Millennium Post

Akali Dal releases manifesto, promises 20 lakh jobs

Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday released its poll manifesto, promising 20 lakh jobs and free tubewell connections to all farmers among other things.

Akali Dal president and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said if the party comes to power, it would provide 20 lakh jobs for the youth.

"All 12,000 villages in Punjab will have sewerage, water supply and complete concrete roads and gullies and solar lights. We will make Punjab villages at par with urban sectors. That is my priority," Badal told media in Ludhiana -- 110 km from Chandigarh.

"In urban areas, our focus will be on power sector. We will make electricity supply lines underground to reduce technical faults and power theft. We will strengthen security in cities, towns and villages and provide CCTV everywhere," Badal said.

To revive the state's trade sector, the Akali Dal promised that traders with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore will not require to maintain account books and will be allowed self-certification and pay lumpsum tax.

The party promised to provide free tubewells to all farmers irrespective of their landholding size. It also promised to provide free power to farmers for 10 hours daily.

It also promised to provide a Rs 2 lakh interest-free agriculture crop loan to every small farmer every year. The Akali Dal promised to give Rs 100 per quintal as fertiliser input incentive on wheat and paddy over and above the minimum support price (MSP).

It has promised to provide free two-wheelers to all girl students in Class 12 and doing graduation. All toppers among boys and girls will get full free education. All 10 toppers in Class 12 have been promised full assistance for overseas studies.

The manifesto also promised five lakh pucca houses in villages.

The Akali Dal-BJP alliance has been in power in Punjab since 2007.

The 117-member assembly goes to polls on February 4 to decide the fate of 1,146 candidates in the fray.

The main contest is between the Akali Dal-BJP combine, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
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