Shimla: Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal assured the House that the industries would not be allowed to come up in the state at the cost of environment but rejected the demand for imposing ban on cement plants.
The two cement plants already functioning in the state had indeed helped in employment generation and they were also bringing in the revenue. The annual revenue by way of VAT, road tax, electricity duty and royalty from the two plants in 2006-07 amounted to Rs. 182 crore, said the CM.
The state’s own income was only about Rs. 3,000 crore and there was a need to generate more resources to meet the annual expenditure of Rs.85000 core.
On the other side Randhir Sharma drew the attention of the government to the traffic congestion and pollution being caused by trucks engaged in transportation of cement. He said the 48-km portion of national highway from Nauni to Gara Mora had become notorious for accidents and at times it took more than two hours to cover the distance due to heavy traffic.
Yog Raj and Renu Chaddha said lack of concern for environment was leading to climate change as was evident from the erratic and inadequate snowfall in the state over the past few years.
Randhir Sharma said a right balance had to be struck between industrial development and environment as providing employment to the youth was equally important. He said polluting industries were already on the negative list, where as various incentives were already being provided to encourage agriculture and horticulture based units in the state.
Besides the industrial package granted by the centre the state government was also extending various incentives to encourage such industries.