NEW DELHI, Nov 26 � Unbelievable but true, at least 708 projects in the North East have suffered delays.
Admitting that there has been delay in a number of projects, Minister DoNER Dr Jitendra Singh said that there are actually 555 projects under the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources and 153 projects under NEC, which were delayed. The reasons for the delay are numerous, Dr Singh, who was replying to a Question Hour discussion in the Lok Sabha today, said.
The Minister said he is planning to convene a meeting of all MPs of the Northeastern States either on December 18 or 19 to discuss vital issues pertaining to the region. He further said that a meeting of the NEC would also be convened, which would be attended by the Governors and Chief Ministers.
The Minister told RP Sharma the reasons for the delay were broadly categorised into two heads. One is the problems, which are mostly procedural. Sometimes, there is delay in the utilisation of funds by the States.
�We have a certain monitoring mechanism in place, where coordination is expected both between the DoNER Ministry, as well as the State Governments. We have quarterly reviews, we have agencies independently monitoring the projects and, therefore, some procedural delays occur,� he claimed.
He also held that delay in submission of utilisation certificates also contributes to the delay. The NEC monitors the projects through periodical review meetings, field inspections by officers of NEC.
On the other hand, some challenges are, to an extent, also due to nature. For example, North East has a very hostile and inaccessible terrain. The region has a long rainy season and also a severe winter season, which also hamper the continuity of various projects. Then, there are also a number of areas in these States, which are snow-bound, he said.
Stating that the Government accords high priority to the development of the North East, he said the Centre was concerned about equitable distribution of all the resources to each of the eight States.
Dr Singh claimed that very soon they will try to overcome all these hurdles because they were, in fact, concerned about the fact that the region should have maximum utilisation of funds before December 31. There is a stipulation that 70 per cent utilisation of funds should be there by December 31. �I am sure with the kind of impetus which we have given to this Ministry in the last one week or so, we would be able to overcome this concern as well,� he claimed.
Earlier, RP Sarmah participating in the discussion said that at least 25 per cent of the projects sanctioned by the DoNER Ministry were incomplete. As far as NEC is concerned, it is generally known as 20 to 30 per cent Council in the North East. It does not pass the projects. There are a number of projects pending before it for its approval for long.