CM SPEECH ON 27TH MEETING OF NORTHERN ZONAL COUNCIL AT VIGYAN BHAWAN, NEW DELHI-25 APRIL 2015 25-04-2015
Respected Sh. Rajnath Singh Ji, Union Home Minister, worthy Chief Ministers and Ministers, officers of Government of India and of the States ! At the outset, let me congratulate the Hon’ble Union Home Minister for convening this meeting of the Northern Zonal Council after a period of almost three years. I support the suggestion that the meetings of the Council should be held more frequently. I would also like to thank Hon’ble Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh for hosting this meeting. I am confident that the deliberations during the meeting will pave the way for emergence of consensus on even the most complex issues. 2. The need for fiscal and infrastructural harmony can hardly be overemphasized. Haryana looks forward to the meeting of the Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers of the Northern Region, as decided by the Standing Committee in its meeting held on 27 November, 2014. However, let me clarify that Haryana is in favour of maintaining uniform rates of VAT on diesel and other petroleum products in the region. We have recently increased the effective rate of VAT on diesel from 9.24% to 12.075% w.e.f. 26th November, 2014. A comparative study shows that the rate of VAT on diesel in the region varies in a very narrow band of 11.50% to 12.50%. Rajasthan is the sole exception, where the rate is 22%. Since the rates of VAT on diesel in the states surrounding Himachal Pradesh are quite similar, they should not have any cause of concern now. 3. Diversification in agriculture is the need of the hour. There is a need to diversify into production of fruits, flowers and vegetables. However, being highly perishable these crops require high quality post harvest management and marketing infrastructure. As the member States are aware, Haryana has established a Centre of excellence for vegetable crops at Gharaunda in Karnal with cooperation of Israel. It will focus on Technological innovations in the fields of Poly houses, Shed Nets, Drip Irrigation and Micro Sprinklers. We have also established a Centre of excellence for fruits at Mangiana in Sirsa for developing latest technologies of high density plantation, canopy plantation and fertilization. 4. Let me share with you that Haryana is setting up an India International Horticulture Market at Ganaur in Sonipat for facilitating storage, marketing and export of fruits, flowers and vegetables. This will perhaps be the largest Terminal Market Complex in the region catering to whole of North India. This will facilitate real time marketing of produce and will also help in realisation of better prices for the farmers. The State has already acquired 537 acres of land for this purpose at a prime location on National Highway No. 1. We are in the process of hiring a consultant for preparation of DPR for this project. Establishment of this Centre will facilitate faster movement of agro produce and processed food products. Since it will provide requisite linkages for the farmers of all the member States, I would request the Zonal Council to impress upon Govt. of India for providing funds to the extent of Rs. 600 crores out of estimated cost of Rs. 1500 crores for setting up of this Market Complex. 5. Pressure of achieving high rate of growth for sustaining ever growing population consistently puts pressure on our limited resources. Though all the member states and UT of Chandigarh would like their respective shares of water and power to be progressively enhanced, yet decisions in his regard will have to be taken on the basis of well established principles. 6. Chandigarh is not a member of Upper Yamuna River Board since it does not fall in Yamuna Basin. An MoU for allocation of Yamuna waters was signed on 12.5.1994 by the Chief Ministers of UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and NCT Delhi. As a result U.T. of Chandigarh has no share in either water or power from Kishau and Renuka Dams which are to be constructed on tributaries of Yamuna. Further, the question of sharing of power from Hathnikund Barrage does not arise as there is no power production. U.T. of Chandigarh already gets its share of 3.5% from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) as per Government of India order dated 31.10.2011. Therefore, there is no reason to change the existing structure. 7. Haryana has been claiming its share of power from the Anandpur Sahib Hydel Project, Mukerian Hydel Project, Thein Dam Project and UBDC Stage-II. For Shahpur Kandi Hydel Scheme Haryana has filed a suit in Hon’ble Supreme Court, as Punjab is not agreeing to the claim of Haryana. We have also conveyed our willingness to Punjab Government to contribute our share of Rs. 480 crores towards the cost of Shahpura Kandi project so as to become a partner. Let me add here that Punjab’s view that sharing of power is done in cases where either there is an agreement or a joint venture between states as hydel projects utilize the terrain and topography of the state where these are located is not correct. We also feel that the Ministry of Power should refer the matter to the Hon’ble Supreme Court as consensus is not emerging. However, we are ready to resolve this issue either under the aegis of Northern Zonal Council or through bilateral deliberations. 