The Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, who will complete nine months in his office on December 9, on Wednesday said that his government is in no threat of any kind and would complete its five-year tenure smoothly.
BY RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR
PANAJI: The Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, who will complete nine months in his office on December 9, on Wednesday said that his government is in no threat of any kind and would complete its five-year tenure smoothly.
In an interview with ‘The Navhind Times,’ the Chief Minister maintained that the components of any government have their own problems, own issues, own complaints and own grievances, but the same cannot be interpreted as desire of these components to change the leadership or overthrow the government. "Some of these grievances may have remained unattended, and some may feel neglected," he added, pointing that all such grievances would be immediately resolved.
Speaking further, the Chief Minister said that the closure of mining industry and the future of his government are two different things and have no relation to each other whatsoever. "And then everyone knows that the starting of the state mining industry depends on the Supreme Court verdict," he added.
Remarking on his nine-month old government, the Chief Minister admitted that there has been some setback to his government as regards scheduling of its administrative activities since much time of his officers was spent on mining issue. "I had to engage my officers in various mining-related works including provision of information to the Central Empowered Committee constituted by the Supreme Court," he said, noting that a large part of this information was missing and had to be gathered with much difficulty.
"In fact, I had to hold back the work on the Regional Plan 2021, which I intended to finalise within six months, as it clashed with the contentious issue of mining," Mr Parrikar said, mentioning that he did not want to open up the Regional Plan 2021 under such circumstances. "In fact, the government sets up targets for so many different projects and schemes but rarely the targets are achieved for each one of them; and then we have to take up these projects and schemes on priority," he said, adding that he has a tenure of five years to rule the state, and no work would be left either unattended or incomplete when the next assembly election arrives in 2017.
Maintaining that he would have been one month ahead on the timeline of his tenure as the Chief Minister, had not the mining issue come up with such tremendous load of work, the Chief Minister said that once the Supreme Court hearing on mining matter takes place, the rest of the court procedure would run in a routine manner, giving his government sufficient time to concentrate on other developmental activities. "I am sure that next year, I would be relieved of all the mining-related pressures," he predicted.
Stating that he had especially retained the education portfolio with him as education was an important sector, Mr Parrikar said that he, however, could not do as much as he wanted to in this field. "Nevertheless, my government has started the partial implementation of the Right to Education Act, which would gather speed, next year," he said, revealing that at least 30 to 40 education-related issues were cleared by him during the past nine months.
"And as for the distribution of additional portfolios to my ministers, it may happen in the next few days," the Chief Minister said, pointing out that it is a trivial matter since the portfolios would be minor ones such as legal metrology, protocol and so on. "I have retained important portfolios like mining and geology, and town and country planning as there are serious illegalities in these departments, which have to be tackled carefully," he noted.
Replying to a question as regards financial crunch faced by the government due to closure of the state mining industry, Mr Parrikar, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that he has ensured that any financial crisis will not affect government schemes and projects. "But then there is no financial crisis before me even though the government is bound to lose revenue to the tune of Rs 400 to Rs 500 crore because of the closure of mining activities," he said, adding that this shortfall can be handled easily, as mining does not form the sole income source of the government.
The Chief Minister also said that he would regain much of the financial component lost through mining revenue by the time the budget is presented in the assembly in March 2013. "In fact, my government has already plugged so many leakages in the state revenue thus saving lot of money," Mr Parrikar said, noting that he has even cleared the financial liabilities of the previous government amounting to Rs 1,000 crore, which he will not face during the next financial year. "I am systematically trying to fill the gaps and have even paid the pending Rs 55 crore amount as linked to the Cyberage scheme, dating back past two years," he revealed, informing that the Cyberage scheme for the next year would be initiated in January 2013.
"And then the process of taking loans would also continue, which would provide funds to my government," Mr Parrikar said, brushing off the allegations that the payment of salaries to the government employees is delayed due to absence of funds in the government treasury. "In fact, the salary is going early due to the electronic transfer method adopted by the banks," he briefed, pointing that the delay may be due to the continuous three or four day holidays, which were more frequent this year.
The Chief Minister also said that for the first time, the posts of Grade I officers were filled by the government. "But then we had to be careful while making this recruitment as sudden recruitment of large number of officers at one level could create a vacuum at the other level," he noted.
Remarking on his nine-month rule, the Chief Minister said that the baby is very healthy, in spite of the fact that it had to unfortunately face atrocities in the womb, during the tenure of the past government. "I am sure that this baby will grow in a normal manner," he said, assuring that the state would go from strength to strength during the five-year tenure of his government. [NT]