PSUs considered backbone of economy, don't weaken them: Baghel

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Jagdalpur, Jan 26 (PTI) Apparently targeting the Centre, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday said attempts are being made to weaken PSUs which are considered the backbone of Indias economy and reaffirmed his governments intention to buy the upcoming steel plant of NMDC in Bastar in case of its disinvestment.

Addressing a gathering after unfurling the tricolour at Lalbagh Parade grounds in Jagdalpur, the headquarters of Bastar district, on the 72nd Republic Day, he said his governments three-pronged strategy of trust, security and development has helped in curbing Naxal-related incidents and other criminal offences.

He lauded scientists for developing vaccines against coronavirus and appealed to people to make the ongoing inoculation drive a huge success.

PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) are the backbone of Indias economy. Ironically, attempts are being made to weaken this backbone, the Congress leader said in a veiled criticism of the Modi government's disinvestment programme.

We have passed a resolution in the legislative assembly (during the recent winter session) stating that if attempts are made to sell Nagarnar Steel Plant (of NMDC) to private players, the state will buy it.

Today, I reiterate this pledge in front of you, he said.

In October last year, the Union government approved demerger of the under-construction Nagarnar Steel Plant (NSP) from NMDC, a PSU, and its strategic disinvestment by selling the entire stake of the Centre to a strategic buyer.

We are committed to protect your water, forest, land as well as your resources, he said.

In an apparent reference to the Centre's new agri- marketing laws which are facing stiff opposition from sections of peasants, the CM said his government is committed to the welfare of cultivators.

Our Constitution ensures protection to the rights of farmers, villagers and general public, but if any new law comes in the way of this system, then it is the responsibility of the state government to deal with such a challenge.

'We have rendered this responsibility by bringing the Chhattisgarh Krishi Upaj Mandi (Amendment) Bill, Baghel said.

The bill was passed by the assembly in October last year during which the state government had said it is aimed at protecting the interest of farmers from the newly enacted agri laws of the Centre.

Baghel highlighted the achievements of his government in agriculture, electricity, health, education, infrastructure and other sectors, and criticised the previous BJP dispensation.

We came to power (after the 2018 assembly polls) with a huge mandate but then we found (state) treasury empty.

People were waiting for justice.

'Long-term development-oriented steps were taken with an aim to provide relief to people. We confronted the situation with what we have learned from the rich legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Shastri, Patel, Azad and Dr Ambedkar, the chief minister said.

The wheels of development continued to roll in the state even during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Baghel said. PTI TKP RSY RSY