C. K. Chandramohan

Ask for restoration of Central Excise exemption

DEHRA DUN: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal have sent a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking immediate restoration of the Central Excise exemption component of the Special Industrial Package given to the two hill States for a ten-year period by the NDA Government in 2003.

The memorandum was finalised during a meeting of the two Chief Ministers in Shimla earlier in the week. Both the Chief Ministers would be meeting the Prime Minister on this issue soon, it was stated.

This vital component of the package giving cent per cent exemption to industrial units in the two States for a ten-year period from the date they started production was a major incentive to attract investments but somehow got slashed by the Centre and expired on March 31 this year. “The withdrawal of this facility has forced many investors to withdraw and new entrepreneurs are finding ventures not profitable -- thereby retarding the industrial growth of the two BJP-ruled States,” Mr. Nishank told media persons here.

“The Centre is expected to act as the mother of all States. Instead of nurturing the siblings, the UPA Government has selectively withdrawn the oxygen supply to the industrial impetus ushered in by [the then Prime Minister] Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.” He also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to not only restore the original package but extend it till 2020 as done in the case of North-Eastern States.

Mr. Nishank pointed out that both States have a green cover of over 65 per cent and at least one member of every family works in the defence forces. Jobless young men were migrating resulting in a large number of abandoned villages in the strategically important areas.