Staff Correspondent

‘No special package or compensation for the fund-starved State’

Himachal suffered losses of more than Rs. 1,200 crore recently in flash floods and cloudbursts

No mention of various railway, drinking water and irrigation projects in the announcements

SHIMLA: The Himachal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has expressed its complete dissatisfaction with the announcements made on Tuesday for the hill State by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Party general secretary K.R. Balnatha said the Centre had not announced any special package for the fund-starved State or declared any compensation for Himachal which had suffered losses of more than Rs. 1,200 crore recently in flash floods and cloudbursts.

Taking a dig at the Virbhadra Singh-led State Government, he said the Chief Minister had failed to convince the Centre year-after-year about the need to give financial aid to the State. “Even the industrial package announced during the BJP-led NDA regime has been shortened to the year 2010 instead of its extension beyond 2013,” he said.

The majority of promises made in a Rs. 4,200-crore package declared by the Prime Minister in 2005 were still unfulfilled, said the BJP leader. “In the long awaited railway line between Bhanupalli and Bilaspur, the State will have to contribute its 25 per cent share now which would be very difficult,” he said.

The Union Finance Minister made no mention of the Baddi-Chandigarh railway line which was most urgent for industrial development of the State, he added. Mr. Chidambaram also did not utter a single word on the Rs. 518-crore drinking water scheme, Rs. 500 crore for rural roads, Rs. 242 crore for irrigation projects and Rs. 400 crore for the Nangal-Talwara rail line, though all these schemes were mentioned in the earlier package of the Prime Minister, said the BJP leader.

“The announcement of Central funding for a university and an IIT are just pre-poll sops for the State,” said Mr. Balnatha. Senior BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal in a statement said the hill folk would not be carried away by false promises. The Congress government in the State had surpassed all records of corruption, he charged.