Varanasi Mar 15: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has ruled out early Lok Sabha, saying that the budgetary proposal of waiving farmers loans to the tune of Rs 60000 crore was not a populist decision keeping in mind the polls but was aimed at taking care of the poor peasants' plight.
Speaking to reporters in Varanasi last evening, he said elections will be held "as per schedule." "At least, there will be no elections this year", he added. Asked about Mayawati government's favouring creation of smaller states to be carved out of Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Singh said, the Centre would consider if a proposal to this effect comes from the State Government. To a query on the implementation of various Central development schemes in UP, he said "the situation is not satisfactory".
Dr. Singh said has said that the Central Government would be willing to fund a major public transport project for Varanasi. The State Government will be requested to forward a project to Centre and a decision will be taken on this proposal favourably.
Pointing out that Varanasi is included in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), he said the Tourism Ministry has also taken up Varanasi under its mega projects scheme for tourism development and the state government would be asked to form a Group of Experts to prepare a Heritage Development Plan for the city which would funded from JNNURM and other sources.
"A sum of Rs 70 crore would be provided to Varanasi under the Mega Cluster Scheme announced in this year's union budget to improve the infrastructural facilities for weavers through better storage, weaving, production, health, training and design facilities," Dr. Singh Said.
Dr. Singh further added that the Centre would work with the State Government to bring a large number of powerloom workers under the Rashtriya Swastiya Bima Yojana to be launched from April 1, this year.
On the payment of overdue of electricity bills, Dr. Singh said the government was working to see how relief could be provided to weavers from the burden of past electricity bills.