Power, road and industry prioritised in new fiscal
Shillong, Mar 26: The Meghalaya government has prioritised roads, power and industries to boost economic uplift of the state with Rs 374.25 crore earmarked for the departments for the next fiscal.
The government had termed roads and bridges as the ''most important infrastructure'' and observed that the total road length in the state is 7886 kms with a road density of 36km/100 sq km, lower than the national average.
Finance Minister Donkupar Roy's emphasis over improving infrastructure could be noticed when during the coming financial year it was proposed to take up 89 km of new road construction, 166 kms under metalling and balck topping, 70 km for improvement and widening works and 848 running metre (RMS) for construction of major and minor bridges.
Official sources said the land acquired for the Shillong bypass has already been taken over and construction of the same entrusted to the National Highway Authority of India by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The PWD had been given Rs 112.13 crore for the new fiscal for besides the roads, the government also wants to construct major building projects such as the Meghalaya House at Mumbai, Jail Complex at Nongpoh (Ri-Bhoi district) and reconst Meghalaya House at Russel Street, Kolkata.
The government had also expressed concern over the recent power crisis though Meghalaya earlier enjoyed the distinction of power surplus state.
With industrialisation fast growing, the demand has gone up Rs 242.35 crore has been earmarked for the department.
The peak power requirement in the state is of the order of 315 MW against the installed capacity of 185.20 MW.
To tide over the crisis, the government adopted a two-pronged strategy to meet the deficit.
One step had been to bridge the gap in power generation and second to increase capacity in the transmission sector and avail of state share of power available from the Central sector power stations.
In the context of rural electrification, a total of 3806 villages in the state had been electrified till December last year.
The Centre also launched the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran ojana (RGGVY), to provide access to electricity to all rural households in a period of five years.
The state government had proposed to avail of the funds under this project in all seven districts. Further 160 villages of the state are proposed to be electrified through non-onventional energy sources with the financial assistance of the Central Government.
A total amount of Rs 235.33 crore has been sanctioned for schemes under the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP) over the last five year period.
These schemes are scheduled to be completed within 2006-07.
While, plan are afoot to generate power, the government has said it would continue to accord priority to the development of industries in the state.
Twentysix industrial undertakings had been set up in the industrial area at Umian and 77 undertakings set up in the Export Promotion Industrial Park at Byrnihat and the declared schedule area at Khanapara.
These undertakings had generated about 6,500 job opportunities based on local resources.
The small Scale Sector had generated 28,286 employment opportunities through 5,101 registered industrial units in the state.
The Meghalaya Khadi and Village Industries Board will continue to extend financial assistance under the Rural Employment Generation Programme with margin money to the extent of 30 per cent of the project cost.
The Meghalaya Handloom and Handicrafts Corporation will provide a viable platform for popularisation, marketing and sale of local handloom and handicraft products.