Dehradun, January 24
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today squarely blamed the BJP government in Uttarakhand for failing to use Central funds for the development of the state. He also held the BJP government responsible for instability in the region due to which there had been five Chief Ministers during its seven-year rule in the state.
Pranab told mediapersons in Dehradun that despite huge Central aid, the Uttarakhand government had not been able to spend the funds for the welfare of the people. “A staggering Rs 2,971 crore has been given to the state in the last seven years. Besides, Rs 2,185 crore for human resource development, Rs 1,402 crore for health and family welfare and Rs 1,517 crore for road transport and highways have been provided to the state in the same period,” Mukherjee said, adding that the state government failed to use the funds for the development of the state.
He said the BJP government was not even clear whether it should favour hydroelectric projects or not. “The Uttarakhand Government on the one hand calls for increasing power generation and on the hand it supports those who are protesting against the construction of hydropower projects in the state,” Pranab said, referring to the Pala Maneri project that was scrapped by the Centre after several groups opposed it.
Pranab also asked the BJP to explain what compelled it to change Chief Ministers so many times. “By changing five chief ministers in seven years the BJP has given instability to Uttarakhand,” he said.
The Union minister said the industrial package given to the state could not be extended further as it would lead to regional disparity. “It has been noticed that some industries from the neighbouring regions are shifting to Uttarakhand to avail concessions,” he said. He, however, added that the Centre was committed to industrialisation in Uttarakhand.
On Anna Hazare’s agitation for Jan Lokpal, Pranab said the Congress was committed to ending corruption. He held the Opposition responsible for the non-passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament. “We don’t have the majority in the Rajya Sabha and thus cannot be held responsible for the non-passage of the Lokpal Bill. It was the Opposition that changed its stand on the issue,” he added.
Associate in-charge of the Uttarakhand Congress Anees Ahmed and vice-president of the state Congress Suryakant Dhasmana were also present on the occasion.