Press Release
Hindustan Times, Dated 23.12.2006

   Panel has a bailout pill for ravaged J&K   

JAY Raina
New Delhi, December 22

THE TASK Force set up by the Prime Minister on develop­ment of Jammu and Kashmir has recommended a Rs 8,302-crore package for the econom­ic reconstruction of the state, ravaged by militancy for the past two decades.

Key recommendations in­clude the transfer of the 390 MW Dulhasti hydroelectric project to the state, a Rs 1,750 crore rural roads development programme and a satellite business city estimated at Rs 200 crore to decongest the - state's summer capital — Sri-nagar, and the development of a special investment zone to at­tract industry so as to generate much-needed employment es­pecially for the educated youth.

Constituted by prime minis­ter Manmohan Singh in March 2005, the nine-member force led by noted economist Dr C. Rangarajan presented its report to him on Friday morning. The panel had been mandated to firm up recommendations to ensure rapid economic recon­struction of the state afflicted by terrorism-related violence.

The panel has pitched for har­nessing heritage tourism with the launch of Rs 50 crore Market Development pro­gramme for the creation of at least ten art marts. Other important recommenda­tions include encouraging food processing units in the private sector and asset reconstruction

Identifying power as the most critical infrastructure bottleneck to attract private sector investment in the state, the panel suggested a clutch of measures — both short and long term — to redress the crises in this sector. Seeking a Rs4,933-crore Central compen­sation to National Hydel Pow­er Corporation for immediate transfer of the Dulhasto proj­ect to J & K government, it also suggested several measures to manage the existing capacity in the power sector. In a spe­cial reference to tourism and horticulture, the Rangarajan Committee has suggested fast track completion of road and rail projects in the valley jraina[at]hindustantimes[dot]com