8. Haryana is a water deficit state with respect to both surface and ground water resources. The groundwater level in the State particularly in the fresh water zone is depleting fast due to inevitable exploitation of ground water. As against the annual demand of 36.0 Million Acre Feet (MAF), the availability of water is only 14.0 MAF. On one hand Haryana had to give, out of its own share in the Yamuna waters, extra water to Delhi in compliance of the Apex Court’s orders, on the other hand, Punjab is not delivering Haryana’s full share in the Ravi-Beas water. This is in spite of two orders and judgements of the court in the SYL canal matter. The Government of Punjab decided to terminate all the inter-state agreements pertaining to the Ravi Beas waters in the year 2004. The Presidential Reference in this regard is pending before the Supreme Court. I would urge the Government of India to mention the matter before Hon’ble Supreme Court for an early decision in the matter. It is the only Reference pending for nearly ten years. 9. In the recent past not only the flow in river Yamuna has dwindled but also its waters have got progressively polluted. National Green Tribunal has also recently issued directions to maintain minimum environmental flow in river Yamuna. Since there is no dam on this river, the precious water cannot be stored during the monsoon season. I would, therefore, reiterate the state’s request that the construction of the three dams namely Renuka, Kishau and Lakhwar-Vyasi on the tributaries of river Yamuna should be expedited. The stored water in these dams will greatly help in meeting the requirements of drinking and irrigation water. 10. The surplus Ravi-Beas waters were distributed by the Government of India between different States, as the waters of the these rivers came in for an exclusive use by India, after signing of the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. The State of Punjab, along with other States, was allocated surplus Ravi-Beas waters by Government of India, in addition to its existing utilization, on account of its then large arid areas, which now form a part of Haryana. Therefore, the riparian principle of sharing of surplus waters of Ravi and Beas does not apply in this case and the contention of the State of Punjab that these waters belong to Punjab only, is not correct. 11. The work on Hansi-Butana canal was started by our Government to carry water from the Bhakra Main Line (BML) canal out of Haryana’s own share in the Ravi-Beas waters to the lift canal command for the dry and arid southern Haryana to ensure equitable distribution of the available water. Although this project has been cleared by the Central Water Commission from all angles, the canal stands rendered non-functional due to an order by the Supreme Court in the suit filed by the State of Punjab against this project, although it does not affect them in any manner. Haryana at present is able to utilize only 1.62 MAF out of its allocation of 3.5 MAF in the Ravi-Beas waters through the BML canal. The balance share of Haryana is being utilized by default by Punjab and Rajasthan, at Harike. Punjab draws more than 1000 cusecs of water from the Nangal Hydel Channel for its Ropar Thermal Plant which should have been drawn through a link from the Anandpur Sahib Hydel channel/SYL canal allowing Haryana to carry more water for itself as well as also for Rajasthan through BML. I will urge the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Punjab to start the work on the link between Anandpur Sahib and the Ropar Thermal Plant, so that Haryana is able to carry its share of water through BML as per the original project report of the SYL canal. We have already given our consent to Chandigarh Administration for drawal of 40 MGD water from Kajauli Head on BML for phase V and VI of drinking water supply scheme. I am of the opinion that water from Kajauli Head should be distributed as per 1983 Agreement. However, if Punjab wants extra water for Mohali, then it should bring it from Anandpur Sahib Hydel Channel. 