Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today strongly advocated for the return of Salal and Dulhasti power projects to the state from NHPC.
“The Rangarajan Committee has recommended certain hydroelectric power projects be returned to the state free of cost. We reiterate this demand and request that requisite compensation to NHPC for such projects be paid by the Central government,” he said addressing the joint meeting of 14th Finance Commission and state government officers here.
The Chief Minister made a strong case for raising free power quota from existing 12 per cent to 30 per cent in all Centre sector Hydroelectric Projects (HEPs) in the state.
Omar also sought compensation to the state for Indus Water Treaty that restricts Jammu and Kashmir from exploiting hydel power and irrigation potential in full measure.
Welcoming Chairman Y V Reddy and the members of the 14th Finance Commission, Omar expressed the hope that the Memorandum submitted by the state government to the Commission will fully depict the financial difficulties of the state.
“We in Jammu and Kashmir have passed through difficult times and faced daunting challenge of reconstruction of an insurgency battered economy.
“Also since inclusive and equitable development of the three regions of the state stands at the core of our government’s agenda, the delivery of basic services and public goods across the diversity and remoteness of the State requires generous and sympathetic financial support,” he said.
“The 13th Finance Commission indeed gave us a very generous award. We are hopeful that the new government at the Centre and you as the 14th Finance Commission would view our constraints, concerns and expectations through a positive and sympathetic lens and help us in carrying forward our development agenda of building on peace dividends,” he added.
The Chief Minister also spoke on the increase in expenditure on security related aspects, including state during the last about 25 years and underlined the need for the Centre compensating the state fully on this account. The Chief Minister made the mention of the state’s initiatives to harness vast hydel power potential to upgrade State’s financial position.
“We have started indigenous projects of over 1,400 MW in this tenure against 750 MW launched in last 60 years. Edifice stands laid to generate 9,000 MW of energy over the next seven years,” he said.
On delivering social services to people living in extreme climatic and geographical conditions and to the cold desert of Ladakh, Abdullah said this is a big challenge of governance.
“To bridge the administrative outreach gaps, the state government has recently created 46 Sub-Divisions, 135 Tehsils, 177 Blocks, 301 Niabats and 2526 Patwar Halqas,” he said.
He sought “special attention” of the Commission towards Panchayati Raj institutions in the state which he said were eagerly awaiting to perform a greater role in the arena of local self governance.
Reddy, in his address, referred to the dynamism of the Chief Minister and appreciated his efforts to seek holistic development for Jammu and Kashmir.
The chairman also congratulated the State for successful fiscal targets and assured that the 14th Finance Commission will take the best account of the demands put forth by the State in the Memorandum and said that the Commission will help in best way to the State to enable it to have quantum jump in the trajectory of growth and progress. (Agencies)