CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today sought a 'special category' status for Punjab to facilitate restoration of the 90:10 sharing pattern for Centrally sponsored schemes, to enable the state to expedite its development programmes.
At a meeting here with NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, the chief minister also reiterated the state's demand for central assistance for development, including a special package for border areas and river protection along the border, in the interest of national security.
Describing the meeting as a preliminary one, an official release said the chief minister underlined the need for differential treatment for Punjab in view of its active border, with a hostile neighbour, and dense population.
Pointing out the the sharing pattern for Punjab had been changed to 50:50, Singh called for it to be restored to the original 90:10, which is now applicable only to special category states.
In this context, he called for inclusion of Punjab in the list of special category states, on account of its "volatile" border.
He again raised the issue of central support for loan waiver for Punjab farmers and financial assistance to check burning of crop residue, while seeking a special package for modernisation of irrigation infrastructure.
Singh also underlined the need for central assistance in conservation and more efficient use of ground water, which is fast depleting, leading to critical shortage of water for irrigation purposes in the state, the statement said.
The issue of execution of the much-delayed PGI Satellite Centre project at Ferozepur was also raised by the chief minister during the meeting.
Sanctioned more than four years ago, the project is yet to take off, depriving the people of the region of some much-needed medical facilities, Singh told Kumar.
The chief minister sought the Centre's support in coverage of operation and maintenance of Rural Water Supply scheme under MGNREGA to help the state government fast-track the supply of this critical resource to the villages.
Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal were also present.