Centre's Help Sought For Rejuvenating J&K Industry, Dal Lake

27 March 2009
The Hindu

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has made a strong case with the Centre for rejuvenating the industry, especially the power sector, in the state, and has also thrown in a demand for beautifying Dal Lake. During his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday, Mr. Omar sought extension of PM's Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) till the end of 11th Plan in 2011-12 as bigger projects like strengthening of Transmission and Distribution network and Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana need more time for completion, a state government spokesman said here. The Chief Minister also sought release of funds allocated for 2008-09 as part of the Power Reforms Grant, a special dispensation given by the Central government as the same has not been released yet. Mr. Omar requested for early release of funds as the state was in the midst of improvement of power infrastructure, besides pitching for continuation of reforms grant for the next six years. The Prime Minister enquired from Mr. Omar about the progress of the Kishenganga project and added that he was happy to learn that the implementation of Ladakh power project was progressing well, the spokesman said in a release. The Chief Minister also asked Singh to consider draft Annual Plan for the next fiscal proposed by the state government. The management of lakes in the state also figured during the talks as the Chief Minister demanded revision of funds Conservation and Management Plan for Dal-Nagin Lake in Srinagar under the National Lake Conservation Plan. Additional funds were required for procuring lake cleaning machines, structures with in lakes and acquisition of land for the same, the Chief Minister said. Mr. Omar also called for restoring the Central package of incentives for the industrial sector through which central excise was exempted for the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector in the State. He said that although a new package has been made available to the north-east from April 1, 2007, the same has not been extended to Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Omar said the state was losing competitive edge over other states in the country where an industrial unit is 100 per cent exempt from payment of Central excise. While taking up the issue of allocation of coal block, the Chief Minister said the State should be allowed to set up thermal power plants at the pit-head. He also took up the issue of financing Baglihar-II on the pattern of Baglihar-I for which Rs 2,500 crore is required. Mr. Omar also sought additional allocation of 20,000 MT of food-grains for the State.