M A I N   N E W S

Capt seeks one-time debt relief
HP for excise exemption, Haryana water diversion
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today called on Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahuluwalia and urged him to bail out farmers from indebtedness by recommending a financial package.

Pleading the case to resolve the agrarian crisis on a long-term basis, the Chief Minister submitted a proposal to Dr Ahuluwalia for debt relief, which had been submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

He solicited support from the Planning Commission to three-fold measures to overcome the agrarian crisis, which included one-time settlement of agricultural loans, remunerative minimum support price for crops other than wheat and paddy and assistance for state-specific diversification programmes and initiatives.

He urged the ensuring of higher allocation of funds for development of infrastructure like power and irrigation.

Earlier addressing Chief Ministers of northern states, Dr Ahluwalia said massive investment and policy support was needed for the agricultural sector and there were huge gaps in the fields of health and education.

He said highly paying jobs were being created in the economy, but there was a shortage of skills for creating institutions which would impart quality skill development.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh sought the restoration of excise duty concessions for new industrial units coming up in the state after March 31 next on a par with Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern states.

Commenting on the draft approach paper for the Eleventh Plan, circulated by the Planning Commission, he said the excise sops were sought to be cut from this date for Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal on the grounds that they did not have locational disadvantage of connectivity.

He said the premise was not based on facts as Himachal Pradesh did not have broad-gauge rail connectivity and was also not connected by air.

Mr Virbhadra Singh cited locational, topographical and connectivity disadvantage that the state suffered from, due to which it should be given preference in setting up special economic zones to make it economically sustainable for investors.

On the performance of the state economy, Mr Virbhadra Singh said estimates for the Tenth Plan pointed to an average annual growth rate of 7.5 per cent for the state, slightly higher than the national estimate of 7 per cent.

Drawing the attention of the Centre towards a major flow of untapped water that was going to Pakistan through the Ravi, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said there was an immediate need to construct storages on the Ujh and the Basantar, tributaries of the Ravi.

“It is a matter of regret that even after signing the Indus Water Treaty in 1960, more than three million acre feet of water has been flowing to Pakistan, which is much more than the remaining portion of Haryana’s undelivered share of Ravi-Beas waters”, he said at the meeting.

He suggested that the National Capital Region be developed as a special development zone by the Centre as rapid urbanisation and industrialisation of the region was a huge drain on the scare resources of the state government.

On the water situation, Mr Hooda said, “A major requirement of the National Capital Region should be met from the Ganga waters, being a surplus basin”.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |