109 pending issues of Gujarat with centre discussed at state MPs meeting
By our correspondent, Gandhinagar, 16 February 2013
In a pre-budget exercise, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today apprised the Members of Parliament from Gujarat to forcefully take up the state’s 109 cases pending with Central Government in the Parliament, House Committees, Ministries and other appropriate forums at the Centre.
In his first meeting with the MPs after being elected for another term, Mr. Modi urged them forget their political affiliations and forcefully plead Gujarat’s case and take up the urgent problems of Gujarat with the Centre. It is necessary to ensure the state’s growth rate.
The Chief Minister asked them to particularly take a proactive initiative to raise issues embroiled in undue delay, indecision and deliberate inaction due to the Centre’s rules and policies coming in the way of Gujarat’s development.
Referring to certain Central Acts being implemented by State Government, he said, such a decision has put a heavy burden on the latter. The queer situation demands the Centre provides adequate funds to the states in pursuance of the Punchhi Commission Report on Centre-State Relations. The need has been felt more acutely while implementing the Right to Education and Right to Food Acts.
Gujarat being a major cotton producer, he said, the Centre’s decision to include BT cotton seeds under Essential Commodities Act has made the Gujarat’s Act redundant. Instead, he said, the Centre should enact appropriate act to control seed prices. He urged the MPs to ask the Centre to approve early Gujarat’s application for setting up the Centre for Cotton Excellence. The Centre also adopts a discriminatory attitude towards Gujarat in allotment of kerosene quota, in effect punishing the poor, he said.
Mr. Modi recalled that as many as 388 fishermen from Gujarat and 587 costly fishing boats are still in the custody of Pakistan. Gujarat Government has written 118 letters to Government of India to take up the issue with Pakistan but to no avail.
In relation to the education sector the MPs were acquainted with the need to set up of the ‘Gujarat Education Service Tribunal’ with an objective to bring accordance in the works of five different education service tribunals of the State. The MPs were also apprised about the need of urgent approval of Rs 3255 crore under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan which is entitled to Gujarat. Their attention was raised to the fact that Gujarat receives only 11% of central assistance and that per capita assistant received by Gujarat is lesser than the other states.
The Chief Minister asked for making a provision in the next Central budget for about six high-speed rail projects of India including that of Ahmedabad-Mumbai rail project. He spoke for allocating coal to the Gujarat’s coal-based power stations from the eastern coal field since the State is compelled to bear extra burden of Rs 540 crore due to getting coal from western coal field. He asked for allocating coal blocks to the States through nomination instead of private auctioning of coal blocks. Acquainting the MPs about the Centre’s unjust policy for the gas-based power stations of Gujarat the Chief Minister said the power production capacity of about 2023 MW of the State’s gas-based power stations is lying unused due to the insufficient gas allocation.
The Chief Minister spoke of setting up of a power transmission mechanism so that Gujarat can supply power to those States which are in need of it. He said the Centre should work on the judicial order of allocating CNG to Ahmedabad for public transportation at the same rate as Delhi and Mumbai. Speaking about the Centre’s partial treatment to Gujarat in the payment of crude oil royalty the Chief Minister spoke of payment of Rs 6544 crore which is creditable to Gujarat by ONGC along with Rs 2068 crore as penalty. He spoke of giving renewable energy certificate to Gujarat so that the Centre and the other States could purchase the power produced by the Gujarat’s solar energy plants. Speaking about the injustice caused to Gujarat in compensation of the central sales tax the Chief Minister apprised the MPs with the details of CST worth around Rs 4100 crore which is due to Gujarat by the Centre.
The MPs were also acquainted about the need of getting approval to the proposal of Rs 600 crore for the construction 269 km. ring road surrounded to the protected area around the Gir sanctuary. The Chief Minister spoke of freeing the Ankleshwar, Vatva and Ahmedabad from ‘critical polluted area’ and of some 45 small development projects which are waiting for the Environment department’s no-objection certificate. He also spoke of the need to get approval to the proposal of setting up of a marine training institute. The Chief Minister acquainted the MPs with the need for speedy and efficient completion of the boarder fencing work along the 340 km. boarder line shared by Gujarat and Pakistan. He spoke of the issues pending with the Centre regarding getting approval for various mining lease. He asked for the quick undertaking of Sabarmati Ashram development project and the Dandi Heritage project. He also asked MPs to represent the issues regarding giving approval to about 26 water supply schemes passing though the railway areas.
The attention of the MPs was drawn to the Centre’s unjust approach of charging an extra of Rs 12 per litter in the purchase of diesel to the Gujarat ST Bus Corporation categorizing it as a bulk consumer. He apprised the MPs about the delay in the construction of new bridge over Narmada at Jhadeshwar in Bharuch. He spoke of including Gandhinagar and Karamsad in JNNURM, seeking approval to the Central assistance for Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro rail project, improving the rules and regulation for the Central assistance in various housing schemes, seeking approval for using the idle land of railways falling on the route of Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro rail project, getting approval to the basic grant of Rs 857.16 crore and the performance grant of Rs 450.65 crore to Gujarat as per the recommendations of 13th planning commission. The Chief Minister also acquainted the MPs with the latest details about the setting up of Gujarat Urban Development Institute near Gandhinagar.
He urged the MPs to take up in unison with the Centre the issue of urgently raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) main dam to 138.68 metres.
Ministers and senior Secretaries of Gujarat Government made detailed presentation of their respective departments at the meeting. Chief Secretary Varesh Sinha spoke about the pending issues as Principal Secretary for Planning Arvind Agrawal conducted the meeting.
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