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Centre kept Jharkhand poor, says minister

Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon told reporters Coal India and other PSUs owed Jharkhand more than Rs 65,000 crore for land acquisition and water charges, among others.

Written by Abhishek Angad | Ranchi |
December 29, 2021 3:55:46 am
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon. (PTI)

Citing pending payments, Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon Tuesday said Centre had kept Jharkhand “poor”.

Oroan told reporters Coal India and other PSUs owed Jharkhand more than Rs 65,000 crore for land acquisition and water charges, among others.

“I should not say it, but I must tell you that the Centre has kept Jharkhand poor. Coal India owed the state Rs 65,000 crore for the 53,000 acres that the Centre took. In addition, PSUs including Damodar Valley Corporation and Heavy Engineering Corporation also owe Jharkhand around Rs 10, 000 crore,” he said.

The Congress leader said Centre has paid the state just Rs 300 crore a few months ago.

On being told that the Centre, too, had asked for payment for security it provides, Oraon said: “The central government should protect its borders from external threats and also be responsible for its internal security. Why should the state pay?” he said.

Oraon also said the state had, for the first time, set aside Rs 500 crore as a sinking fund — a savings fund. “The benefit of having a savings account is that RBI gives short term loans if they see money parked. Also, in time of need we can get it.”

Oraon, who also holds the Food and Civil Supplies portfolio, had recently found himself in the middle of a row over Congress MLA Pradeep Yadav’s question on EPoS machines used for distributing foodgrain. The Jharkhand government had paid Rs 250 crore as rent from 2015-16 to 2020-21 for the e-POS machines which they could have bought for Rs 78 crore.

Asked about the issue, Oraon declined to comment. The minister, however, added: “I want to walk ahead and I am not a complete politician…and like a bureaucrat I don’t want to speak on the previous government’s decision.”

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