Expressing concern over the "precarious financial situation" in Punjab, Union Minister Manish Tewari today demanded that the Parkash Singh Badal government come out with a white paper clarifying whether the state was indeed headed towards bankruptcy.
"Frequent reports in the media, corroborated by ground realities, are a serious cause of concern.
"All indicators point towards financial bankruptcy with the state forced to take loans for day-to-day expenses and even employees' salaries pending since July," the Union Information and Broadcasting minister said.
It was for the first time ever that the Punjab government had had to mortgage its property with different banks to get a Rs 1,000 crore with which to pay employees' salaries, he said in a statement here.
Tewari, the Ludhiana MP, said that the situation was so serious, banks had now stopped lending money to the Punjab government.
"This is the beginning of the bankruptcy when people stop trusting your ability to repay," he said.
"It is high time that the Punjab government, instead of going into denial mode, did some soul searching lest it became too late to retrieve the situation," he said.
The state's debt had more than doubled in the last six years and was likely to cross Rs 1 lakh crore by the end of this fiscal, he added.
Badal had, however, stated yesterday at Muktsar that "there was no plan to mortgage government property to raise funds for day-to-day affairs".
The Punjab CM said that the state's finances were sound enough to meet its fiscal obligations and denied reports in a section of the media about bankruptcy.
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