Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday called on Union Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi and requested for expediting the formalities for early launch of UDAAN – 2 project in Himachal Pradesh.
Emphasising that connectivity is a major issue in the state and air connectivity is vital for boosting tourism sector, he apprised the Union Minister that there was huge delay in submission of DPRs and completion of other formalities in UDAAN – 2 project.
The chief minister requested for making stop gap arrangements for starting helicopter services by operating intervening helipads for providing connectivity between Chandigarh -Baddi/Kasauli-Shimla-Kullu-Dharamshala.
Thakur also took up the matter of international airport at Mandi and conducting Obstacles Limitation Survey at the earliest for hastening the process for further clearances. He also urged for looking into providing technical solutions for expansion of Shimla airstrip for facilitating bigger air-crafts.
Prabhu assured of conducting Obstacles Limitation Survey at the earliest and directed the officers of the Ministry to work out an immediate solution for executing stop gap arrangements and speedy launch of UDAAN – 2.
SEEKS USE OF DEFENCE HELIPAD AT MANALI FOR TOURISM
The Chief Minister also met Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi and urged for according permission for using SASE defence helipad at Manali for tourism purpose.
Thakur said Himachal Pradesh witnesses heavy tourist influx especially Manali and surrounding areas and in order to boost tourism this would help and improve connectivity. The CM apprised her that roads in Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti being maintained by BRO were not in good condition and needed proper maintenance. He said that these were the only access roads to the hydel projects being constructed on Sutlej and Chenab rivers and requires immediate attention.
Thakur also requested the Union Minister for renaming Rohtang tunnel on the name of late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who had a very special attachment for the people of the state. He informed that the tunnel was a gift to the people of the state as during his tenure only the project came up.
The Defence Minister agreed in principle for according permission to use SASE helipad for tourism purpose and also directed the officers concerned to issue necessary directions to BRO for upkeep of roads.
Additional Chief Secretary Shrikant Baldi, ACS Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu were also present in the meetings.
CM URGES HASSLE FREE CREDIT FACILITY
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at New Delhi and apprised him that State Cooperative Banks have not been made member lending institutions under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) and Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) due to that potential entrepreneurs were not getting collateral free loans facility under various GoI flagship programmes like MUDRA, PMEGP, NRLM, NULM etc.
The CM requested for personal intervention in the matter to ensure facilitating easy and hassle free credit facility under various GoI schemes to the target groups through Cooperative Banks.
Thakur said that this would not only help the Cooperative Banks in expanding their credit portfolios but also go a long way in generating employment, creating livelihood as well as growth and diversification of agriculture and agro based industries due to the hassle free credit advancement and collateral free credit facility.
Chief Minister also urged for intervention regarding persuading the World Bank to continue to fund the Integrated Development Project for source sustainability and climate resilient rain fed agriculture (IDP) as a separate project. He informed that IDP and Forest for Prosperity (FPP) were merged taking the view that both projects were being implemented by same department and have contiguous objectives and outcomes.
Jaitley listened to the demands of the Chief Minister and assured to provide all possible help in these matters.