Congress Government Grossly Mismanaged State Finances – BJP

Shimla: The BJP today charged the Virbhadra Singh government of pushing the state into a debt trap because of grossly mis-managing the states finances in the last four and a half years.

Ashok Kapahtia, BJP spokesman said “To offset mounting fiscal distress problems, the government has been reduced into going with a begging bowl before international agencies like the World Bank.”

The BJP spokesman said that in violation of the election code of conduct the congress government thorough the office of the chief secretary was trying to make a Rs 800 crore soft loan from the World Bank, an election issue.

“However, the fact is that Rs 400 crore, which is the first installment of the soft loan would be used only for paying interest and retiring expensive debt,” said Kapahtia. “Not a single penny from this amount would go towards any kind of fresh investment in the social or commercial sector,” he added.

The government should wait and let the next government decide about it. The Election Commission has already directed that the World Bank loan agreement would not be made an election issue, he maintained

The BJP spokesman claimed that between 1998-2003, when the Prem Kumar Dhumal led BJP government was in power, the states debt burden had gone from Rs 6700 Crore to Rs 11393 Crroe, which was an increase of about Rs 4700 crore. On the other hand under the present congress government the debt burden now had more than doubled and now stands at about Rs 23,000 crore.

Kapahtia held that the Virbhadra government had failed to get any benefits from the UPA government.

“Finance minister PC Chidambaram’s announcement of a Central University and an IIT for Himachal have remained paper announcements,” he said. “Congress leaders are hesitant to mark the location of these institutions as to where they would come up,” he added.

He said that the previous BJP government had been able to expand the Railway network in the state by having getting the Una-Talwara line completed.

The congress government it its entire term had not got approval for any railway line project and even the plans being drawn for the Rs 680 crore Bhanupali-Bilaspur railway line, which earlier was agreed to be fully funded by the central government, now stands to be taken up as 25:75 state-center project, said Kapatia.

The government had assessed the natural calamity damage from the heavy monsoon at Rs 1200 crore, but no relief could be secured from the central government against it, he said.

Kapahtia charged the Congress government of even failing to protect the 10 year industrial package that the Vajpayee led NDA government had sanctioned for the state.

“Not only has the package been reduced to 7 years but even the employment generated has failed to give effective jobs for state residents,” he said.

Where as Uttaranahcal and Jammu & Kashmirs had attracted investments worth Rs 19,000 crores and 39,000 crores, Himachal drawing benefits from the industrial package had been able to corner only Rs 2,800 crore, he added.

About development of industrial sector, the BJP spokesman said, the Braotiwala-Nalagarh-Baddi industrial cluster has not been properly planned and has become congested which was now effecting the production process.

He claimed that against the mandatory 70 percent jobs reserved for Himachali’s in the industrial sector about only 35 percent had percolated down. “The state had failed to impart vocational training so as to improve employability in industry,” he said.

Industry and infrastructure had helped to prop up state growth rate to 9.3 percent but the growth of agriculture and horticulture, which sustains 70 percent of the states population, the growth was only 2 percent, said Kapahtia.

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