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Funds plan before panel

Ranchi, May 4: The state government submitted a long list of demands to a four-member team of the Planning Commission that arrived in Ranchi today on a two-day visit.

During a meeting with the team, led by member K. Kasturirangan, state officials demanded central aid for mega projects in Jharkhand and a regional centre of the ministry of forest and environment in Ranchi.

Kasturirangan was accompanied by advisers Ashok Jain and J.P. Mishra and deputy adviser Y.N. Khanna.

On the other hand, the state was represented by acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, deputy chairman of Jharkhand State Planning Board A.K. Sarkar, development commissioner Sudhir Prasad, principal secretary (planning and development) D.K. Tiwari, among others.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Tiwari said the state officials contended that there should be central funding for ambitious projects, like a proposed bridge over the Ganga in Sahebganj.

This apart, the state also sought a grant of Rs 450-500 crore for a new building of Jharkhand High Court, among others, Tiwari added.

The Planning Commission team mainly emphasised on better utilisation of plan funds to achieve overall growth of the state.

The state officials claimed that around Rs 3,500 crore funds were not released by the Centre during the last fiscal. On this, the central officials pointed out that the state must have failed to furnish utilisation certificates in time to facilitate release of funds.

In the 2013-14 fiscal, Jharkhand could utilise less than Rs 10,000 crore of Rs 16,800 crore under its plan head.

Also, the state could not use a single penny of Rs 700 crore central funds under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme.

Notably, the state Assembly in February this year passed a budget of Rs 50,387.7 crore for the 2014-15 financial year.

The visiting team will hold another round of meeting with state officials tomorrow morning. Kasturirangan is also scheduled to meet chief minister Hemant Soren tomorrow.


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