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More funds for power

Ranchi, Dec. 13: The Hemant Soren government tabled its second supplementary budget in the Assembly today, the first day of the winter session, amidst protests by Opposition parties.

The food and civil supplies, civil aviation, road construction, panchayati raj and energy departments are among the main beneficiaries in the Rs 1,327.84-crore supplementary budget.

A senior finance department official said some of the departments would not be able to utilise their entire allocations under the Plan head.

Hence, the “surplus” funds had been transferred to all those departments that had been performing well and needed more funds to complete various ongoing projects this financial year.

Sources said the energy department would spend the new budgetary allocation on improving transmission and distribution by setting up power grids, inter-linking of grids and replacing old overhead wires. Power Grid Corporation of India is currently engaged in laying new transmission lines across Jharkhand.

“We are still using power supply network of the unified Bihar era, which often pose problems. Now, we are going to install new lines to streamline power supply,” said finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh, who also heads the energy department.

The Rs 149.87 crore allocated to the food and civil supplies department will be used to fulfil the state government’s promise to distribute dhotis and saris for Rs 10 each to over 35.38 lakh BPL families.

“This fiscal, we will give only one dhoti and one sari. From the next financial year, they will get two each,” said food and civil supplies minister Simon Marandi.

Though the panchayati raj department had been given the maximum allocation, its minister Chandra Sehkhar Dubey rued the funds were not enough. “The government is giving Rs 10 lakh to each panchayat for construction of paved cement concrete roads and improving drainage. But, even Rs 450 crore will not be enough to cover all the 4,423 panchayats,” he argued.

The civil aviation department will utilise the allocation to compensate people who had given up land for the expansion of Birsa Munda Airport.

JVM legislature party leader Pradip Yadav questioned the real need for a second supplementary budget when the state had only utilised 22 per cent of the allocations made in the main budget.

“This government is only interested in financial transactions, whether it benefits common people or not,” said Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto.

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