Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has asked the Centre to fast-track clearance of various long pending demands of the state including a green bonus of Rs 2,000 crore in return for its environment conservation efforts and funds for modernisation of state police.
Speaking at the Central Zonal Council Meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Lucknow yesterday, Rawat raised several Uttarakhand specific issues including quick disposal of division of liabilities and assets pending between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
He also asked for funds to prepare for 2016 Ardha Kumbh.
The Chief Minister requested the Centre to expeditiously take a decision on Rs 50 crore sought by the state for modernisation of Uttarakhand Police, Rs 150 crore for modernisation of prisons and Rs 2,000 crore as green bonus, an official release here said.
Due to the ban on several hydel projects in the state and declaration of a vast stretch of land as eco-sensitive, the state government is incurring huge losses per annum and therefore a green bonus of Rs 2,000 crore in compensation is a must, he said, asking the Centre to speed up the matter.
"The National Ganga Basin Authority has put a ban on several important hydel projects such as Pala Maneri Project, Bhairaghati Project and Lohari Naag Paala project.
"Besides this, Nand Prayag Langasu, Tamaklata, Bavla Nand Prayag, Kotli Bhel 1 and 2 and other important projects are pending since they have not received an NOC by the Environment and Forest Ministry," he said.
"The loss incurred by the state government due to this is Rs 1,650 crore which must be compensated by the central government," Rawat said.
The CM said that despite 14 years of Uttarakhand's existence, liabilities and assets have not been divided yet between the hill state and Uttar Pradesh out of which it was created.
Reminding the gathering that the Water Resources Ministry had decided in 2013 to transfer 41 canals to Uttarakhand which were completely within the geographical boundaries of the state, Rawat said this has not been done yet.
Similarly, transfer of 6 dams/water bodies in Uttarakhand are yet to be transferred to the state, he said.
Most of these assets are located in Haridwar district.
It will be beneficial if they are transferred to the state before the Ardh Kumbh Fair to be held on the banks of the Ganga at Haridwar in January 2016, he said.
The CM sought early clearance of a project file forwarded to the Centre for approval of Rs 55 crore for preparations in view of the upcoming Ardha Kumbh Fair to strengthen security and other arrangements.
Rawat also said that the proposed multipurpose project at Gaula River of Nainital district is pending since long.
As per the scheme, construction of a 130.60 meter high dam will be able to provide drinking and irrigation water as well as hydel power to both UP and Uttarakhand.
An MOU for this was drafted by the Uttarakhand government and sent to Uttar Pradesh government.
The DPR was sent to CWC and it is requested that a decision is taken on it at the earliest, he said.
The CM also raised the issue of projects related to the power sector.
All the formalities related to Lakhwad Hydel Project have been completed.
Now the investment clearance from the Centre is awaited.
Similarly, an MoU on Kisau Hydel Project between Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand has been prepared and was sent for approval to Himachal Pradesh on December 18, 2014, he said.
The Environment and Forest Ministry had declared Bhagirathi Watershed area of 4179.59 sq km as an environmentally sensitive zone.
Before releasing this notice, the locals and the state government were not consulted.
According to the prior notification, 40 km area was declared as sensitive zone, but when the final notification was prepared, the area was increased hundred times.
"This one-sided decision is against the norms and has increased problems for the locals.
Keeping the norms in mind, this decision must be withdrawn and rectified," he said.
Uttarakhand shares its boundaries with two countries i.E., China and Nepal and rail links across the state need to be developed in a major way, Rawat said.
There is a need to develop Rishikesh- Karnaprayag, Tanakpur- Bageshwar and Bageshwar- Karnaprayag rail links.
The Uttarakhand railways must also receive financial aid from the Centre.
It should get aid from Defense Ministry under security arrangement, he said.
The state government has appealed to the Centre to give a budget to it in order to develop affected villages on the lines of smart villages. This will also resolve migration issues, he said.