Ranchi, Dec. 13: Chief minister Arjun Munda held meetings with Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy, Planning Commission member Kasturi Rangrajan and Planning Commission member secretary Sudha Pillai in New Delhi today to secure more sops for the state during the next financial year.
Munda in his meeting with Reddy, focused mainly on the challenges faced by the state in matters of urban development. Though the chief minister took a more optimistic line of approach, maintaining that things had started improving since he assumed office, the Union minister expressed his concerns on the tardy progress of development schemes in the state.
The chief minister also lobbied for the expansion of Jharkhand Bhavan in Delhi stating that the existing building in Vasant Vihar had just 20 rooms to house guests. He added that state guests often had to face difficulties due to the space crunch.
“Ministers, legislators and officials coming to Delhi often have to look for alternate accommodations in hotels burning a hole in the state exchequer due to the space crunch in Jharkhand Bhavan,” said Munda.
He added that the expansion of the Bhavan would also help the state to set up a cultural or a tourist information centre, which is essential for the economic growth of any state.
In a separate meeting with Rangarajan and Pillai, the chief minister discussed areas in which the state could increase its budgetary spending for development in the next fiscal year.
Highlighting the fact that all necessary steps had been taken in accordance with the Planning Commission directives during its last visit to the state, Munda stated that things in the state were looking up.
After assuming charge at the helm of the state government, a team of Planning Commission officials, including commission secretary Sudha Pillai, principal adviser S.P. Seth and adviser Sat Pal Chauhan had visited the state for two days (September 19 and 20) to gauge Jharkhand’s “problems” on Munda’s invitation. The commission members after carefully analysing the status of different schemes implemented in the state, had given necessary directions to officials to plug loopholes.
The chief minister is tentatively scheduled to meet Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar tomorrow.
Munda is expected to discuss not only the prevalent drought situation in the state but also means to boost agricultural output and ways to ensure the smooth functioning of public distribution system in the state.
But, he will also be meeting union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar tomorrow. Discussions on drought scenario, ways and means to boost agriculture and smoothening PDS supplies, figure prominently on the agenda of his proposed meeting with Pawar.