“Power department crucial to bridge resource gap”

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IMPHAL, February 25: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has called on the people of Manipur to support the reformation of power department stating that the revenue collected from this department would serve as one of the bridges to the looming ‘resource gap’ ahead as a result of the withdrawal of special category status.

The Chief Minister stated this on the floor house during the ongoing budget session while responding to queries raised by the opposition MLAs while moving their cut motion during the general discussion on voting for grants 2016-17.

According to the Chief Minister, if the power tariff collection since the introduction of prepaid metre, become more efficient it could generate revenue at the minimum of Rs 300 crore. This not only would ensure regular power supply in the state but bridge the looming ‘resource gap’ in the state, he said adding that urged the people to support the initiative of the department.

Noting the unsound financial position of the state since the withdrawal of special category status in north eastern state particularly Manipur, a state with limited resources, the Chief Minister informed the house that it has to mobilise its available resources effectively like Excise, Power, Taxes etc to overcome the challenges ahead.

He pointed out that the state needs atleast 2000 crore for implementation of centrally sponsor schemes including payment of salary, pension for state Government employee etc. However, the state can no longer rely only on the mercy of the Centre Government, he said.

Besides the resource mobilisation, effective financial management was another measure to curb the menace of financial woe, continued Ibobi adding that he sought everyone’s co-operation in the interest of the state.

Moving their cut motion, the opposition MLA Dr Ibohalbi Singh and L Ibomcha Singh, demanded a white paper on budget estimate for the current explaining how to control and reduce unnecessary outflow of funds.

Further in his response the Chief Minister informed the house that the Government has no definite plan to whether lift or not to lift the ban imposed on sales of liquor citing the sensitivity of the issue.

However, the issue is under active consideration, he said citing the relevance at the present context of resource limitation.

Ibobi reiterated that as per the Government’s calculation the state can generate around Rs 300 to 500 crore if the prohibition on sale of liquor is lifted.

In the meantime, the Chief Minister informed that house that punitive action would be given to those contractors engaged in the repairing of the Sekmai Dam, that collapsed last year, if the target of completion could not be met.

He clarified that the construction work of Dam is going on in full swing adding that the current repair work was carried out under the own expenses of the contractors.

In the meantime, the Chief Minister also informed the house that strong instruction have been given to work agency engaged in the building construction o IPR department to expedite their work to meet the deadline which likely would be by April this year.

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