Virbahdra with Modi

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh called on Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at New Delhi and apprised about the various issues pertaining to the Hill State of Himachal Pradesh. It was a curtsey call.

While congratulating Narendra Modi for assuming the post of 15th Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister said that the people of Himachal Pradesh had great expectations from the Government of India as the State had its own limited resources. The people were committed for the development of the State and equally concerned about preserving the salubrious environment and cultural heritage of the State.

The Chief Minister particularly raised the issue of funding pattern of the centrally sponsored schemes on the uniform pattern of 90:10 for all special category States and Himachal Pradesh was one of them. He also requested for revival of special package of industrial incentives for the State particularly the Income Tax exemption for Five years and Central Excise exemption for ten years on new industries in the State till 2020.

Virbhadra Singh also apprised the Prime Minister about the potential available in the various sectors particularly in the field of Hydro, Eco Tourism and other Eco friendly industries in the State. He said that efforts were being made to involve public and private sectors to tap the potentials and said that the special intervention of Govt. of India was vital in this regard.

Chief Minister requested for subsidized helicopter services on the analogy of North-Eastern States. He also raised the issue of construction of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri railway line and requested for declaring this project as a National Project on the analogy of Railway Projects in other Hilly States.

The Chief Minister also apprised the Prime Minister about the grim financial situation of the State Govt. due to the underestimation of committed liabilities by the 13th Finance Commission, which capped the expenditure on salary at very low side which resulted into the grim financial position. He requested for special intervention in this matter and requested for advising the Planning commission to provide special assistance under the special Central assistance and special Plan Assistance.

He also raised the issue of construction of Shongtong-Karcham Hydro-electric Project (450 MW) being executed by H.P. Power Corporation Limited in the Tribal district of Kinnaur. He apprised that Army Authorities under the Ministry of Defence had stalled the construction work of this project due to the nearby location of the Army Ammunition Depot at Powari. The matter was subjudice and requested for special intervention of Prime Minister in this regard.

The Prime Minister sympathetically listened to the issues raised by the Chief Minister and assured all possible help and support to the hill state of Himachal Pradesh.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.