New Delhi: A number of MPs on Friday pushed for for a separate ministry or a development council for hilly north Indian states, prompting the government to say that it will consider their demand.
Moving the Private Member's Bill in the Lok Sabha, former Uttarakhand chief minister and BJP member Ramesh Pokhriyal said a Central Himalayan States Development Council should be set up as money given by the Union government was being wasted due to absence of clear central policies.
He said there was a separate ministry to look after the north-east region but states like Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand did not have a different ministry despite facing similar problems as those states.
His party colleague from Himachal Pradesh, Anurag Thakur, supported the bill, saying people in these states face a lot of problem but it does not draw due attention.
Dushyant Singh and Jagdambika Pal (both of BJP) also supported the proposal.
RJD member Rajesh Ranjan also favoured more development of hilly regions. Bhagwant Mann (AAP) also wanted encouragement to the hilly states for development of tourism.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh said he would convey the sentiments to the Cabinet.
"Your demand has brought pressure on the government. I think it has been forced to consider it. Till a decision is taken, we are doing our best," he said.
He said the government was aware of the special needs of the hilly states and cited various financial benefits given to these states.
The bill was later withdrawn.