Gujarat’s Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi today made a representation to the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh on long pending issues of Gujarat, not met by the Centre, and also on the indifferent attitude of the Union Government towards the State.
Shri Modi strongly urged the PM, who was in Ahmedabad today, to ensure that Gujarat, a state contributing significantly in boosting India’s economy, gets all of its legitimate rights and also the Centre play a constructive and meaningful role in the development of Gujarat.
Shri Modi personally met Shri Singh during his stay at Circuit House Annexe, Ahmedabad and submitted a memorandum outlining the major pending issues of Gujarat. State Finance Minister Shri Vajubhai Vala & Minister of State Shri Saurabh Dalal were also present at the meeting.
Shri Modi pitched for allocation of gas to the power plants in Gujarat as already approved and also urged to correct the injustice suffered by the CNG vehicles owners in form of frequent highest CNG prices. He also pointed out that around 130 items, widely consumable by the common man, were exempted from the central excise duty till date, but the recent Union Budget has proposed to cover them under the excise net, which will impose an extra burden on the common man already reeling under inflationary pressure.
The major pending issues of Gujarat, raised by Shri Modi, include the following:
• The Central Government should approved allocation of gas from KG basin to GPPC 702 MW gas-based power plant at Pipavav, Gujarat and a similar one 351 MW GSEG power plant at Hajira. The former one is under construction, which is likely to be completed in due course. The Central Government assured to allocate 2.62 MMSCD gas to Pipavav power plant way back in 1989, but this promise is not fulfilled. The power plant at Hajira is also on the verge of completion and Gujarat is eligible to get 1.31 MMSCD gas from KG basin for this plant.
• Following the recommendations made by the Bhurelal Committee, a central committee for environment conservation, Gujarat has created infrastructure in Ahmedabad to make CNG available for transportation and as a result, 80,000 rickshaws are run on CNG. But due to indifferent attitude of the Central Government, users in Ahmedabad have to pay a highest price of Rs. 36.65 per one kg of CNG. Against this, users in Delhi & Mumbai get CNG at a price of Rs. 29 & Rs. 31.40 respectively. This kind of discrimination cannot be justified anyway.
• The Central Government fixed new reasonable rates for crude royalty for Gujarat & Assam in 2003. But the existing government in the Centre changed the formula without taking Gujarat into confidence in April, 2008. As result amount of royalty received by Gujarat prior to April, 2008, reduced significantly and the state has made a loss of about Rs. 2,800 crore so far. The move by the Centre is aimed at reducing the deficit of the government-owned oil marketing companies, which is resulting in heavy loss to Gujarat. Unlike Assam, the new policy is a major blow to the state’s economic interest, as it is the only state, which provides 100% of its crude production to the government-owned companies. In view of this, Shri Modi strongly raised the issues and urged the PM to compensate Gujarat for the loss of Rs. 2,800 crore & also revoke the new policy being implemented since April, 2008.
• He also urged the PM that under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP), areas in the state covered under Desert Development Program (DDP) should be considered at par with the areas under Draught Prone Area Program (DPAP) as done in the states of Punjab & Karnataka and accordingly, 90% financial assistance under AIBP should be provided for Narmada command area development under Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in an area of 8.73 lakh hectare.
He further stated that out of total 18.45 lakh hectare command area of SSP, 40% area is covered under DDP. For command area development works in these areas, the extent of financial assistance extended under AIBP is only 25%. However, in Punjab & Karnataka, such areas are considered under DPAP and the financial assistance extended under AIBP is as high as 90%. Even the Planning Commission of India and Union Ministry for Water Resources have also recommended removing such kind of discrimination, but the Union Ministry of Finance is firm not to accept this recommendation. As a result, the Gujarat has suffered a loss of Rs. 4,200 crore till date.
The CM also made a case to withdraw the central excise duty imposed under the recent Union Budget on around 130 items meant for daily consumption of the common man saying that this will increase the burden on the common man already reeling under the inflationary pressure.
He also criticized the move by Income Tax Department to issue notice to the Gujarat Government saying that this is totally unfair and this does not come under the purview of this department. Under this notice, the department has sought details of memorandum of understanding (MoUs) signed by the private parties with the Gujarat Government during Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit 2011 and the amount of committed investment & actual investment under the same. Urging PM to ensure withdrawal of the notice Shri Modi said that some other states have also participated in the summit and no other states have been issued such notices. The move indicates negative mindset of the Centre towards development of Gujarat and it is also an attempt to restrict the investment flowing in Gujarat.
Shri Modi also pointed out that Centre’s policy to make states responsible for bearing the expenditure of implementing Right to Education act, Gujarat would have to take on an additional burden of Rs. 4,300 crore. The Centre has also proposed to make a provision of more than 8% every year in the state budget, which is likely to impose a heavy burden on the state finances. hence the CM urged the PM to review this policy.
Besides, Shri Modi also urged the PM to approve the estimates amounting to Rs2,013 crore for Dandi Heritage Route under second phased of construction, allocated immediately Rs. 25 crore for the same under the first phase and include Gandhinagar & Karamsad under JnNURM. He also emphasized upon the need to cover Surat under the air travel services.
The Prime Minister gave a patient hearing to the memorandum submitted by Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi and assured him of his personal intervention in the issues raised in memorandum.