WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
May 20, 2017, 05.50 AM
Harsimrat Kaur, Minister in charge of Food Processing, spoke to WION on the eve of NDA completing three years in power at the Centre. Apart from speaking about her ministry's work, she also spoke freely on the issue of Kashmir and the Punjab debacle.
Harsimrat Kaur admitted that country has not been able to integrate Kashmiris as a part of India and the issue needs to be addressed. “Terrorism in Punjab ended because people said enough is enough. But interference of Pakistan in the state of Kashmir is tremendous,” she added.
When asked about the Punjab debacle, she said that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's pro-Khalistani campaign shifted urban voters away from them to the Congress Party. "They felt afraid as they felt that Punjab was going back in time," she said. The Minister also directly attacked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Punjab chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh on the issue of negative campaigning. "When we were in power, the supply was uninterrupted but now the chief minister wants to sell power to Pakistan and people know why he has not lost love for Pakistan. When WION enquired further, she said," Pakistani friends live with Chief Minister Amrinder Singh at the cost of Punjab’s exchequer. They are welcomed by him.” Harsimrat Kaur also charged Amarinder for not meeting the Canadian defence minister when he came to Punjab. "Sajjan has made us proud by becoming the defence minister of Canada and Amarinder refused to meet him, but in Canada he goes and attends Khalistani sammelans (gatherings)".
She admitted that the Shiromani Akali Dal could not wipe off the drug-centered campaign of the Congress Party. "Punjab was projected as a drug haven. Rahul Gandhi's campaign impinged on our work. But my question to Amarinder is as to what has happened to his anti-drug campaign,” she said.
Defending the move to close illegal abattoirs, she said that the government has only implemented the Supreme Court’s verdict which previous governments weren’t doing out of vote bank politics.
"The issue of abattoir is environmental and should not be mixed with community politics," said Harsimrat Kaur.
She added by saying that she is opposed to vigilantism but till now she has not received any complaint from the meat processing industry in this context.
On the issue of governance, she said that three years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been reform oriented. "We need to reduce food wastage and our attempt to build food processing clusters through the country is aimed at reducing wastage at the time of harvest and distribution,” she said. It is for this end the ministry is also organising a World Food Summit in 2017 which intends to create world class infrastructure of food processing and storage in India. “Our food processing policy will reduce inflationary pressure and our government is committed to it," she said.