A whopping Rs 13,000-crore sanctioned over the years for the development of Northeast never reached the region, said Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Gen (retd) V K Singh.
Responding to a query, Singh said the funds sanctioned by various central ministries “vanished in the Finance Ministry”. “However, it is a notional amount. The amount is nowhere now. It is just on papers.”
Singh was interacting with newsmen after the conclusion of the two-day Northeast Chief Ministers’ conference in Guwahati which concluded on Friday evening.
To a pointed query, Singh refused to admit that the Northeast was taken for a ride, but blamed the “system” for the lapses.
“The system has been such. Nobody has taken stock of the progress and ensure proper utilisation of the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resource (NLCPR) funds. The wrongs done in the past will have to be rectified. The Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) will advise the central ministries on the matter and try to ensure that the 10 per cent allocation of the ministries is spent properly,” he added.
The Centre had, 15 years ago, taken a decision that the Union ministries should utilise 10 per cent of their budgetary allocation each year to develop NE region. Keeping in view the fact that a good number of central ministries are unable to utilise 10 per cent of the budgetary resources in the NE Region, the Centre later decided to create the NLCPR for the North-Eastern States and Sikkim from the year 1998–99.