Gehlot demands Rs.51K crore grant, special status for Rajasthan
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has demanded a special category status and Rs.51000 crore grant from the 12th Five-Year-Plan for facing some difficult problems due to geographical conditions like regular draught and famines situations, scarcity of water etc. in the state at the National Development Council (NDC) Meeting in New Delhi today.
Gehlot was speaking in a 57th National Development Council meeting held at Vigyan Bhawan under the chairmanship of Hon'ble Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh.
Gehlot said that Rajasthan is the largest state of India in area and shares 1040 Km. long border with Pakistan which is very critical in terms of its strategic importance. The state has faced drought and famines for 56 years out of the past 62 years and 12 percent population of the state is tribal which is largely scattered in hilly area that is difficult to approach.
More than 60 percent of the state's area falls under great Indian Desert the Thar and it has 12 districts, wherein more than 40 percent of the state's population resides. He also said that the state's population density is 201 persons per square kilometers, according to the Census, 2011, which is much lower than the National average of 382. In Jaisalmer, the population density is mere 17 persons per square kilometers.
Gehlot further said that the per capita cost of providing infrastructure and basic social services is quite high due to all these reasons, compared to the normal areas,Rajasthan, on various platforms has been consistently raising the demand of declaring the state as a special category state and include it the list of Special category states.
The supply of water has become increasingly difficult dur to demand of a growing population, livestock, agriculture and industries and for it the state has prepared a detailed scheme to achieve national targets of drinking water supply. The state requires 37000 crore rupees for benefiting, 26,749 quality affected habitations in rural areas upto the year 2016-17 and rupees 13440 crore for improvement of drinking water arrangements in Urban areas, thereby a total of rupees 50,440 crore is required.
The chief minister further said that only 31 blocks out of a total 248 blocks of the state, fall in the safe category. The extent of exploitation of ground water in the state is 135 percent. The conditions have become more critical due to uncertain and scanty rainfall during mansoon and supply of water has become increasingly difficult due to demand of a growing population and industries.
In the context of inter state water disputes, in order toprotect interests of the states, Canals and Rivers should be declared as national assets and managed and maintained accordingly and if necessary, constitutional amendment to this effect should be considered chief minister said.
He also said that the establishment of National Irrigation Management Fund has been proposed in the draft 12th Five year Plan, whereby the states will be provided matching contribution in the ratioof 50:50.
But he requested to make it 90:10 so that states should not be excessively burdened. He further requested that to provide minimum 50 percent assistance for new projects to the General Category Status, Micro irrigation Schemes may also be provided 90 percent assistance. He also proposed that Rs. 58 crore and Rs. 185 crore draft plan for projects to be under taken under the Repair, Renovation and Restoration Schemes.
Gehlot also said that Discovery of Large Oil and Gas fields in western sector of the state has been a major economic event. The availability of 900 million tones of crude oil has been estimated in the state and its commercial production has already started and presently, 9 million tones crude oil is being produced annually, which is likely to reach 15 million tonnes in future and currently state contributing 20 percent of the domestic crude oil.
Rajasthan is the only state in the country where in spite of domestic production of crude oil, there is no refinery therefore Gehlot requested for establishment of oil refinery in the state so that full benefits of discovery of crude oil may accrue to the state.
Need of Metro Rail for urban transport in the state has been emphasized and estimated cost of construction of phase 1 and phase 2 will be around rupees 10000 crore. The state government has requested to provide rupees 1806 core as a central assistance for the completion of the project on time. Chief Minister further said that the estimated cost of phase II of the Jaipur Metro Project is Rupees 6583 crore and financial assistance of atleast rupees 1176 crore be made available now.He also said that the planning commission has given consent for giving assistance of only rupees 380 crore therefore it is requested to reconsider and sanction the entire money soon.
Enhancing the availability of energy is the state's top priority in order to ensure economic and social development of the state and emphasis was given to increase additional power generation in the state.
The state's installed generation capacity has increased by 4032 MW in last four years. However 10 percent increase in the electricity consumption has also been recorded in the state. In order to ensure six-hour-electricity supply for agriculture works, the electricity is being purchased.
In order to ensure sufficient electricity in the state government has been trying its best and requested to give grant for the said purpose from the centre. Establishment of 4X700 MW Nuclear Power generation Project at Banswara has been principally approved and requested early commencement of it.
In order to ensure electricity generation commensurate to the state's demand, project of 13990 MW capacity have been sanctioned. All these coal based projects are based on super critical technology and also requested to provide required coal and gas for timely implementation of the projected work.
He also requested from the Centre that more power to provided to the state from the Ultra Mega Power Projects and other central power generation plants so that the average cost of electricity supply may not exceed beyond limits.
Lignite Based power plant of 250 MW capacity has been installed in the state and another 500 MW capacity plant is proposed to be set up in the state. He further requested that the centre to grant early for the implementation of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation's projects in the state soon.