Dhumal takes exception to calling World Bank loan as 'grant'

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Shimla, Nov 7 (UNI) Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today took exception to the state government's decision to term the World Bank's Rs 800 crore loan as ''grant'', saying it was a ploy to mislead the electorate just before the elections.

''The government's latest ploy to term Rs 800 crore World Bank loan as grant speaks volumes of both financial and intellectual bankruptcy of the Congress party,'' he said in a release here.

Mr Dhumal said this was a last ditch and desperate effort to hoodwink the electorate just before the assembly elections.

He wondered why the government was signing the loan agreement with the Bank if it was not a loan.

Drawing parallel between the state Congress Government and the Roman Emperor Nero, he said while Nero was busy playing the violin as Rome was burning, the Congress was busy in building castles in the air.

The former chief minister alleged that the Bank loan had been taken for debt repayment, which had reached alarming proportions due to the wrong fiscal policies of the Virbhadra Singh Government.

The Congress Government has pushed the state into a debt trap wherein more and more loans were being raised to offset the interest burden of the previous loans and borrowings, he said.

Mr Dhumal alleged that while the government was raising loans from the Bank, several hundred thousand were lying unspent with the deputy commissioners, DRDa project officers, BDOs and other developmental agencies.

Referring to the CAG report, he said it too had pointed out that the state was falling into a debt trap.

He said the government was not even aware of the implications of its contradictory and self-defeating policies, adding that the loan was an attempt for a cover-up of its fiscal follies.

The former chief minister also called upon the state government to make public the hidden costs of this loan amount.


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