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NE CMs ask DoNER to streamline NLCPR funds
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUN 24:
Published on 24 Jun. 2009 11:17 PM IST
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Chief Ministers of the North Eastern states on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) to streamline and speed up its processes for clearance of Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) projects to stimulate the economic prosperity in the region. Participating in the North East Chief Ministers’ meeting, arranged Union Minister for DoNER BK Handique, at the North Eastern Council headquarters here, the states complained of the inordinate delays in sanctioning NLCPR projects leading to “frustration” in the region. “Our experience of getting NLCPR projects sanctioned by DoNER has been far from satisfactory,” Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said. “There had been inordinate delays in many cases and the projects get tossed from DoNER to the line ministries endless number of times leading to frustration in these states,” he added. Sarkar, however, suggested that DoNER should streamline and speed up its own processes for clearance of the NLCPR projects without referring them to the line ministries. Infact, he even suggested, the DoNER ministry to set up an engineering cell under the ministry to technically examine the projects and clear them through a “committee system” to avoid the inordinate delays. Pointing out at the DoNER ministry’s own problem of spending the NLCPR funds, the Tripura Chief Minister said the Ministry could release the unspent funds to the States by way of Special Central Assistance. Echoing his counterparts, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio suggested the setting up of a Committee headed by Secretary DoNER and consisting of the Chief Secretaries or Planning Secretaries of the region to help in streamlining the projects and timely-implementation. Drawing the attention of the Union Minister for DoNER, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh pointed out the “four critical factors” - (i) short working session imposed by climatic conditions; (ii) depending on import of most construction materials; (iii) limited capacity in absorbing funds; and finally, adverse working environment due to militancy - that hinder implementation of developmental projects. Out of the eight North Eastern states, only four Chief Ministers -- Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya -- attended the meeting. The other states - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim - were represented by senior ministers. Earlier, in his inaugural address, Mr Handique appealed to the Chief Ministers of the region to join hands to realise the fruits of development work, while stressing on the need of transparent, speedy and effective implementation of NLCPR funds. ‘’Implementation of the developmental projects in the region is very important for us. If we can complete some of the pending projects within the 100 days timeline, this will ensure more projects for the region,’’ Handique said. The objective of NLCPR is to ensure speedy development of infrastructure in the North Eastern region by increasing the flow of budgetary financing for new infrastructure projects schemes. Recently, the ministry has been given the responsibility of monitoring the Prime Ministers’ Economic Packages for the region announced from time to time. The major functions of the DoNER ministry were related to the planning, monitoring of various developments projects, especially in power and communication infrastructure in the region.

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