12. As regards the request of J & K for share of water from the rivers flowing through Punjab as compensation, Haryana is of the view that J & K has already been given 0.65 MAF share in the surplus waters of Ravi and Beas. Therefore, no further share is made out. On the issue of short and fluctuating supply of water to Rajasthan, I would like to point out that for the last three months we are supplying excess water to them. Government of Rajasthan should reciprocate by clearing the long pending maintenance dues. 13. For development to be sustainable in the long run, we need to take care of our environment and to ensure that the land, water and air remain non-polluted. As regards the release of effluents from Bhiwadi Industrial area, Central Pollution Control Board has issued directions on 31.10.2014 for augmentation of common effluent treatment plant and for treatment of effluent upto the tertiary level. I would like to point out that the samples of the effluent collected by Central Pollution Control Board from CETP on 1.12.2014 did not meet the prescribed parameters. I would request Government of Rajasthan to take remedial measures immediately. 14. As regards pollution in river Ghaggar, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Punjab and I have had a meeting in the month of December, 2014. Both the States have decided to ensure that no untreated sewage or industrial effluent flows into river Ghaggar. I would request Hon’ble Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh to issue directions to his officers to ensure action on similar lines. 15. For quite some time now Haryana has been pointing out the fact that the quality of water entering Delhi and exiting from Delhi is significantly different. The pollution levels get substantially increased when river Yamuna flows through Delhi. National Green Tribunal has also issued quite a few directions to revive river Yamuna to its pristine glory. These directions are mainly related to NCT Delhi, but a number of action points also relate to Uttrakhand and UP which are not represented here. National Capital being a priority for all of us, a detailed action plan is being prepared by MOEF with the cooperation of participating states. This need to be expedited. 16. The issue of control over the prices of fertilizers like DAP as suggested by Rajasthan, has also been consistently raised by Government of Haryana. The price of DAP has increased in a much higher proportion as compared that of urea. As a result, the farmers are tempted to use more urea and less DAP, which has an adverse impact not only on productivity, but also on the soil health. I propose that a National Level Committee having experts from the field of agriculture as well as chemicals and fertilizers alongwith representatives of State Government be constituted to find out long term solution to this problem. 17. The demand for declaring Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops other than wheat, paddy, sugarcane, etc., originates from the need to shift cultivated areas away from highly water consuming crops to other crops like maize, pulses, cotton, guar, etc., and also from the basic need for diversification to other crops. Farmers of my state are quite progressive and are willing to adopt new crops provided their income per unit area is at least secured, if not enhanced. Efficient procurement machinery for various other crops like maize, pulses, guar in the context of Haryana and several such crops in the context of other States alongwith a remunerative MSP and assured procurement are necessary to achieve the intended objectives. 18. I would also like to raise another issue of concern here. It has been learnt that Government of India is contemplating replacement of the existing norms of reimbursement of ‘actual’ freight charges by ‘fixed’ freight charges irrespective of the distance between the processing plants/ports and unloading rake points. I wish to point out that the States like, Haryana and Punjab which are situated quite far off from ports on Gujarat Coast would be adversely affected if such a change is brought about. The ‘actual’ freight charges in Haryana at present are being reimbursed to the manufacturers/suppliers @ Rs. 1,650/- per MT whereas as per the new proposal, the reimbursement would be made on the basis of ‘fixed’ freight charges @ Rs. 1,240/- per MT. Hence, the difference between the ‘actual’ freight charges and ‘fixed’ freight charges would be loaded by them in the form of enhanced MRP which in turn would increase the cost of cultivation leading to resentment amongst farmers. 19. The proposal to link Sarda River with Sabarmati River is one of the proposed inter-basin water transfer link projects under National Perspective Plan of National Water Development Agency. It is well known that floods in Sarda River result in immense loss to life and property, whereas parts of Western India frequently face drought like situation. I would propose that this project be taken up on priority and that it be declared a National Project. 