J&K Seeks Liberal Financing For Battered Economy

6 June 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)


Srinagar: Members of the 14th Finance Commission held a detailed meeting with ministers and senior government officers on Friday. The state pleaded for transfer of hydroelectric projects and liberal financing to reconstruct the battered economy. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who addressed the meeting this morning, appealed to the commission to view the state's constraints, concerns and expectations through positive and sympathetic lens. 'We in Jammu and Kashmir have passed through difficult times and face the daunting challenge of reconstruction of an insurgency-battered economy,' Omar said during the meeting as he appealed to the commission for a generous award. Omar was accompanied by 13 ministers and senior officers to the meeting with the six-member commission, headed by former Reserve Bank Governor YV Reddy. It would finalise its recommendations after a series of meetings with the state government and key stakeholders. 'We are hopeful that the new government at the Centre and the 14th Finance Commission will view our constraints, concerns and expectations through positive and sympathetic lens and help us in carrying forward our development agenda of building on peace dividends,' the Chief Minister said. Omar advocated the transfer of Salal and Dulhasti power projects back to the state. He urged the commission to strongly recommend the transfer of hydroelectric projects to the state after a 30-year period and made a strong appeal for raising free power quota from 12 to 30 per cent. 'The Rangarajan Committee has recommended (transfer of) certain hydroelectric projects to the state free of cost. We reiterate this demand and request that requisite compensation for such projects be paid to the NHPC by the Centre,' Omar said, seeking compensation for the state for the Indus Water Treaty. Omar read out the initiatives launched by the state government to harness the hydroelectric potential to upgrade the state's financial position. 'The edifice has been laid to generate 9,000 MW of energy over the next seven years. With this kind of generation, we can not only be self-sufficient to meet our energy requirements, but have considerable surplus income for the state as well,' Omar said. The Chief Minister explained to the commission how the state required generous and sympathetic financial support for inclusive and equitable development of the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The state government handed over a memorandum to the commission, listing need-driven and state-specific demands which were important for giving an impetus to economic activities. The state government sought financial resources for new administrative units and panchayats. Principal Secretary (Finance) BB Vyas made a comprehensive presentation, in which areas requiring focus of attention by the commission were highlighted. Commission chairman Reddy assured the state government that demands put forth in the memorandum would be considered. The government quoted him saying the commission would help the state to enable it to have quantum jump in the trajectory of growth and progress. Demands before Finance Commission: * Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed to the 14th Finance Commission members to view the state's constraints, concerns and expectations through positive and sympathetic lens. The panel arrived in Srinagar on Thursday for a three-day visit. * The state government also sought financial resources for new administrative units and panchayats.