Himachal CM raises state issues with PM, FM

Himachal CM raises state issues with PM, FM

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about issues pertaining to the state and sought their support for its development today.

Virbhadra Singh who called on Modi and Jaitley at New Delhi for the first time after the new government took over described the meeting as a "courtesy call", but said important issues of the state were discussed during separate meetings with Modi and Jaitley.

Singh congratulated the Prime Minister on his taking over as 15th Prime Minister of India and said people of Himachal have high hopes and expectations from the new government.

"The state has a narrow resource base and people craving for development are also equally concerned about preserving the environment and cultural heritage of the state," he said.

Raising the issue of uniform funding of centrally sponsored projects in Himachal in the ratio of 90:10 (90 per cent Central grant and ten percent state share) as applicable to all hill states, Singh also urged the PM for revival of special industrial package to the state and restore the Income Tax exemption for five years and Central Excise exemption for ten years on new industries in the state till 2020.

Singh also apprised the Prime Minister about state's potential in hydropower, eco tourism and other eco-friendly industries and said that efforts were being made to involve public and private sectors to tap the potential.

Virbhadra raised the issue of construction of Shongtong-Karcham Hydro-electric project (450 MW) being executed by HP Power Corporation in tribal Kinnaur.

He informed Modi that the Army had stalled the construction work on the pretext that the Army Ammunition Depot at Powari was located near the project site.

Pending issues like subsidised helicopter services on the analogy of northeastern states, construction of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri railway line and declaring it as a National Project, and grim financial situation due to underestimation of state's liabilities by 13th Finance Commission were also raised.

The Chief Minister also raised issues pertaining to the funding pattern under centrally sponsored schemes, strategy for infrastructure development for northwestern Himalayan states, special package of industrial incentives, subsidised helicopter services and extension of railway network in the state during his meeting with Arun jaitley.

He also sought uniform funding pattern for centrally sponsored schemes, particularly the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meals Scheme, Indira Awas Yojna, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Ambulance Service under NHM.

Pointing out at the detailed strategy for development of infrastructure of Roads, Railway and Airports mentioned in the 12th Five Year Plan Document of the Planning Commission for the northeastern states, Virbhadra said there was no mention of any such strategy for northwestern Himalayan states.

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