20. The State of Haryana along with other States has been raising the issue relating to the problem being faced by the States in seeking Environmental Clearances for Minor Mineral Projects in the earlier meetings of the NZC as well. Previously a decision to drop this item had been taken on the ground that the Ministry of Environment & Forests was considering forming of a Committee at District Collectors/Deputy Commissioners level with delegation of requisite powers for grant of Environmental Clearance in case of Minor Minerals for ensuring smooth supply of critical raw materials for various developmental projects. However, till date no action in this regard has been taken by the MoEF. I, therefore, suggest that MoEF may be requested to remove the requirement of Environmental Clearances for small projects like mining of mineral over areas less than 5 hectares. In case it is not found feasible for all minerals, at least minerals like Ordinary Earth, Clay and Brick Earth should be exempted from any such Environmental Clearance. However, MoEF can always issue guidelines as it deems fit, for such excavations. 21. As regards the preparation of an Inter-State Regional Plan for Chandigarh, the State of Haryana is in agreement on broad contours of the plan relating to integration of infrastructural services like roads, rail network, water supply, sewerage, drainage etc. between Chandigarh and other periphery towns. The State also agrees for synchronisation of development controls, land use plans and future urban development centres. We have also agreed that there is a need for preservation of natural features in the region such as forests, rivulets, choes and eco-sensitive zones like Sukhna Lake, Bid Sikargarh and Khol Ratia. 22. Haryana has never refused to give water to Chandigarh being the joint capital of Haryana and Punjab. Chandigarh at present is getting 67 MGD (134 cusecs) water from Kajauli, which includes 12 cusecs share of Panchkula. We have also conveyed our willingness for implementation of augmentation of water supply scheme for phase V and VI of Chandigarh with the condition that Haryana will be given its share of water for Panchkula as per the 1983 Agreement before any drawal of water at Kajauli. Despite such a positive stand by Haryana, it is incomprehensible that UT Administration entered into some sort of an understanding with Punjab without involving Haryana. Quite obviously, Chandigarh and Punjab are not competent to decide the issue bilaterally as Haryana and Rajasthan are also Partner States for any drawal of water from BML Canal, which is an interstate channel. 23. The air pollution in Delhi needs to be curbed. In this context, I feel that completion of the Western and Eastern Expressway should be expedited to ease traffic congestion in Delhi. Haryana on its part has taken requisite steps to complete the Western Peripheral Expressway (known as KMP) by the year 2017. The work for the stretch of KMP Expressway from Palwal to Manesar has been realloted and is likely to be completed by March, 2016. The work for the remaining stretch from Manesar to Kundli will also be re-allotted shortly. Also, the feasibility of providing U-Turn and underpass near the border of Delhi to turn back the non-destined vehicles trying to enter the city needs to be explored. More Air Quality Monitoring Stations are required to be set up in NCR with online display of data. It is also a welcome step that local bodies and major construction agencies in the NCR have been directed to use dust suppression methods on the construction sites to reduce dust emission. Open burning of garbage in the NCR and neighbouring areas should be strongly discouraged and stopped. Let me share with you that while the Haryana State Pollution Control Board has taken a number of measures to curb the practice of left-over straw burning after harvesting, our Agriculture Department is also making concerted efforts to make the farmers aware on this count. 24. Lastly, the State Government is fully committed to the cause of the persons who are intellectually impaired/mentally challenged. With Government assistance, three institutes namely, State Institute of Rehabilitation, Training & Research, Rohtak, Arpan Institute For Mentally Handicapped Children, Rohtak and Shravan Centre for the Rehabilitation of Mentally Challenged Adult Persons, Rohtak have been set up. We are in the process of establishing a life-long Home for mentally challenged persons under Government of India scheme in Gharaunda. In addition to these Government-sponsored institutions, there are 21 special schools for the mentally challenged persons which are being run by NGOs in the districts of Panchkula, Ambala, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Hisar, Jind, Karnal, Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak, Sirsa and Sonipat. 25. Before I conclude, I once again thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my views on various critical issues. I am confident that today’s deliberations will not only lead to a deeper understanding of the inter-state issues but will also pave the way for greater cohesion, cooperation and mutual growth so that the Northern Zonal states are in a better position to contribute towards realisation of our Prime Minister’s vision of development of a strong nation while following the mantra of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. Jai Hind!