In a meeting with Union Minister of State for Planning, Science and Technology and Earth Science Ashwani Kumar, Chief Minister has urged the centre Government to provide a special package of Rs. 2,000 crore to Himachal Pradesh by the Government of India to meet the committed liabilities.
Chief Minister said that the interests of the State had been appreciated by the Government of India in the right perspective and Himachal Pradesh having difficult and hard topography where the development cost was much more. He said that the State was provided minimum hike of 50 percent as compared to the increase of upto 150 percent to many of the States in the country. He said that the State had been suffering due to underestimating actual needs and liabilities of the State. He said that the State had raised demand for constructing railway line upto Leh by extending the sanctioned railway line of Bhanupalli-Barmana via Mandi-Manali-Keylong to Leh in border region of Laddakh which was not only important for tourism promotion but also from defence point of view. He said that with the construction of the railway line the Defence would be saving heavily on fuels and transportation charges being incurred in carrying men and material to Laddakh region. He said that the infrastructure being developed by neighbouring country was a warning which Centre needed to taken seriously and execute the proposed Leh railway project as national importance project in a time bound manner.
Prof. Dhumal said that a number of clearances were pending with the Government of India for execution of hydro electric projects, which needed to be cleared in a time bound manner. He said that such an attitude was hampering the progress of hydro electric projects resulting into escalation in project costs. He also raised the issue of withdrawal of the Special Industrial Package given by NDA Government for ten years which was to be completed by March, 2013. He said that it was bias against States of Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand that the package was withdrawn three years ahead of its completion time and had hampered the pace of industrialization in the State. He said that the State had been contributing significantly towards the national cause but was inadequately being compensated for the same. He said that besides preserving the environment and producing best soldiers to serve the armed forces, the State had been peaceful of many of the rest.
Union Minister Ashwani Kumar appreciated the achievement of the State on environment front by successfully banning use of plastic and for being the best progressive state in North India besides best achievements in developmental and social indicators. He said that Himachal Pradesh had emerged a role model for rest of the States in the country in many aspects. He also congratulated the Chief Minister for constituting the First Regularity Authority to regulate the activities of private educational institutions and universities which would go a long way not only in protecting the interests of the youth of the State but ensuring quality education to them. He advised the Chief Minister to accord high priority to tourism sector which would generate employment and self employment avenues to the local youth. He said that Tourism had been most benign sector the world over and was growing at a rapid pace. He also advised for execution of HEP’s on priority to add to the income of state exchequer.
Union Minister of State assured the Chief Minister of all possible help to the State by taking personal interest in the proposals being moved to the Planning Commission of India.