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Handique mantra on NEC funds
Guwahati, Feb 10 (AGENCIES)
Published on 11 Feb. 2010 12:25 AM IST
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DoNER minister and chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC) B.K. Handique Tuesday said higher fund allocations to the council could only come with increased expenditure and higher offtake. He said though the proposed allocation during the 11th Five Year plan for the NEC was Rs 7,394 crore, the actual disbursement had been only Rs 1,824 crore in the first three years of the plan till now, the Telegraph reported. Handique said it was unlikely that the rest of funds could come in the next two years. “Members of the council have voiced their concerns on a number of occasions in this matter and only an upward curve of expenditure and higher offtake can convince the case for higher allocations,” the DoNER minister said at an NEC meeting here Tuesday. Earlier, chief minister Tarun Gogoi in his presentation at the meeting, stressed primarily three issues — improvement in connectivity, education and agriculture. “These issues must be addressed and implemented for development of the region and for the benefit of the common man. Poor connectivity is one reason for the backwardness of the region,” Gogoi said. Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar called for increasing the proposed outlay of the North Eastern Council (NEC) for 2010-11 to at least Rs.2,000 crore, of which Rs.1,500 crore should be allocated for new projects for the NEC to achieve its stated targeted goal. Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio also called for the equitable distribution of the NEC plan outlay at the rate of 10 per cent to each State and utilizing the remaining 20 per cent for the common interests of all the member States. Rio said that during the eighth and ninth Five Year Plans, Nagaland received only 3 per cent of the total NEC plan outlays. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi told journalists that he had stressed the need for giving top priority to improving connectivity, the formulation of a separate agriculture policy for the region, and ensuring remunerative prices to farmers and encouraging private investment in the education sector. Meghalaya chief minister D.D. Lapang pointed out that although the issue of equitable distribution of NEC funds had been a debatable issue since 2002, no consensus had yet evolved. He urged the NEC to ensure the timely release of funds.

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