Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul today met Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh and sought his intervention for increase in the budget allocations for Northeast and urged that the amount not spent out of Non-lapsable central pool of resource (NLCPR) should be kept at the disposal of the DoNER Ministry instead of getting reverted to the general exchequer.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the DONER ministry in recent years is not getting full funding of the mandatory 10% earmarked for North Eastern region through NLCPR from the budget of various ministries/departments, which comes to around Rs 3000 crore in a year.
The DONER at present is getting only Rs 800 crore, which is hampering the development activities in the region, the CM said and urged that the constitutional provision of 10% funding from all ministries and department should be deposited with the DONER.
Further pointing out on downsizing of project estimate without consulting with the State Government during sanctioning stage by the DONER, the CM requested the Ministry to convene a meeting with State Government officials and discuss before downsizing the project size.
Any sudden and unilateral reduction in the estimate defeats the purpose for which project has been proposed, and creates the possibility of a later need for gap funding, the CM stressed.
On late submission of utilization certificates, the CM said this is largely because of the delay in completion of the project due to litigation by contractors as well as other issues at the ground level like public opposition to a part of the project, or it’s location.
He informed that the State Government is expediting the process for submission of all UCs in a timely manner and assured to ensure strict compliance of norms and timely submission of documents.
The Chief Minister further sought attention of the Union Minister on non-release of balance funds despite submission of utilization certificate. He also sought support for sanction of gap funds for the projects not able to achieve full completion on account of costs escalation, where the entire sanctioned fund has been released but has not sufficed for the project’s completion.
Stressing that a one-size-fits all approach to planning and development of Arunachal does not suffice, the Chief Minister sought attention of the union minister on mismatch of the national cost norms for the state.
He informed that the estimated cost of service provisioning in Arunachal terrain is 3-4 times higher than the rest part of the country due to which the development fund in the state is consumed by the difficult terrain and the large expanse of the area, depriving the population of the development.
The Chief Minister asked for provisioning for a State-specific cost norm, re-examining the population criterion and linking it with distance and the provision of made-to-order funding solutions for the State are critical if we are to carry forward the development of Arunachal.
Emphasising on rail connectivity in foothill areas for Arunachal, the CM urged on the need to build a railway corridor along the foothills of the state, and informed that the state has proposed on creating sub-networks linking stations in Assam to 11 entry points in the foothills of our state at routes like Jonai-Pasighat, Akajan-Likabali, Doom Dooma-Parshuram Kund, Margherita-Deomali, Balipara-Seijosa, etc.
The start of goods train services, will greatly impact in providing forward and backward linkages for the agriculture, horticulture, medicinal plants and mineral sectors, said the CM and added that it will also facilitate ease of movement of heavy plants and machinery for large development projects like hydropower, as well as for troops of the military need hardly be underlined.
Also the CM stressed on the need to operationalize the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC) to provide a support mechanism to market agricultural products.
He said the vast potential in state has been unable to take off because of lack of market linkages and requested the DONER ministry to consider supporting cold-chains to link the farms to tables.