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Uttaranchal Annual Plan fixed at Rs 4, 000 crore

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) The Planning Commission today approved Rs 4,000 crore as Annual Plan Outlay for 2006-07 for Uttaranchal, and a beaming Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari described this as a endorsement of the state's developmental work.

The allocation for the next fiscal, which includes a one-time Special Assistance of Rs 200 crore for priority projects, is 48.4 per cent higher than the outlay for 2005-06, which was pegged at Rs 2,700 crore.

''I am more than satisfied as I have got more than what I had asked for from the Planning Commission,'' Mr Tiwari told reporters after his meeting with Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in Yojna Bhavan.

Mr Tiwari said the state government has asked for a Plan outlay of Rs 3787 crore, but the Planning Commission hiked the amount to Rs 4000 crore ''in recognition of our good work and developmental initiatives.'' Complimenting the state for its efforts to accelerate development and making optimum use of resources, Dr Ahluwalia said the economic indicators were showing positive trends and the momentum for development was visible.

While lauding new initiatives in education sector, the Commission, however, drew the attention of the state government to high Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses and depleting forest cover.

Dr Ahluwalia advised the state to introduce capacity building programmes in the forest sector and take immediate measures to reduce T&D losses. He also suggested greater involvement of women in agriculture and focused attention on power, tourism and horticulture. A major chunk of the outlay of Rs 580 crore has been earmarked for the transport sector. It has been followed by education (Rs 520 crore), energy (Rs 452 crore), urban development (Rs 317 crore), rural development (Rs 260 crore), forestry (Rs 248 crore), health (Rs 173 crore), water supply (Rs 167 crore), irrigation (Rs 141 crore) and IT (121 crore).

Mr Tiwari told the commission that the growth rate was showing upward trend with per capita tax revenue better than the national average. However, there were some imbalances in the development of the state, which had to be corrected.

Sharing the exuberance of the chief Minister, Uttaranchal Chief Secretary M Ramachandran said the increase in allocation was ''a rare and out-of-way recognition of standard, quality and leadership'' shown by the state in bringing about development since its creation in 2000.

He said the state government would accord topmost priority to the development of infrastructure, especially roads and power, for catalysing the growth process in the hilly state.

''We have launched a number of initiatives for boosting tourism and drawn up at least four major power projects, which would generate 1900 MW this year,'' he said.

Dhauliganga, Tehri (1000 MW), Manesar Bhali and Vishnu Prayag, having a combined installed capacity of 1900 MW, are the four power projects which have been taken up by the state government.

Another priority area for the state government is better connectivity of rural areas through a network of roads.

''The governmnent hopes to create 1.5 lakh job opportunities through 1700 industrial units it has set up with an investment of Rs 15,000 crore,'' he said, adding that 70 per cent of jobs industrial units had been reserved for the local populace.

Elaborating, the Chief Secretary said tourism plans would be undertaken with public-private partnership.

''Bringing potable water to every village is a national mission, and the state government is also committed to realise this goal,'' he said.

UNI SKS NAZ SD RK1635

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