The Congress government in Uttarakhand on Sunday sought free power in exchange of the losses suffered due to the scrapping of the series of hydropower projects in the hill state.
Stating that the state is incurring losses of Rs 1,650 crore per annum owing to stalled hydro-power projects, planning minister Dinesh Agarwal demanded equivalent compensation for additional purchase of power to Uttarakhand. He also asked the centre to help in establishing power projects based on natural gas.
Agarwal was speaking at the 57th meeting of National Development Council (NDC) in New Delhi on Thursday, chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Agarwal also asked the centre to give priority to the development projects in Uttarakhand, considering its difficult geographical condition.
He also sought priority in financial allocation for Uttarakhand. He said that special attention should be given for setting up separate norms for infrastructure development, special communication network and additional border grant for hill region.
Agarwal said that the target of 11 per cent annual development rate has been fixed for the state. The development rate was more than the set target (9.9 per cent) in the eleventh Plan and there had been reasonable progress in the economy and the service sector.
Besides, he said that the state government had initiated several short-term projects including single window system and licensing Bill facility for entrepreneurs, constitution of wage committee, Constitution of fund for development of 74 border and backward development blocks, unemployment-cum-skill development scheme and welfare schemes for minority for their economical development.
Agarwal said that though Uttarakhand was given the status of a special state in 2002, 38 projects were being financed in less then 90:10 ratio.