Ranchi (Agencies) Alleging “unconstitutional harassment” by the Centre over funds, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said pushed to the brink, the state is now devising its own innovative resource generation mechanism for self-sustenance.
Alleging unequal treatment, the chief minister of the JMM-led alliance in the state said tribal-rich state has been all along exploited and plundered.
Soren was sworn in as the 11th chief minister of the state in December 2019.
“There has been unconstitutional harassment to us…Centre diverted the funds of the state from Jharkhand’s account with the Reserve Bank of India towards clearing the dues of Damodar Valley Corporation…Perhaps this is the first such instance in the country, which is unheard of …The allocation is made programme-wise and you cannot spend it anywhere else,” Soren told to a news agency in an interview.
Soren alleged that the previous BJP-ruled regime had not paid DVC dues for five years but not only the state was forced to undergo unprecedented power crisis but faced resource crunch.
“Funds were diverted from our RBI consolidated fund …GST dues were there…We got jolts after jolts. By default this state has so much resources that we support others. We can support the country but it is very unfortunate that we are not able to run our own house under the circumstance… so how can we think about others….Now we are devising innovative resource generation mechanism for self-sustenance and development,” Soren said.
A federal structure needs that all pillars are strengthened, he said.
This tribal-dominated state is fed up of announcements of developments which have never translated into reality and no efforts were made during the last two decades to make it self-reliant, he said adding such policies are being framed by the state that Jharkhand will not have to look towards the Centre for every requirement.
Alleging lack of long-term plans for Jharkhand, Soren said: “We are not finding anything on ground… GST, demonetisation were done in the name of financial reforms. U turn was given to a 100 year system suddenly instead of gradual reforms…Now the condition of people whether farmers, businessmen or others is not good.”
As innovative resource planning, he said, the state has levied some cess on forest produce and minerals.
“We have changed some rules in transport and other sectors to generate some resources. Some more reforms are in the pipeline…we are studying these. Mines and minerals have been exploited to the hilt here without adequate revenue returns to the state be it Coal India or others…We are very strong on the front of the mines and minerals. We will develop tourism,” the chief minister said.
Jharkhand alone houses India’s 40 per cent of mineral wealth including 36 per cent of coal resources.
Soren said there is potential to generate huge employment in the state by proper planning and vision and said there are many states which had no resources but were considered developed.
Jharkhand has come out with proposed projects with investment potential of Rs 1 lakh crore that can create 5 lakh employment opportunities, he said.
Soren said the state has selected 155 industries for revival and will take a final call soon.
Selling closed factories or assets is the last solution, he said and added that they are being probed from all angles as some are closed for petty dues, some have land problem while some have tax liabilities.
He said Jharkhand is home to excellent hockey and football players while there is no lack of talent in archery.
“Sports has huge potential but sportspersons of the state are exploited…you know under what circumstances they live. We plan stating up sports complexes, stadiums…There is no dearth of cricket talent. Dhoni hails from here … and it has some impact,” he said.
At the same time, he said the state’s focus would be on enhancing the purchasing power of the rural people, boost their economy by setting up food processing units.
There are regions like Jamshedpur, Bundu Tamar where an overproduction of vegetables result in dumping of the same on roads in absence of storages and processing facilities.
“We are working in that direction…We plan food processing units,” he said.