Gehlot demands special state status for Raj

Jaipur: Citing geographical conditions of the desert state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to grant a special state status to it. Gehlot, at a meeting with the Prime Minister, reiterated the demand for a special state status considering its peculiar geographical conditions, an official release said.

He also demanded a special package for drinking water, bullet train service between Delhi-Jaipur, construction of Delhi-Jaipur expressway and increasing financial assistance for Jaipur Metro among others.

The Prime Minister lauded the state for achieving financial parameters and targets of the 11th Five Year Plan, the release said. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was also present at the meeting.

The Prime Minister was on a day-long visit to the city to inaugurate 10th Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas.

In the meeting, Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said that under the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojna, approval has been given for the project of construction of 3600-km long roads in the state worth Rs 900 crores.

He said the Centre has accepted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot`s suggestion for using cement concrete blocks to strengthen the internal roads in villages under MGNREGA.

Ramesh said in order to provide potable water in 978 villages and seven towns of Nagaur district, the Ministry of Rural Development has sent a proposal of Rs 2938 crore to the Finance Ministry.

In a separate meeting at the Raj Bhawan, economist Dharmendra Bhandari submitted suggestions to the Prime Minister on involvement of NRIs in the country`s development, an official said.

After the meetings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with Ramesh and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia left for New Delhi.