Political parties in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday pleaded separately for package to the “debt-ridden” state before 15th Finance Commission, which is here to assess the financial scenario.
The BJP called for a special economic package for debt ridden Himachal, the Congress Legislative Party demanded one time bailout package while the CPI-M pointed out that Himachal had yet not got its rights envisaged in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 in terms of revenue shares in the joint assets.
Led by state president, Satpal Singh Satti, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urged special economic package for the state. Satti said the hill state does not have many sources of income and has to take loan for development to match the aspirations of people. The state is under the debt of Rs 48,000 crore at the moment. He requested the Commission members to consider a special economic package for Himachal to improve its financial state.
Satti highlighted that the state suffers huge losses every year due to natural calamities. This year, the losses have touched Rs 3000 crore. “We urge you to increase the annual relief amount of Rs 200 crore for the state. Himachal must be given special relief package to losses.”
The ruling party pointed out that oustees of Pong and Bhakra dam were from Himachal, but the benefits went to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The state has not got its due from the two projects.
The BJP also demanded better air connectivity and rai lway expansion in Himachal.
The Congress MLAs led by the Congress Legislative Party Leader, Mukesh Agnihotri said the state was reeling under the debt of Rs 47,000 crore. “One time grant should be given to come out of the debt at once,” the MLAs said.
Agnihotri took up the cause of 70 National Highways declared by the Central government and said Rs 65,000 crore should be provided for the same to Himachal. Agnihotri brought it to the notice of Commission that Himachal had not got its due from the BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board) even after the Supreme Court’s decision in this regard. He said the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan should be compelled to release the share of Himachal (which comes out to be Rs 25,000 crore as per Supreme Court’s order.”
The Congress MLAs also demanded industrial package for the state on lines of North Eastern states.
The CPI (M), in its note to the 15th Finance Commission, urged for increase in the Central Relief Fund from 5 to 10 per cent, keeping in view the natural calamities in tough terrain of Himachal.
The party urged the Commission to consider the state’s request of levy of ten paisa tax per unit of power generated in HP.