Badsar (HP)/Jalandhar, October 31, 2012: Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal has ridiculed a statement of the Union Minister of Trade and Commerce Anand Sharma terming it “misleading”.
Addressing an election rally here, he added Sharma had made the statement yesterday in Shimla.
He recalled that Sharma had spoken regarding special industrial package announced by former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee during his visit to all the special category states of the country in Solan stating that the GoI notified the package on January 7, 2003 by making the same operational for ten years (upto March 31, 2013).
He expressed surprise over the intentional ignorance of the Union Minister aimed at creating misunderstanding amongst the masses and gaining political mileage. “Anand Sharma knows it very well that the package was first withdrawn during Congress regime in the state, on March 31, 2007”, adding, “People of Himachal voted BJP to power in 2007 and it pursued the matter with GoI vigorously to get the package restored to its original date but the Centre extended it by another three years, only upto March 31, 2010, still short of three years to the actual date of March 31, 2013.
He said Vajpayee had special bond of attachment with the people of state and considering the industrial development requirement of special category states of the country, including Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, announced 100 percent Income Tax and Central Excise Duty exemptions, besides 15 percent Capital Investment Subsidy to the entrepreneurs making investments to give boost to industrialization in all such states. He clarified for the information of Anand Sharma and all concerned that the Central Excise Duty stands withdrawn in the State since March 31, 2010, Income Tax Exemption since March 31, 2012 and only Capital Investment Subsidy shall remain operational till January 6, 2013. “Now, will Anand Sharma clarify to the people of Himachal Pradesh, the factual status of the Industrial Package”, he asked.
Prof. Dhumal said Vajpayee, by rising above all considerations, had announced the package uniformally to all states of North Eastern region, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh which later on, barring states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, then BJP ruled states, was further extended upto March 31, 2017.
“This reveals the discriminatory attitude of the UPA Government towards the people of Himachal Pradesh since it does not want to get local educated unemployed youth job opportunities in industrial sector when the BJP Government has made it mandatory to provide atleast 70 percent employment at all levels to the local youth”, he remarked.
He said that he had personally requested and also corresponded with the then two Union Cabinet Ministers from the State, Virbhadra Singh and Anand Sharma, to use their good office to get the package extended and also lead the delegation of MPs from the State to meet the Prime Minister and Union Finance Minister, but of no avail. Surprisingly when the HP Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution to recommend to the Government of India to extend the package upto March 31, 2020, the Opposition Congress party, staged walk out in protest from the House, he said, adding this spoke volumes of the concern Congress leaders had towards the people of Himachal Pradesh.
Prof. Dhumal also refuted the charges of lapse of JNUURM funds which was not at the part of the BJP Government but due to the negligence of the then Congress Government and Municipal Corporation which never approved the City Development Plan for Shimla town, since it contained mandatory conditions of resource generation through levying of various taxes. Although Congress was in power in the state when the Mission was launched in year 2005 and Corporation was also headed by the Congress party, he said. Both showed their disinterest in implementation of the Mission, he said.
He said on coming to power BJP Government pursued the Municipal Corporation time and again to get the City Development Plan unanimously passed by its General House and forward the same for formal approval of the Government, which never materialised while the State Government had deposited its share of Rs. 3 crore to implement the JNUURM. “It is wrong to blame BJP for the lapse but Congress which was reluctant to develop Shimla town”, he said.
The chief minister advised Anand Sharma not to play with the sentiments of the simple but wise people of Himachal Pradesh since they were wise enough to understand the nefarious designs behind orations of such leaders and would be giving befitting reply on November 4, 2012, by negating their entry into state. He said that electors of the state were educated and aware of all the facts as to who had made the Himachal Pradesh proud by carrying uniform and balance development and winning record national and international level awards for the outstanding achievements in different fields.