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BJP leaders to ask PM for further excise waiver for hill states

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including party president Nitin Gadkari and parliamentary party chairman L.K. Advani will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to demand extension of excise concessions for Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said here Monday that Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, as well as he and his Uttarakhand counterpart will also be part of the delegation.

Sushma Swaraj will work out the time for the meeting of the party leaders with the prime minister, he said.

Dhumal said Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were peaceful states which provide water and electricity to other states and had a large proportion of their population serving the country in the armed forces.

‘The concession in excise to the two hill states has been withdrawn but it has been extended for northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir. It has been extended in areas affected by terrorism. A wrong message has gone,’ he said

The excise concessions for the two hill states were originally intended till 2013 but the United Progressive Alliance government had decided not to extend them beyond March 2010, Dhumal said.

‘The private sector had invested in the state in the hope that excise concessions will stay at least till 2013,’ he said.

The issue of withdrawal of excise concessions to the two hill state also figured in the resolutions adopted by the BJP at its national executive meeting in Patna, with the party alleging that the UPA was discriminating against BJP state governments.

The government did not extend the Industrial Promotion Package for Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, that provided excise and other duty concessions for new projects, beyond March 31, 2010.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had waived excise duty on investments in these two states through a notification in 2003. The exemption was later extended in 2007 till March 31, 2010.

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