Chief Ministers to move Planning Commission on fund allocations

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Agartala, May 12 (UNI) The Chief Ministers of both Nagaland and Mizoram have urged the Centre to club the North Eastern Council with the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region for strengthening development in the region.

'' There is already a serious ongoing debate on the role of DoNER and the NEC, indicating that there is obviously something that needs rectification,'' Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio told UNI on the sidelines of the 56th plenary NEC meeting here.

He said the Administrative Reforms Commission have even gone to the extent of recommending that the affairs of the region be handled by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

'' Since the NEC was set up by an act of Parliament, consisting of Chief Ministers and Governors as its members,it should have the status and powers to make decisions and provide required funds for the development of the region,'' Mr Rio said.

He stated that the existence of DoNER, while doing its share for co-ordination with the line ministries at the Centre, has, however, also led the line ministries to neglect the responsibilities for the development of the region.

In that eventuality, Mr Rio felt that the Planning Commission should be entrusted with the task of coordinating development of North East region.

Urging the Planning Commission to review the NEC's budget allocation 2008-09, Mizoram Chief Minister Pu Zoramthanga said the current level of allocation of Rs 624 crore is grossly inadequate for the Council to address the priority sectors.

''We are going to request the Planning Commission to allocate more funds for the development of the remote North eastern states,'' Pu Zoramthanga said.

He said the Rs 624 crore budget outlay does not denote even a 5 per cent increase over the last year's budget.

'' Therefore, it's doubtful, with such limited resources for the NEC to fulfill its role as the regional Planning body as constitutionally mandated,'' Mr Zoramthanga said.

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