NITI Ayog meet: Baghel seeks special economic package for C'garh

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Raipur, Feb 20 (PTI) Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday said the Centre must provide a special economic package for industrial development in the forest and mineral- rich state of Chhattisgarh.

Speaking during a virtual meeting of the NITI Ayog chaired by Modi, Baghel sought assistance for the proposed Bodhghat multipurpose irrigation project on Indravati river in Bastar.

'Chhattisgarh is a forest and mineral-rich, tribal- dominated state and therefore, a special (economic) package is expected (from the Centre) for industrial development here,' he said.

The state has been deprived of the benefits of coal blocks despite having abundant reserves, he said, seeking that coal blocks be allotted to the state's public sector units.

The royalty rates of minerals have not increased after 2014, causing irreparable loss to the state government, the chief minister pointed out, demanding a revision in the royalty rates.

Baghel further briefed the Prime Minister about policies and schemes of his government for industrial, agriculture and infrastructure growth and development of Naxal-hit areas, and requested the Centre to provide additional economic resources.

The state government has decided to set up Bodhghat multipurpose irrigation project on Indravati river in Bastar to boost irrigation facilities in the tribal-dominated region, he said, urging Modi to provide assistance for the project.

The chief minister also urged the Centre to permit the manufacturing of ethanol from surplus paddy procured from farmers in the state, citing that the move will aid cultivators financially.

Apart from this, Baghel also suggested subsidies for farmers on procuring vermicompost, like the ones provided for chemical fertilisers.

The chief minister also requested the Centre to approve the setting up of a cargo hub and a dry port in Raipur for development of industries and promote export business in the state.

As per the release, Baghel also urged the Centre to release Rs 13,440 crore, which is due to the state by way of GST compensation, additional levy on coal (mined from the states reserves) and pending amount of rice allocated under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna for PDS.

Referring to the performance of aspirational districts in Chhattisgarh on all parameters of development, he suggested that cultural promotion should also be given due importance and place in the concept of aspirational districts.

Baghel also requested the Centre not to disinvest the upcoming steel plant of NMDC Ltd in Nagarnar village of Bastar, it said. PTI TKP ARU ARU