Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said Punjab had lost out on Rs 2,000 crore per year due to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s failure to present its case about the need to continue the Rural Development Fund (RDF) cess besides resisting central government’s efforts to reduce Mandi fee.

Reacting to the union government’s move to do away with the RDF altogether and reduce Mandi Fee from three per cent to two per cent, senior SAD leader Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said “it is shocking that chief minister Bhagwant Mann did not even feel it fit to take up the issue vigorously with the centre to ensure Punjab’s interests were not compromised”. He demanded the AAP government call an all party meeting to take up the issue collectively with the centre.

Prof Chandumajra said the Rs 2,000 crore annual loss to the State on this account would have severe repercussions on rural infrastructure. “All link roads used to transport food grain to Mandis as well as Mandi sheds are maintained from RDF and Mandi fee. The rural infrastructure will collapse in case the centre is denied these funds”.

Asking the chief minister to understand the serious nature of the issue, Prof Chandumajra said “earlier also your callous attitude has resulted in the several anti-Punjab measures like ousting Punjab from the BBMB management, increasing the jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km from the international border and even a move to allot land to Haryana for a separate Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh. If you had taken a stand on all these issues, the centre would not have dared to cut RDF altogether and reduce Mandi fee entitled to the State”.

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