Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was here to lay the foundation stone for an AIIMS, to extend a helping hand to food growers in "this hour of agrarian crisis". He impressed upon the Prime Minister to help in Ethanol production from maize to enhance income of farmers as wheat and paddy cultivation were no longer financially viable. Badal urged Modi to encourge setting of industrial units for paddy straw processing to give fillip to income of farmers and also confirm a date for inauguration of AIIMS. Talking of the foundation laying ceremony for AIIMS at Bathinda, Badal said, "This was possible because the NDA government was at helms of affairs at the centre and state.
The previous Congress governments deliberately denied Punjab its legitimate share in such projects. Envisioning the state as a hub for quality healthcare, diagnostic, treatment and research, Badal said path breaking initiatives have been taken in these fields. "These steps would reverse the trend of patients going to other states for treatment of cancer. Now patients would visit Punjab for quality treatment," he said. Assailing Congress leaders for "misleading" people on loan waivers, he said this step was practically not feasible and they were issuing frivolous statements to attain power. Addressing the gathering, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the AIIMS will prove a "game changer" for the state's health sector He also informed the Bathinda airport would be made operational on December 11. Claiming AAP will be out for a "duck" in the 2017 assembly polls, Sukhbir alleged, "This party is responsible for sacrilege of holy scriptures of the Quran and backstabbing farmers in Punjab in the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link canal issue." On the SYL issue, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal reiterated not a single drop of water will be allowed to be taken from Punjab.
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