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Dhumal meets PM, seeks extension of package

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HIMACHAL CALLING: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh receiving a bouquet from Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal (left) as former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar looks on during a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. –
HIMACHAL CALLING: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh receiving a bouquet from Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal (left) as former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar looks on during a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. –

Sandeep Joshi

Also urges restoration of excise duty exemption till 2017

NEW DELHI: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to extend the special industrial package provided to the State for at least another three years (end of 2012-13).

He also sought restoration of excise duty exemption till 2017 as being provided to the North-Eastern hill States to help boost industrial expansion and growth of the State. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had also met Dr. Singh recently and demanded extension of the special industrial package for the State till 2020.

Mr. Dhumal told Dr. Singh that his government had created massive infrastructure by developing industrial belts in Himachal Pradesh to attract new industrial investment and also suitably modified its industrial and other policies to complement special industrial package. The State Government had invested hugely to set up new transmission and distribution lines to supply regular power to industrial units, while significant investments had been made to develop road and other infrastructure in these industrial areas.

However, withdrawal of the special industrial package which was earlier granted till 2013 would jeopardise all plans to bring investment to the State. He pointed out that premature termination of excise duty exemption had rendered the special package ineffective.

“Himachal Pradesh deserves continuation of the package in view of its tough geographical conditions, its industrial backwardness, and lack of rail and air connectivity, or else it would lose out to its neighbouring States in terms of industrialisation,” he added.

Mr. Dhumal also sought Dr. Singh's intervention for early completion of the Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri and Nangal-Talwara rail lines.

Significantly, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues had also demanded extension of the special package announced at the time of its creation in 2000. The then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had announced the package till 2013, but the Congress-led UPA government later reduced it till 2010. All five Congress MPs from the State have also urged Dr. Singh to extend the package till 2020, as being given to the North-Eastern States.

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