Dhumal blames Himachal government for financial mess

Shimla, June 10 (IANS) Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Monday blamed the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government in Himachal Pradesh for the deteriorating financial health of the state.

"The government has failed to get additional (financial) assistance from the central government. It has taken a loan of Rs.1,700 crore in three months and the state is heading towards a financial crunch," Dhumal, a BJP leader, said in a statement.

He said the special plan assistance in the annual plan 2012-13 was Rs.1,400 crore, which was reduced to Rs.1,350 crore in the next year's annual plan by the Planning Commission.

Dhumal, who also held finance portfolio from 2007-12, said he got the special plan assistance of Rs.1,400 crore in the annual plan of 2012-13, which was an increase of Rs.400 crore over the annual plan of 2011-12.

The BJP leader said the Congress government during its previous tenure in the state from 2002-07 had raised loans of Rs.8,032 crore and the total loan liability was Rs.21,241 crore at the end of 2007-08.

The subsequent BJP government, Dhumal said, had paid all the arrears of the pay revision, pension and dearness allowance liabilities of the employees and the total loan raised from 2008-09 to 2012-13 was Rs.7,272 crore.

Official sources told IANS that the state last month sought a special financial package from the central government to overcome a debt of a whopping Rs.29,000 crore.

They said Health Minister Kaul Singh met United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi May 3 and sought the special package for accelerating development.

He also urged Gandhi to revive the state's industrial package that expired in March 2010.

Tourism as well as horticulture and hydropower generation are major contributors to Himachal Pradesh's economic development.