Himachal seeks liberal financial assistance to develop border areas

Shimla, June 24 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu on Monday urged the Finance Commission to provide liberal financial assistance, besides emphasizing the need to develop the border areas for ensuring national security and basic facilities to the people to check their exodus.

Giving a presentation on financial needs to the visiting 16th Finance Commission team here, Sukhu said the state was prone to natural disasters and it should be given special preference in post-disaster management and relief. “The disaster risk index should be made on the basis of possible disasters in Himachal Pradesh and all other Himalaya region states.”

The Chief Minister informed the commission that the Central government has not yet released Rs 9,042 crore to the state for the huge losses due to heavy rain and flash floods in the last monsoon.

He said the state had been contributing in maintaining the green cover of the Himalaya region due to which the state was suffering revenue losses to the tune of thousands of crores which had never been compensated.

In the larger interest of the country, the government had imposed a complete ban on the felling of trees despite the fact that cutting of trees could earn revenue of thousands of crores.

Moreover, the state was also not being granted permission under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) since 2017.

The Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh had been playing a significant role not only in safeguarding the borders but also in the development of the nation.

The state has provided lakhs of acres of fertile land for major projects like the Bhakra dam, Pong dam and also provided water for irrigation to Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, besides power for various industries. But the state has not been getting any financial assistance for this nor has the Shanan power project been handed over to the state.

Sukhu said the state has taken various big decisions to improve the economy of the state like closing hundreds of non-functional and non-viable institutions and efforts were on to make Himachal a green energy state.

“Revolutionary steps have been initiated to strengthen the rural economy by laying special focus on agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture sectors,” he said.

The Chief Minister urged the Finance Commission to recommend liberal financial assistance for the development of the state keeping in view the tough geographical conditions, apart from the state’s contribution to the nation.

Earlier, Chairman of the Finance Commission Arvind Panagariya, in his opening remarks lauded the achievements of the state, especially in the education and health sectors.



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