NEWS FROM STATES 

 

9,000 solar systems set up in Rajasthan  
The Rajasthan Energy Development Agency (REDA) has installed 9,900 solar photovoltaic lighting systems in the state during the financial year 2000-2001 as against 3800 last year.  
  
These lights have been installed under the rural electrification programme and have covered all the districts of the state. This achievement has placed the state on top of the list of states running a similar programme.  
  
The agency has also installed 3,400 similar solar domestic lighting systems from funds granted by the state government.  
  
The rural electrification programme has been implemented only in the rural areas of the state. Each solar lighting system has been supported by a grant-in-aid amounting to Rs.6,000, the remaining cost having been borne by the beneficiary.  
  
Rajasthan signs Rs.3,000 crore gas pipeline project pact  
The Rajasthan government has firmed up a Rs.3,000 crore joint venture gas pipeline project to supply liquified natural gas (LNG) to Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Kota and Ganganagar districts.  
The pipeline project is likely to be commissioned by 2004. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Bureau of Investment Promotion (BIP), RIICO and Gopalpur LNG Limited.  
The pipeline project will help enhance investment climate, generate employment opportunities, and develop ancillary and auxiliary industries in the state.  

$ 180m World Bank aid for power recast in Rajasthan  
In keeping with various reform measures adopted by the Rajasthan government, the World Bank (WB) has sanctioned a $ 180 million loan to Rajasthan for its power sector restructuring projects.  
Depending on the pace of further reforms and how fast the loan is utilised for strengthening the transmission and distribution system in the state, further sanctions could also be possible, according to official sources. The loan is to be repaid in 15 years with the initial five years to be treated as moratorium period. The loan could be drawn up to June 2005. The government has already got Rs.70 crore ($ 15 million) as the first instalment in the form of advance. The main thrust of the loan is to reduce the transmission losses in the State.  

Rajasthan to spend 3% of outlay on IT  
The Rajasthan government has prepared a comprehensive information technology policy. according to which, the state government will earmark three percent of the plan outlay for the IT sector by 2003.  

The policy document provides IT roadmap for 2000-2004. As the state government plans to computerise all the departments, it has launched a training programme for its officials.  
The officers will also be taught various aspects of modern economics, like the Value Added Tax (VAT) and liberalisation among others. They will be familiarised with the ongoing policies and programmes of the government.  

Rs.8,200 crore UP plan outlay finalised  
Uttar Pradesh's annual plan outlay for this fiscal has been fixed at Rs.8,200 crore and Rs.210 crore has been allocated for the development of Bundelkhand. Transmission and distribution losses in the power sector have come down from 42 percent to 37.5 percent. Out of Rs.46,340 crore allocated for public sector expenditure for the Ninth Plan, the outlay for the first four years was Rs.36,946 crore, but the actual expenditure was Rs.24,596 crore. The growth rate achieved was only 3.2 percent per annum. The overall growth rate in the first three years of the Plan was zero in 1997-98, which rose by 6.6 percent in 1998-99 and there was further growth of 6.5 percent in 1999-2000. The primary sector in these three years registered a negative growth of 4.5 percent, positive growth of 2.8 p.c. next year and 5.9 percent in the third year. The secondary sector rose by 0.3 percent, 14.4 percent and 8.0 percent respectively and the tertiary sector by 4.6 percent 6.6 percent and 6.2 percent respectively.  

Pondicherry's Rs.355 crore plan outlay approved   
The Planning Commission has approved the annual plan outlay of Rs.355 crore for Pondicherry for 2001-2002. Pondicherry achieved a revenue collection of 111.51 percent of the target set by the Planning Commission. An integrated infrastructrue development project has been launched at Siderapet with a cost of Rs.6.45 crore.  

Special status for J&K with retrospective effect 
The Planning Commission is to grant special status to J&K with retrospective effect from 1969 to 1991, waiving about Rs.1,200 crore dues of the state. 

Rs.1,710 crore Assam plan approved 
The Planning Commission on June 22, 2001 approved annual plan size of Rs.1,710 crore for Assam. The plan size has been enhanced by 12.5 percent over that of the previous year. The state has also been allowed to use the "unspent amount" of the previous plan. 

Bengal stresses on small units 
In all 67 industrial units, including some ancillary industries, set up at a cost of Rs.7,869 crore, have started production in West Bengal during 2000-2001 state industry minister Shri Nirupam Sen said in June 2001. The minister also said that employment was generated for over 4.62 lakh persons during the period from 1991-2001. The state government has given stress on the small and cottage industries to create more employment opportunities besides setting up of various ancillary units. Priority is being given to tea, jute and leather industries. Steps are being taken to set up a leather complex in South 24 paraganas over 1,100 acre. 

Bengal's fish exports touch Rs.600 crore  
West Bengal's fish exports in the current year will touch Rs.600 crore and by the end of the Tenth Plan increase to Rs.1,000 crore, fisheries minister, Shri Kiranmoy Nanda said. He said for the first time in the country an `overall assistance centre' is being set up in the city at a cost of Rs.14.94 crore for exporting fish on a co-operative basis. Ten processing plants are being installed at the centre for quality control. Another Rs.20-25 crore will be invested for installing machinery. A fishing harbour will be set up at Kakdwip in the fifth phase. 

Kerala to set up food processing park 
A Rs.36 crore food processing park is coming up at Malappuram in Kerala to provide in-house facilities to processors and bridge the food infrastructure gap in the state. It is near completion and land allotment to 15 entrepreneurs has already been made. 

"To develop the food processing industry in the state and provide all facilities at a single site Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) has come up with a 60 acre park in Kakkacherry in Malappuram district" its Managing Director Shri G.C. Gopala Pillai said. 

The KINFRA park is tailor made for investors due to its various benefits and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is giving its assistance in technology and marketing, UNIDO's National Expert Shri G. Mohan Kumar added. 

While developed land was being allotted on 90 years leasehold, built up modules were offered on a monthly lease rent. The thrust areas of the park would be dairy products, curry powder, pickles and coconut and spice products. 

Its dedicated power supply, continuous water effluent treatment plant, quality control lab (QCL), cold storage, research and design and communication facilities would not only help boost exports but also the market for processed food in the country itself. 

Mr. Pillai said the QCL, had the facility of food sample testing, analysis of water and effluent samples that consist of chemical, micrbiological and instrument sections.

It would ensure the safety, nutrition and wholesomeness of food, protecting consumers from contaminated and adulterated products, thereby also enabling better control on food imports. 

The cold storage facility comprised sections for potatoes, onions, vegetables and frozen foods. It had an ice plant, plate freezer, packing house and refrigerated van for storing and preserving both raw-materials and finished products. 

The park was advantageous for investors due to comparative low lease rent, start up and operating cost, bonded area facilities and dedicated support back-up. 

Maharashtra govt. to set up flower auction centre 
On the lines of the flower auction centre in the Netherlands, the Maharashtra government and the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) have jointly decided to set up a flower auction centre in Mumbai. The state authorities have sanctioned a 12 acre plot at Goregaon. Work on the project is expected to be completed by next year. 

MP tribals to be allowed to collect minor forest produce 
The Madhya Pradesh tribals and villagers will be now allowed to collect minor forest produce like honey in the buffer zone of national parks for non-commercial purposes on the condition that the process of collection should not involve the use of fire. This facility has been allowed as people in tribal areas depended totally on forest produce for livelihood and the tribals faced undue hardship if deprived of use of forest resources.