Himachal Pradesh was not anymore keen on opening Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and had reconsidered its stand on the issue because it was going against the wishes of the people, but had accorded approval to the prestigious Himalayan Ski Village project in Manali, chief minister Virbhadra Singh stated here today.
Speaking at a meet the press program, at the Shimla Press Club, Virbhadra said “the government was re-examining the issue of opening SEZ’s and was not keen to open them. If the people do not want them, we will not have them”.
When questioned about allegations of a sprawling spurious drug manufacturing industry in the state, Singh rubbished it as propaganda to defame the sector in order to seek withdrawal of tax incentives being permitted to the state.
“Himachal has become a major medicine manufacturing state but there is a lobby which is attempting to withdraw the tax incentives permitted to the state and has unleashed a propaganda to defame the pharmaceutical sector” he said.
Talking about the Rs 1350 crore loan tied up with the World Bank for developing state highways, Virbhadra informed that another loan of Rs 2,500 crore was under process, which would be used for developing other roads in the state.
About the state sinking into a debt trap, he responded that HP alongwith the North Eastern states was never created as a economically viable state and would continue to depend upon the centre for developmental funds till it became financially stable.
He said that elections to the assembly would be held as per schedule in February 2008 and BSP, (the party his bete noire Vijay Singh Mankotia has joined) would remain a fringe player in the game as there was very little space for a castist party in Himachal. Virbhadra claimed that the congress would repeat a term and would come back with a thumping majority.