Uttarakhand seeks Rs.10,000 crore central package

Lucknow, Nov 28 (Inditop.com) Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Saturday sought a Rs.10,000 crore annual package from the central government for the upkeep of the state’s natural heritage.

“Such a grant is needed in the larger interest of maintaining the environment of the Himalayas and for preventing pollution of the rich rivers that are a source of water for a large part of the nation,” Pokhriyal told reporters here.

“We also need to arrest the unabated exodus of our youth from those parts of Uttarakhand that share international borders with China and Nepal,” he added.

The state shares a 373-km long border with China and a 250-km long border with Nepal.

Pokhriyal also sought a 10-year extension of the central government’s “special industrial package”, granted to the Himalayan state at the time of its creation in 2000, with a view to promoting industrialisation there.

The special package that entails several tax holidays besides subsidised land and other incentives is currently available up to 2010.

He also thrashed out a number of key issues that were hanging fire between Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh ever since it was carved out of the latter nine years ago.

Pokhriyal, who arrived here Saturday morning, had a two-hour discussion with his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Mayawati at her official residence here.

The meeting was preceded by a prolonged meeting between the chief secretaries of the two states.

“Of the various issues pending to be settled between the two states, the most urgent was our need for 4,000 policemen we were to get from Uttar Pradesh,” Pokhriyal said.

Since a lot of practical legal hurdles were witnessed in transferring the services of these policemen, “it has been agreed upon that we will go for our own recruitment,” the chief minister said.

However, considering Uttarakhand’s immediate need for policemen for conducting the forthcoming Kumbh Mela in January, Mayawati has agreed to depute as many policemen from Uttar Pradesh as possible.

“We are really grateful to Mayawatiji for giving due consideration to our urgent requirement for cops to man the Kumbh Mela, where nearly 50 million people were expected to converge,” Pokhriyal said.