Himachal gets Rs.22,800 crore in 12th Five-Year Plan

New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Thursday said the central government has approved Rs.22,800 crore in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan as allocation for the state.

Speaking at the 57th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) here, he said "the allocation under the Twelfth Five-Year Plan is 65 percent higher than the previous plan, highest in the country".

Government officials told IANS that the state had sought Rs.27,556 crore from the Planning Commission under the 12th Plan.

The chief minister said the state would achieve an annual growth rate of nine percent per annum in comparison to national average of 8.2 percent.

He said the higher growth rate of 4.5 percent would be achieved in agriculture and allied sector from the present 4.2 percent growth rate by increasing farm productivity.

The chief minister said the government is spending more than nine percent of its Plan allocation on agriculture and allied sectors.

He said the government would ensure efficient management of pre- and post-harvesting operations and encourage the cultivation of off-season vegetables, organic farming and setting up of poly-houses to raise the farm income during the Plan period.

Virbhadra Singh, who took oath as the chief minister Dec 25, requested the central government to assist the state in setting up food processing industries and sought increase in import duty three times on imported apples to protect the domestic industry.

He also demanded restoration of air traffic to the state to promote tourism and provision of subsidy on heli-taxi service on the pattern of northeastern states.

He sought liberal central assistance for expansion and upgradation of the civil aviation infrastructure in the state and demanded expansion of runway of the airport near Shimla.

"The union government should declare Baddi-Kalka and Bilaspur-Leh via Manali railway lines as projects of national importance," he said.

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