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Goa assembly adopts 4-mnth vote-on-account appropriation bill

By Staff
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Panaji, Mar 23: Stoutly denying that his budget is ''directionless'', Goa Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane said all his efforts were to build assets and boost employment potential through industries.

''The whole direction of my budget is creation of assets and employment by inviting industries and generation of wealth,'' he said.

He was replying to a debate in the legislative assembly today on the four-month vote-on-account budget for Rs 1,386.87 crore for the new fiscal through an appropriation bill, which was later adopted by the House amid its censure by the BJP opposition.

The Chief Minister presented the budget for the year 2006-07 yesterday and moved the appropriation bill today on the penultimate day of the five-day session.

Mr Rane said several entrepreneurs, particularly from the IT sector, were willing to set up units in Goa soon.

He said he would have a re-look into liquor and farm subsidies announced in the budget.

He proposed formation of different committees to discuss various aspects of the budget proposals in-depth.

About the proposed state-of-the-airport at Mopa in North Goa, Mr Rane said the core committee, appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would take an appropriate decision on the issue. The committee is headed by him along with the three MPs from Goa being its members.

He said efforts were underway for proper policing in the state including streamlining of transport system.

''Leave everything to the judicious decision of the police department without interfering in its administration, which is doing a good job these days,'' the Chief Minister said while ruling out political interference in its administration.

Stating that one should protect all the religious places, he asked the panchayats not to allow people to raise illegal structures, which could become a law and order problem in due course.

Justifying the imposition of cess of Rs five per tonne on iron ore imported from neighbouring states for maintainance of roads, he pointed out that the government so far had collected more than Rs 60 lakh during the last one month.

 Taking a dig at some section of media, he said the newspapers should be careful about reporting on ''terrorists''. Some newspapers were ''flying kites'' as they attributed to him something which he did not mention. Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar, during the debate on the bill earlier, described the budget as ''directionless'', and said the government while removing the import tax on the one side, had levied it on the other.

He said the package offered to the tourism sector, particularly the hoteliers, was not ''flexible'' and the industry as a result would suffer as tourism was always seasonal in Goa.

Deputy Speaker Victoria Fernandes (Cong), however, censured the borrowing and spending policy in fiscal management.

She said the government should come out with a comprehensive slum development and rehabilitastion programme and village development programme, besides a master plan for development of towns and cities, which was not mentioned in the budget.

A task force be set up for evolving a master plan for sustainable urbanisation of major towns, she demanded.

Opposing the government policy of encouraging the gambling dens and casions in Goa, Ms Fernandes said instead, the government should carry out educational programmes on nutrition and family welfare measures with the help of NGOs.

She said that the government should open more police stations and strengthen the police force and do patrolling for better security.

Opposing the cess on imported chicken and eggs which constituted 95 per cent of the demand as against five per cent production in Goa, the Deputy Speaker said it would affect the consumers as also the industry in a big way, she added.

UNI

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