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Centre's move to withhold Punjab's RDF unfortunate: Amarinder

Questioning the timing of the Centre's move, the chief minister said there was no precedent to not releasing the RDF that was due to the state during scrutiny of the utilisation of previous funds. The CM said he has asked his Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal to go to Delhi to meet the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs to resolve the issue, which has hit the state hard amid the fiscal crisis it is facing.

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 29-10-2020 19:18 IST | Created: 29-10-2020 19:18 IST
Centre's move to withhold Punjab's RDF unfortunate: Amarinder

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday described the Centre's move of putting the state's rural development fund on hold as “unfortunate” and said it will hit development work in villages. In a statement here, he urged the Centre to review its decision. The Union government has put the rural development fund (RDF) on hold by seeking to “scrutinise” its utilisation. Punjab charges three per cent of the minimum support price of wheat and paddy as the RDF from buyers. Questioning the timing of the Centre's move, the chief minister said there was no precedent to not releasing the RDF that was due to the state during scrutiny of the utilisation of previous funds.

The CM said he has asked his Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal to go to Delhi to meet the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs to resolve the issue, which has hit the state hard amid the fiscal crisis it is facing. The state government will submit all utilisation details as sought by the Centre as it has done in the past, he said.

While this is not the first time the government of India had gone for a scrutiny of the utilisation funds, this was, however, a first as far as non-release of RDF is concerned, he said expressing serious concern over the development. The CM said doubts are being raised in various quarters about the timing of the Union Cabinet's decision not to release to Punjab its due RDF to the tune of more than Rs 1,000 crore at the present juncture amid the controversy and crisis over the farm laws. “The timing is suspect and points to dubious motivation behind the move”, he said, urging the Centre to immediately reconsider and give the state's dues.

The funds, as the Centre is well aware, are used for developing critical agriculture marketing infrastructure like construction of roads in rural areas of the state, marketing yards, said the chief minister..


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