis in the state – Ludhiana, Mohali, Patiala, Bathinda, Faridkot and Amritsar.

He proposed a budgetary outlay of Rs 567 crore, which was an increase of 42 per cent over current Budget estimates for the transport sector, of which Rs 35 crore was for establishment/ upgrade of 28 bus stands in the state in a phased manner and Rs 48 crore has been provided for the Punjab State Road Safety Fund.


Our government has presented a Budget for the welfare of aam aadmi (common man) with no provision of any new tax and giving top priority to all core sectors, especially health, education, agriculture, employment, industry and trade. – Sanjeev Arora, Rajya Sabha AAP MP

The Aam Aadmi Party government is today completely exposed by its own admission and revelations made in the Budget, which has proved to be a harsh reality check for the government in which it has miserably failed. – Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Punjab Congress President

The AAP government has played another fraud with Punjabis by fudging figures to paint a rosy picture in the Budget but was actually leading the state to financial ruin by increasing debt and performing poorly on all parameters. – Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD President

The Budget is disappointing and disillusioning, which is not showing any new avenues of revenue. Steps were needed to address ever-worsening financial crisis in the state but unfortunately it lacks any concrete roadmap for reviving dwindling state economy.– Jaiveer Shergill, BJP national spokesperson

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