Centre releases Rs 700 crore for different projects in U'khand

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Dehradun, Apr 1 (PTI) Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Thursday said a sum of Rs 700 crore has been released by the Centre for several projects in the state, including the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Sharing the information at a press conference held virtually, Rawat, who is in isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19, said the amount includes Rs 325 crore released as Special Assistance Capital for the Kumbh Mela.

He said organising the Kumbh Mela on a grand scale is the government's commitment and all steps are being taken accordingly.

The Kumbh Mela is held in Haridwar once in 12 years and everyone coming to attend it will be allowed to have a holy bath in the Ganga, the chief minister said.

'The Centre's guidelines will be followed strictly, but at the same time, it will also be ensured that the devotees are not hassled unnecessarily,' he added.

Pilgrims as well as seers are being taken care of and they are all happy with the arrangements, Rawat said.

He also spoke about how devotees in Kumbh Kshetra were showered with flower petals by helicopters for the first time on the last bathing day on Mahashivratri.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the event, besides ramping up medical facilities in the mela area to deal with any situation. A 150-bed hospital has been built and 39 temporary hospitals with a total capacity of 463 beds have also been set up, Rawat said.

He also highlighted various infrastructure works completed in the mela area recently with adequate help from the Centre. With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise, the focus is on further improving the health facilities and managing the crowds on the main bathing days, the chief minister said.

He also asked officials to prepare a 75-day work plan for the effective implementation of public welfare programmes. The idea is to ensure that people get maximum benefits from the programmes meant for them, Rawat said.

The secretaries of all departments will prepare the work plan and the chief secretary will monitor their progress every 30 days, he said, adding that it is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plans to celebrate the completion of 75 years of the country's independence on August 15.

The DGP will also entrust senior police officials with preparing such plans and monitor their progress, Rawat said, adding that no negligence in this regard will be tolerated.

The 75-day work plan of all the departments should reach the chief minister's secretariat within 75 hours, he said.

On steps taken by the state government for forest-fire management, Rawat said a fire plan has been prepared by each district under which fire crew stations have been set up and arrangements made for monitoring the fire lines.

A total of 2,000 forest-fire kits have been bought and an additional Rs 180 crore released to the forest divisions to set up a forest fire control room, the chief minister said. PTI ALM RC