Uttarakhand has to repay Rs 16,000-cr debt: Khanduri

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Bhopal, Sep 23 (UNI) Uttarakhand Chief Minister Major-General (Retd) B C Khanduri today said that the most formidable challenge before his natural resource-rich state was to repay a debt of Rs 16,000 crore.

''A cause for concern is that, by 2011-12, interest paid on the debt will be to the tune of Rs 2,500 to 3,000 crore while the state's annual plan is itself Rs 4,000 crore,'' he told mediapersons. Maj-Gen Khanduri is attending the Bharatiya Janata Party's three-day National Executive meet that concludes here today.

The Chief Minister, who assumed Uttarakhand's reins this March, claimed that despite the circumstances his BJP government launched a campaign for bringing the state's economy back on track.

''Central assistance will also be sought for development. For making the economy robust and generating additional finances, 10 to 15,000 MW power will be generated. Attempts are being made to prevent smuggling of rare herbs and illegal mining. These attempts will lead to earning of about Rs 2,000 crore revenue,'' Maj-Gen Khanduri added.

Instead of mammoth power projects, minor projects of maximum 400 MW capacity would be accorded importance, he said while adding that he did not favour mega projects as they took too much time.

''I will explore the possibilities of seeking aid from international financial institutions and adequate utilisation of our natural resources from the scientific and environmental viewpoints.

Austerity measures are being strictly implemented and illegal deforestation stringently checked,'' he explained.

While highlighting achievements over the past six months, the Chief Minister alleged that corruption reached its limit during the predecessor Congress regime's tenure. The BJP prepared a list of about 50 scams prior to the Assembly polls. They were under investigation and several illegal appointments cancelled.

''The steps to buttress the economy are already showing results.

The administration has been made active and sensitive,'' he added.


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