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Funds Sought For Goa During Finance Commission Meet

The GFP sought Rs 6,000 crore financial package from the Finance Commission for the people affected by the mining ban in the state.

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The 15th Finance Commission, led by its Chairman N K Singh, on Thursday held a meeting with representatives of political parties, local governing bodies and industry representatives in Goa, all of whom sought funds for the cash-starved state.

The commission held the meeting at Dona Paula near Panaji as part of its two-day visit to the coastal state.

Issues being faced by the trade and industry bodies in Goa were discussed during the meeting.

Apart from Singh, members of the commission Ajay K Jha, Dr Ashok Lahiri, Anoop Singh, Dr Ramesh Chand and others, were present.

Members of the ruling BJP in Goa, opposition Congress and the Goa Forward Party (GFP), attended the meeting along with industry representatives and local governing bodies.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is scheduled to make a presentation before the commission on Friday.

Representatives of local governing bodies, including Corporation of the City of Panaji, were also part of the meeting on Thursday.

The GFP sought Rs 6,000 crore financial package from the Finance Commission for the people affected by the mining ban in the state.

GFP chief Vijai Sardesai, who made a presentation before the commission, alleged that state government was not seeking enough funds although the state deserves much more.

"The state government is hesitant in seeking funds. We are not asking for any favour, what we are asking is the royalty which was paid to the central coffers. It is our own money," Sardesai said.

Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Manoj Caculo said that since the state government does not have money to create infrastructure, the industry has been suffering.

He demanded that the commission should make a provision for Rs 1,000 crore for upgradation of power distribution network, another Rs 200 crore for water and Rs 300 crore for creating safety standards in the industry.

"As the tourism industry is suffering and the state government is unable to generate the required money for it, we want a special grant of Rs 1,000 crore to set up an international-level convention centre in Goa," he said.

Caculo said that the issue regarding the mining industry, which is currently non-functional, was discussed during the meeting.

"Since the matter is sub-judice, the commission did not make any statement on it," he said.

The Congress alleged that the implementation of central schemes in the state is "flawed" and exists "only on paper".

"This is because the conditions of the schemes are generally not applicable nor compatible with the conditions that exist in the state," it said, adding that the state's finances need to be evaluated in a manner that sustains equitable growth and development. 


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