Parrikar makes impassioned plea for special status
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who was lukewarm so far about special status for Goa, has now made an impassioned plea before the Centre for special status for Goa under Article 371 citing large scale land purchase by foreigners and corporates, and fear of loss of identity.
“We demand special status by including Goa under the Protective Cover of Article 371”, Parrikar said, pointing out that land purchased by foreigners and big corporate houses was creating a land crisis and prices had skyrocketed “making it impossible for locals to buy land, creating fear of loss of identity. We therefore demand special status by including Goa under the Protective Cover of Article 371.
The state has the highest Per Capita Income in the country, a growth rate of 10 per cent plus and its Cash Transfer of subsidy in place since 2002 with 100 per cent government payments made through ECS, the chief minister, Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday at the 57th National Development Council (NDC) meeting. Whilst extolling the achievements of the State, the chief minister in the same breath attacked the Congress-led UPA regime for its step-motherly treatment towards Goa, demanding special status for the state.
Referring to the present ban on mining due to irregularities and illegal mining and its export, Parrikar argued that “the sins of past Government for which the current Government has to pay a heavy price was possible only because of connivance by those in Environment Ministry who had issued indiscriminate and illegal Environment Clearance Certificates,” and it was only after the Shah Commission report that the Environment Minister has held all ECs of mining companies in abeyance. He also pointed out that the buffer zone demarcation issue has been pending for 17 years in court.
He stated that the stoppage of mining had led to almost 25 to 30 per cent revenue loss and almost 20 per cent of state population was unemployed. Additionally Rs 2000 Cr had become non performing assets of which 50 per cent were from State Co-operative Banks, “making those Banks unviable.” He argued, “Any collapse of these banks will cause further miseries to other sectors dependent on the co-operative sector.”
Parrikar urged the Centre to help the state with rehabilitation package, arguing that it had been gaining a disproportionate share of mining which was around $ 5 billion in export. “The Centre gets Rs 7000 crore income, as against Rs 1000 crore gained by State,” he said.
, adding, “The Rehabilitation efforts therefore needs support and contribution by ways of a generous Special Financial Package from the Central Government.” The chief minister appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “to give due attention to this problem.”
“Injustice has been done to small & progressive states. The Gadgil Mukerjee formula results in injustice to state in resource mobilisation. Goa contributes Rs 10000 crores to Central Government, while getting back less than Rs 800 crores as State Share,” Parrikar said.
Mooting a paradigm shift as opposed to tinkering, the chief minister said that schemes devised by Central Government were divorced from local realities “and in many cases non implementable.”
The Centre has been treating small states like Union Territories under its domain, he said bringing up the recent clash on transfers.
“… the manner in which, the MHA, particularly the petty officials, in spite of assurance by Home Minister, behave with us, leaves bad taste in Centre State relations. It is high time Hon’ble Prime Minister directs the bureaucracy in MHA to be more sensitive and stop this potentially developing clash between States & Centre on management of AGMUT Cadre,” he said arguing that the centre needs to resolve water disputes on priority or else Agricultural growth would be sabotaged.
“Whether it is Mhadei diversion by Karnataka or recent politically motivated stoppage of water from Tillari by Maharashtra, are all issues that arise out of lack of initiative in resolving such issues by Centre,” he said. [H]