Saurabh Sood | TNR
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur and Himachal Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur are not in sync when it comes to unfinished Central projects in Himachal.
Ball put in CM’s court by Union minister
At a press conference held during a stopover of his Jan Ashirwad Yatra, in Dharamshala on Sunday, Anurag Thakur put the ball in the Chief Minister’s court over the question of unfinished projects like rail, road expansion, sports excellence centre etc, by stating that unless the state government did not give land or declare its own share of funding, these projects could not be taken forward.
The Chief Minister, who landed in Palampur the next day, was quick to retort that the state government could complete all formalities regarding land acquisition etc only after getting the final approval and funds from the central government, thus putting the Union minister in the dock.
War of words between the two in the past
This is not the first time that the Chief minister and Anurag Thakur have clashed over issues. Earlier, last year, there was a war of words between the two over the construction of the Central University in Dehra, the condition of roads and the Mata Baglamukhi Temple Trust. BJP president JP Nadda had to intervene and settle the political cold war between the two. There have also been differences between the two over ignoring Dhumal supporters in the state government.
Development woes of debt-ridden Himachal
Irrespective of the government in power, this hill state has always resorted to loans for development, thus piling up debts constantly. Currently, the state has a huge debt of Rs 61,000 crores which makes it very difficult for any development project to proceed or materialise, since there are very few funds left for its funding. The state is dependent almost entirely on the thus central government assistance for major projects.
Major projects stuck due to lack of funding
Some major projects like the expansion of Kangra airport, Una-Hamirpir rail line, 69 highways and the construction of the Pathankot-Mandi four-lane, Pathankot-Joginder Mandi broad gauge rail line, the water sports centre at Pong reservoir, construction of the Central University campus at Dharamshala are some of the projects that have been stuck for several years following lack of required approvals.