Omar Meets FM, Seeks NE-2007 Package For J&K13 February 2010
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah today called on Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee here and presented case of J&K for extension of North-East Package-2007 to the State as well, apart from already operational package of 2002. He said it is the concern of entire country to bring out the State from all such industrial ailments which were caused as a result of two decade turmoil. The Chief Minister said it is the endeavor of his Government to ensure massive investment in the sectors of Industry and Commerce in the State so that better and respectable employment opportunities are created for the youth. He said as per 2002 package given to the State, hundred percent excise refund is provided and therefore the provisions are required to be implemented in letter and spirit and all such Income Tax claim cases are required to be withdrawn. While discussing scenario of the State, Mr Abdullah said strength of the industrial sector, which had respectable position two decades ago on industrial map of the country, is required to be restored back so that the State ushered in a new era of prosperity and affluence. He said all activities in tourism, handicrafts, health, floriculture and horticulture sectors have to be given full patronage so that they are not only able to develop but play a key role in overall growth. Omar said with the extension of North-East package ‘‘our hoteliers, service providing sectors and other key players in tourism and adventure tourism, industrial training including handicrafts, handlooms, bio-tech training, nursing training and different institutions and entrepreneurs associated with floriculture and horticulture will be benefited’’. Mr Mukherjee appreciated the endeavours of Mr Abdullah for his concern to boost industrial scenario in J&K and give new confidence to the entrepreneurs. He assured him that all appropriate steps will be taken to develop all sectors associated with industries and commerce in the State. He said his Ministry is cautious of the fact that during last 20 years all the sectors could not keep pace in the State because of prevailing situation. But, he said, J&K has great potential to excel in all the industrial sectors like the ones mentioned by Chief Minister. He said all necessary facilities will be provided to develop these sectors associated with the industries and all proposals in this regard would be positively considered. The Chief Minister was accompanied by Minister for Industries and Commerce, S S Slathia, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Anil Goswami, Commissioner-Secretary, Finance, Sudhanshu Pandey, president FCIK, Syed Shakeel Qalander, representative of KCCI, Rouf Punjabi, president JCCI, Y V Sharma, president CII, J&K, Sanjay Puri, president PHD Chamber of Commerce, J&K, Vikrant, Afaaq Qadri and other representatives of the Industry. Meanwhile, Mr Abdullah said the Government is contemplating a bill in coming session of the Assembly so that all aspects of improving power transmission and distribution mechanism in the State are fully addressed. The Chief Minister was speaking after taking presentation on critical aspects of power reforms process made by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), here. TERI is the consultants for J&K Government to prepare a turnaround plan for improvement and reforms in power distribution and transmission system in the State. Mr Abdullah said the State Government is taking various initiatives to reduce transmission and distribution losses and ensure supply of electricity to the consumers smoothly. “My Government has flagged power sector as one of the most important concerns”, he said adding that a comprehensive strategy is being put into place for reforms in the distribution and transmission system to achieve twin objectives of better service and revenue realization. Among many important initiatives Omar has taken for the development of power sector in the State, the expert consultancy of the country’s reputed institute TERI to upgrade and reform the most vital activity of power distribution and transmission. He said that in order to fast track the procurement of electronic meters, henceforth a high powered committee headed by the Chief Secretary will take decisions about all major procurements to be made for power development reforms. In its presentation, TERI dwelt in detail about various aspects of improving power transmission and distribution mechanism in the State making recommendations for reduction of transmission losses and improving service to the consumers. The Energy Research Institute recommended formulation of a similar Electricity Act in the State as that of Indian Electricity Act, 2003, justifying that it would pave the way for qualitative and competitive improvement in the supply of electricity to the consumers. TERI also suggested measures for energy conservation, restructuring of PDD and improving its governance. TERI outlining various tasks to be performed for the reforms and improvement in the distribution and transmission sector indicated the requirement of Rs. 5800 crores as capital investment for the next ten years. The Principal Secretary, Power Development Department, B R Sharma, Planning Commissioner, B B Vyas, Commissioner-Secretary Finance, Sudhanshu Pandey, Advisor, Planning Commission of India, A K Mishra, Joint Secretary, Union Power Ministry, Sudhir Kumar, Joint Advisor, Planning Commission, R K Koul and Director in the Union Ministry of Finance, Vandita Koul were present. The Assistant Director, TERI, Shahid Hussain made the power point presentation.