Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Harish Rawat on Thursday called upon various political parties of Uttarakhand to immediately give a thought to the damage that would accrue to the State's development efforts if industrial lands were converted into housing projects. “The MLAs should oppose all moves to change the land use of industrial lands”, he said.

The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction ( BIFR) had allowed Citurgia Biochemicals Ltd of Rishikesh to sell a part of its land and use the money for rejuvenation of the sick unit. Instead, the company has allegedly ‘vanished' after selling the land and a huge multi-story complex is being made by some other company. Instead of enforcing the BIFR orders, the State Government seems to be working overtime to clarify that no law had been violated. Why asked Mr Rawat at a press conference here. The Citurgia example may very well develop into a precedent and pave way for similar sale of industrial lands for real estate purposes in future, he said.

Taking a critical view of the ruling BJP leaders accusing the Centre of adopting a step motherly attitude towards Uttarakhand, Mr Rawat said the Centre was always ready to pump in more development funds. “The Centre has always sanctioned funds liberally for all proposals sent up by the State. The problem lay in the State Government not sending enough proposals for processing”, Mr Rawat said.

He urged the State Government to immediately formulate real time programmes to rejuvenate the hill agriculture system so as to check the massive migration of youth to the plains in search of jobs.

Dinesh Aggarwal and Pritam Singh both Congress (I) MLAs, Manorma Sharma former Mayor of Dehra Dun, Surendra Kumar and other senior party leaders were also present.