Dhumal for more funds to develop border areas in Himachal

Shimla: Given the sensitivity of the 201 Km long international Indo-Tibet border that the state has with China, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has sought enhancement of assistance provided to develop border areas.

“A budget of Rs 20 Cr for 2011-12 was insufficient, keeping in view the tough topographical conditions much of these high altitude tribal regions faces round the year,” said Dhumal at the National Integration Council meeting at Delhi held today.

He said cost of construction along the border region was much higher than other parts of the state and could not be compared with that of plain areas on any parameter.

Dhumal said that there were 33,500 Tibetan refugees staying in Himachal and the central government needed to reimburse the costs of providing security to the Dalai Lama and 17th Karmapa.

Opposing the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparation) bill, 2011, he termed it as one that went against the federal structure of the country.

“Instead the existing law needed to be effectively implemented for dealing with communal violence,” he said.

The chief minister urged the central government to provide special package of Rs 5214 crore for the year 2011-12 and compensate the state as an under-assessment by the 13th Finance Commission had resulted in lesser devolution of funds.

The 13th Finance Commission scaled down the projected salary bill for the 2010-15 period while the actual salary expenditure growth has already escalated to Rs 2000 crore annually, putting excess financial burden on the exchequer, he said.

He also requested for a special plan assistance of Rs 2500 crore for the annual state plan for 2012-13. The borrowing ceiling which has been fixed at Rs 1647 Cr needs to be increased to Rs 2034 Cr on realistic assessments, he added.

Another demand that Dhumal put forth was for amending the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules, 2011 so that the restrictions about constructions and carrying out repairs in the protected monument zone can be relaxed.

He also sought uniform funding pattern to special category states, seeking for 90 percent share of centre government in various centrally sponsored schemes being implemented.

Dhumal also asked for sanction of two additional police battalions for the states border areas.

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