Centre 'loans' helping hand

| 30 October 1998 11:51 IST

The centre is likely to permit Goa to seek additional Rs 100 crore through the SLR-based open market borrowings, instead of accepting its plea for one-time grant of Rs 150 crore to overcome the financial crunch of the tourist state.

An indication in this regard came from chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza, who still claims to be hopeful of getting the grants from the BJP-led central government. His coalition government, formed three months ago by staging a coup in the erstwhile ruling Congress, is supported by the BJP from outside.

"I don't mind even if the centre allows me to take additional amount of SLR-based open market borrowings since I have to pay it after 10 years, at a much lower interest rates", says de Souza. Though he is still waiting for union finance minister Yeshwant Sinha's nod for his proposal, he hinted that the centre may offer more borrowings for Goa.

In the event of this, de Souza plans to drop the proposed of floating non-SLR based bonds of Rs 100 crore, mooted by his predecessor Pratapsing Rane. "Who can afford the liability of paying it every year", he asks.

The planning commission has already approved loans of around Rs 100 crore for the tourist state this year, out of which Rs 40 crore are SLR-based market borrowings and rest are the negotiated loans. The additional amount however may help the state in taking up all the pending developmental works.

With a plan to take up infrastructural development on priority basis, the chief minister has also asked all his coalition members to submit their proposals for works to be taken up in their constituencies. Top priority however would be given to dilapidated condition of roads, while tourist season has already begun.

Going against de Souza's contention, his planning minister Dayanand Narvekar continues to blame the central authorities for not giving the state its due share of Rs 2000 crore collected by the state through foreign exchange, central taxes and mining cess.

After writing a controversial letter to the prime minister, warning him of a state-wide agitation, Narvekar has once again written to the chief minister, in reply to the explanation sought from him, that Goa could get its rightful share only by fighting for it collectively.

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