Rawat raises various issues at Central Zonal Council meet
CM makes suggestions, elicits focus on U’khand specific issues
Union Home minister Amit Shah presided over the 22nd meeting of the Central Zonal Council at Nava Raipur in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. Attending the meeting, the Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat raised various issues related to compensatory afforestration, national food security scheme and issues specific to mountainous regions.
Speaking at the meeting, Rawat requested that the Union Government allow compensatory afforestation on degraded forest land for all centrally funded, externally aided and state funded schemes. He also sought increase in the allocation to Uttarakhand for state police modernisation. Further, under the national food security scheme, the government of India should bear the full expense of transporting the food grains. While the subsidy on pulses should be continued, assistance should also be provided for expanding the storage capacity in mountainous regions.
Elaborating on these issues, Rawat requested that the Rs 15 per kilogramme subsidy on pulses should be continued. He said that the Mukhyamantri Dal Poshit Yojana has been started in Uttarakhand under which 23 lakh ration card holders are provided two kilogrammes pulses per month at cheap rates. Further, under the national food security scheme and Antyodaya Ann Yojana, Rs 100 per quintal is being provided for transportation of food grains. However, Uttarakhand being a mountainous state, the transportation cost here is higher than in the plains. Presently, Rs 237 per quintal expenditure is being incurred on transporting food grains due to which the state government is incurring Rs 65 crore additional expenditure every year. Stating this, Rawat said that the entire transport expense under national food security scheme should be borne by the Centre. Seeking financial assistance from the Centre for expanding the storage capacity in Uttarakhand, he said advance storage for three months is necessary in the mountains during the rains and winter considering heavy rains, snowfall and landslides. The State needs about 2.5 lakh metric tonnes storage but has about 1.94 lakh metric tonnes storage at present.
Regarding compensatory afforestation for centrally funded, externally aided and state funded schemes, Rawat sought approval for plantation on degraded forest land. The Government of India has permitted compensatory afforestation on degraded forest land for road projects of the Border Roads Organisation and Central Government/Central PSU projects but the same has not been permitted for schemes financed by the state government. He said that such difference in standards in one state do not appear justified.
Rawat further pointed out that the Territorial Army (TA) is making important contribution in Namami Gange and tree plantation in Uttarakhand. The TA can also be used for land and water conservation works for which the state government has funds in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) but under the relevant Act, the state cannot finance works of these units of the TA from CAMPA fund. Stating this, he requested the Centre to make necessary amendments in the Act to authorise the State Government to fund works of the TA through CAMPA. Otherwise, the Centre should facilitate this through the national CAMPA fund, he said.
On the subject of police modernisation, Rawat requested that the ministry of Home Affairs raise the financial allocation for state police modernisation and also permit the use of the fund for buildings and vehicles too. Provision for the police should also be considered under the Border Area Development Programme, he suggested. In case of natural disasters, the CM also stressed on the need for making standards for assistance suitable for mountainous regions.
The meeting was also attended by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Kamal Nath and Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel.
Wednesday, 29 January 2020|PNS|Dehradun
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