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Industrial package: PM assures Dhumal ‘positive action’

New Delhi: A high-level delegation of Himachal government headed by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and accompanied by senior vice-president BJP Shanta Kumar besides state BJP president Khemi Ram met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh here today and urged him to extend the industrial package to the state up to March 2013. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh assured the Chief Minister that he will look into the genuine demands of the state government and would ask the finance ministry for positive action in this case.

It may be remembered that earlier the state government had passed a resolution in support of getting the industrial package extended till 2020, for which it was attacked by the state Congress unit. The Chief Minister requested the Prime Minister to restore the excise duty exemption component without any cut off date or at least up to 31st March, 2013, for north western hill states on the analogy of north eastern hill states, where similar incentives have been extended up to the year 2017. He said that there was no expiry date for excise duty exemption in the original incentive package but later a cut off date was introduced vide a notification on 2nd August, 2005, in which a cut off date was fixed at 31st March 2007, which was later extended up to 31st March, 2010. Chief Minister pleaded for extension of the incentives up to 31st March 2013 immediately to boost industrial expansion and growth in the state.

Dhumal said that the state government has created massive infrastructure in the industrial belt of the state to attract new industrial investment and has suitably modified its industrial and other policies so as to complement and work in tandem with special industrial package. He said that the state government has invested hundreds of crores to set up new transmission and distribution lines to supply regular power to industrial units and significant investment was made for constructions and maintenance of roads and other infrastructure in industrial belts of the State. He said that the state government had set up Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA) for co-ordinating, developing, regulating and maintenance of the infrastructure required by industrial areas of the region. He said that all the efforts were made with the understanding that special industrial package would be extended at least up to March 2013 and added that premature termination of excise duty exemption has rendered the special incentive package as ineffective and all the efforts made by State Government has turned to be futile.

He said that while neighboring states have been tremendously benefited from large hydro projects like Bhakra, Pong dam, Beas Satluj Link Project (BSL) etc. which were set up in the state, Himachal Pradesh has not derived any benefits despite the fact that thousands of families were displaced and vast stretch of prime agricultural land had submerged due to these projects.

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