‘We got NRIs to pool $100 million for Vikshit Amritsar’: Taranjit Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh News


Like the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. B.B.T. He once again showed his faith in Taranjit Singh Sandhu (61), a former diplomat and member of the Amritsar parliament.Former Indian Ambassador to the US and Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka shares his vision with Sanjeev Verma about Amritsar’s future strategy and issues

what is your vision punjab What are the main issues you are approaching voters with?
My initial focus is on Amritsar and its development. Even though many years have passed and it has become one of the top cities in India after independence, Amritsar is facing major problems today. It starts with law and order, then includes extortion, shooting, robbery, theft, harassment of women, especially chain pulling. Amritsar is famous for its gourmet food, and in the past, many people used to go out at night, but now there are very few people going out at night. The second major problem is drugs in both urban and rural areas. Many fathers have lost sons to drugs. Young people have energy and we need to harness it. Additionally, unemployment and low-income problems are increasing in urban and rural areas. All of this needs to be addressed immediately, and that’s what I’m focused on.

What is the ‘Vikshit Amritsar Initiative’ that you are leading with NRIs?
The Vikshit Amritsar initiative is being led by a group of NRIs, many of whom belong to Amritsar. They announced support for start-ups and development-oriented entrepreneurs in Amritsar. We raised USD 100 million (approximately Rs. 830 million rupees) and have since invested in projects across development issues including health, tourism, agriculture, industry, commerce, skills development, education, information technology, and housing construction. We are calling for applications. There is a housing problem in this constituency. It also focuses on women and youth entrepreneurs. This includes the USISPF (US-India Strategic Partnership Forum), led by Mukesh Agi and Fitch (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). They had held their first meeting in Amritsar on April 2.

Expanding

BJP failed to win Amritsar Lok Sabha. Constituency for the last three elections, including by-polls. Isn’t it difficult for local voters to have confidence in you since you had left Punjab throughout your professional career until a few months ago?
I don’t think so because I have been successful in my previous position. We have seen that our relationship with the United States has turned into a partnership with India. Significant investments from well-known companies are flowing into India, including in the semiconductor and solar power sectors. If you look at Google, Microsoft, and IBM, they are starting to develop talent. So, I think we can bring those connections for the development of Amritsar like the Vikshit Amritsar Initiative. I also think that many of these problems, including sanitation and water, can be solved through technology. Sanitation and water are mixed in Amritsar and now he is 2024. If we take the example of Indore, in six years it has transformed into one of the most beautiful cities in India. I have a clear vision. Similarly, connectivity is important. Amritsar receives 1.5 million tourists every day, and if we can convert them into tourists, we can expect a huge economic impact. Similarly, Amritsar products can be connected for export. A year and a half ago, I connected Hero Cycles with Walmart. Although it’s down, we also have lots of socks and wool. Just write that the product is from Amritsar. He says there are a million Punjabi Baichharas who want to buy such products for emotional reasons.

Like most leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Punjab, you too are facing protesting farmers and black flags. How do you deal with this?
I think that’s a rather biased protest. I go to the village with a vision. The main objective is to increase farmers’ income, and I he proposed three very clear solutions. If there is anything we can do to contribute to farmers, we would appreciate it. As I said earlier, the most important thing is to increase farmers’ incomes, whether by industry, cooperatives, or labor unions. And they (farmers) are listening.

Farmers also hope that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government will solve their problems if voted to power again, having failed to find a permanent solution to their problems before the assembly elections. That leaves me wondering how I can be so sure.
I’m confident. I don’t know what you mean that they (the Center) could not solve the problem. Look at MSP (minimum support price). Compare the rate of increase in MSP during the Modi era with previous governments. You’ll see the difference, because the statistics speak for themselves. Even now, there is MSP for wheat and the selling price is higher than that. The problem is that we need to improve the productivity of our products. Secondly, Amritsar grows a lot of vegetables and fruits. Those fruits should be exported. Check out the sale prices in Amritsar, Dubai and UK. Overseas, you’ll see a clear difference of at least 15-20 times. So, since Amritsar has an international airport and only 20% of the cargo facilities are used here, why should we not export it? There are no agro-processing facilities for matar (peas) or nashpatis (pears) due to the presence of ‘pasarnag’. It needs to be put on the market. Therefore, I focus on issues that move people and increase income.

Bandi Singh’s release is a big issue in Punjab, especially in your constituency. Do you think such inmates, who have completed more than 30 years in prison, are a threat when released? Most of them have problems while out on parole or furlough, or even in prison. I have never had this happen.
This issue is being handled in court, so let those responsible make a decision on it. This is a legal issue that I don’t want to touch on. During my campaign, no one raised this issue with me.

Akal Takht and SGPC are headquartered in Lok Sabha constituencies. People are raising questions as to why his BJP-led NDA government did not hold his SGPC elections after his last five-year term ended in December 2016.
I think the SGPC was a very progressive organization. Looking back at its history at the time of its founding, it was the first organization to give women the right to vote. Since then, SGPC has undertaken many progressive activities, including providing scholarships to students. Among them was Partap Singh Kairon. I think the SGPC needs to do the people and welfare oriented work it was doing before. As far as elections are concerned, there are courts to monitor them. I think they are the ones who can best answer this question.



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