Amritsar, Dec 7 (PTI) Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here today inaugurated the 12th edition of Punjab International Trade Expos (PITEX-2017) with the promise of more steps by the state government, including a review of the new industrial policy, if needed, to ease the processes for facilitating business and industry.

In his inaugural address, the chief minister said the exposition, a joint effort of Punjab government and PHD Chamber that was initiated by him during his previous tenure (2002-2007), would pave the way for giving impetus to international trade and commerce, thus helping the state grow and making the region a hub of industrial activity.

PITEX, which will see 34 MoUs worth Rs 2,268 crore being signed to generate 13,370 jobs in the state, is expected to witness much higher footfall than last year’s 3 lakh – an indication of the new mood in the state, said Amarinder.

He pointed out that since the Congress government had taken over the state’s reins, MoUs worth Rs 50,000 crore had already been signed, with many more in the pipeline.

Reacting to the concern raised by PHD Chamber president Anil Khaitan, that as many as 32 permissions were still needed to set up a factory in Punjab, while setting up a power plant required 50, the chief minister said he would surely look into the matter and, if needed, relook the industrial policy to make sure that the ‘Business First’ philosophy is not compromised.

Lamenting that the state lost its industrial hub at the time of its division in 1966, the chief minister said his government was committed to rebuilding the same and was keen on industrial development across the state.

Pointing out that the state’s agrarian advantage continues to exist, despite the problems faced by farmers, the chief minister said Punjab had contributed 51 per cent to the country’s food stock even this year.

“It is time now to explore ways to expand the industry, which is essential for creating jobs and improving the lives of the people,” he stressed.

Citing the incentives provided under the new industrial policy, launched recently by the Congress government in the state, Amarinder Singh said the state government was ready to extend all help and cooperation to industrialists from India and abroad to invest in Punjab.

Noting that institutions like PHD Chamber were playing a significant role in promoting Punjab government’s industrial development schemes, he further said his government would extend all support to ensure the success of PITEX-2017.

Enterprising businessmen from India and other countries, visitors and buyers participating in this event would be greatly benefited, he added.

The Congress government, he said, understood the concerns of trade and industry and was continuously striving to address these issues to provide a conducive industrial environment not only in the state, but in the entire region.

Others present at the inaugural event including state government minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Media Advisor to Punjab CM Raveen Thukral, MLAs Sukhbinder Singh Sukh Sarkaria, OP Soni, Raj Kumar Verka, Tarsem Singh Attari, Sunil Datti, Harpratap Singh Ajnala, among others.

Apart from these PHD Chamber Punjab Committee Chairman R S Sachdeva was also present.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.