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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Govt to get MI-17 cargo helicopter for relief operation

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times   Dehradun, June 14, 2014
First Published: 15:06 IST(14/6/2014) | Last Updated: 15:10 IST(14/6/2014)

The Centre will provide an MI-17 cargo chopper to Uttarakhand to ferry heavy equipment to calamity-hit high altitude areas to expedite reconstruction work in the state.

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An inter-ministerial group (IMG) chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth on Friday, took this decision in New Delhi, said an official release.

Taking heavy equipment and tools to places located at higher reaches, especially the Kedar valley has been a major hurdle in the reconstruction exercise underway in the region
for about a year.

It was also decided at the meeting to grant Uttarakhand government the right to transfer up to five hectares of land which will speed up stalled development activities and give forest clearance to land located at least 100 km away from the Line of Control on its own.

Earlier, the state government had the right to transfer only up to one hectare of
land on its own.

Cases involving transfer of land beyond this size used to be forwarded to the forest and environment ministry for clearance.

Similarly, Uttarakhand earlier had to wait for forest clearance in the border areas.

The right to give forest clearance to land located at least 100 km away from the border will expedite development work in frontier areas, the release said.

Uttarakhand chief secretary Subhash Kumar had raised these issues before the IMG at the last meeting held
in Delhi.


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more from Dehradun

‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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