|Saturday, April 15, 2000,
New education policy
HPCC to submit charge sheet
Drug traffickers paradise
Cong blamed for tardy progress
MLA alleges misuse of
funds in factory
Governor calls for popularising
Rukmani Kund to be developed
New education policy soon:
SHIMLA, April 14 Mr P.K. Dhumal, Chief Minister, has said that the government would soon formulate a new education policy which would redefine the role of the government as a regulatory authority.
In his address to the people on the eve of 53rd statehood day, he said the government would confine itself only to regulatory functions, except elementary education which was a constitutional obligation. It would seek investment from the non-governmental sector, institutions of repute and non-resident Indians in the education sector to start degree and diploma courses in nursing, medical technology, pharmacy, physiotherapy and other para-medical disciplines.
The information technology, a new area, has also drawn the attention of the government and it had entered into an agreement with the National Association of Software Companies for formulating a comprehensive IT policy for the state. Besides, a national-level institute of information and technology will be set up in the private sector at a cost of Rs 34 crore.
The BJP-HVC government had drawn up plans to make Himachal Pradesh one of the most prosperous states in the country in next 10 to 15 years by exploiting its vast hydel, tourism and industrial potential.
Agreements had been signed for the execution of projects having generation capacity of about 4500 MW during past two years. Out of these, work on 2051 MW Parbati Hydel Project, 300 MW Chamera Stage-II, 86 MW Malana, 15 MW Neugal and 12 MW Khauli Hydel Projects had been started and on remaining projects the work was likely to start soon.
The state also had vast mini and micro hydel potential of at 750 MW which was being harnessed on priority basis. Implementation agreements (IAS) and power purchase agreements (PPAS) for 12 micro projects having investment of about Rs 147 crore had been signed recently. MoUs for 23 such projects having generation capacity of about 50 MW had also been signed.
From projects from which electricity was not being purchased, the state would get 12 per cent free power for the first 12 years and 18 per cent for the next 28 years without any investment. When all projects for which agreements had been signed will start commissioning, the state will get a revenue of about Rs 1500 crore annually.
In the tourism sector special emphasis was being laid on promotion of adventure, pilgrim and heritage tourism. Maharana Pratap Sagar Sports Complex was being developed at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore and water sports complex at Bilaspur had been completed at a cost of Rs 85 lakh. These agreements had also been signed for promoting heli-skiing in Kulu and Chamba districts from which the state was likely to get a revenue of Rs 20 crore.
The government inherited a very dismal scenario of state finances as the predecessors failed to raise internal resources or get assistance from the Centre. In contrast the present government managed to secure financial package of Rs 700 crore during past two years. Besides, project specific assistance of crores of rupees had also been given. The government saved Rs 190 crore by way of better financial management and cutting down unproductive expenditure. "I had presented a While Paper on the state finances and also a document on options available to us in the Vidhan Sabha, during its last session and sought the cooperation of all to tide over this situation by rising above political considerations in the larger interest of the people of the state," he said.
The government has initiated a reform process which aimed at accountable governance, accelerated development of the state, fiscal stability and building a self-reliant Himachal Pradesh. Economy measures had been initiated with minister giving up rent free accommodation and as many 42 posts of IAS, IPS, IFS and state administrative services had been abolished.
To ensure better administration, the government proposed to make the areas of all non-tribal Assembly constituencies and development blocks co-terminus, for which nine new development blocks would be created. Some state service cadres such as of nurses, para-medical staff, village extension officers, clerks, ICDS supervisors, village development and panchayat officers were also converted into district cadres. Tribal and difficult areas sub-cadre was also created last year. These steps would pave the way for better governance.
Poverty alleviation was a priority on the agenda of the government although crore of rupees had been spent on poverty alleviation programmes over the years but unfortunately their benefits could not reached to the needy, as a result of which 28 per cent families were still living below the poverty line in rural areas and 11 per cent in urban areas. It had been decided to bring 30 per cent families above the poverty line within a period of five years by giving them integrated package of assistance.
The government had also decided to provide free education up to university level to students who had more than 40 per cent disability. Annual scholarships of Rs 25,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively, were being provided to those students who get first three positions in entrance tests of professional courses under "Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan Utkrishth Chhatarvriti Yojna".
Some other new schemes being launched this year include "Mukhya Mantri Protsahan Yojna" under which Rs 5 lakh each will be given to first nine panchayats in which largest number of students will get scholarship under "Ambedkar Merit Scholarship Scheme", free insurance cover to the women of poor families, "Guru Ravi Dass Public Amenities Upgradation Scheme", under which Rs 3 lakh will be provided to each ward having highest concentration of Scheduled Castes population in each Assembly constituency for upgrading basic amenities.
The social services sector had been accorded top priority and Rs 702.36 crore has been allocated for this vital sector which came to 40.08 per cent of the annual plan of Rs 1720 crore approved for this year.
For improving the economy of the farmers, various new schemes have been initiated during past two years. These include introduction of "Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojna", "Khudro Darkhtan Malkiyat Sarkar", setting up of a high-level committee to suggest amendments in revenue laws, introduction of kisan pass books, enhancement of support price for apple and other fruits. Efforts were being made to bring more and more area under irrigation. The government had also succeeded in getting approved Rs 102 crore Swan project from the Centre which will revolutionise the economy of the farmers in Una district.
Efforts had also been
made to bring qualitative improvement education and
health services in the state. As many as 13,612 new rooms
were being constructed at a cost of Rs 126 crore under
"Saraswati Bal Vidya Sankalap Yojna" to ensure
minimum of three rooms in every primary school in the
state by the year 2002. As many as 4159 posts of J.B.T.
and 2100 posts of vidya upasaks had been filled up to
meet the shortage of teachers in primary schools. Nearly
1026 new schools have been opened during the past two
years in the state.
HPCC to submit charge sheet
DHARMSALA, April 14 The HPCC will submit a charge sheet to the President of India, demanding the dismissal of the Dhumal government, on charge of financial mismanagement.
Addressing a press conference here today a former minister and vice-president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, Major Vijai Singh Mankotia, said that the BJP-HVC coalition in Himachal, was responsible for placing the state in the worst debt trap in the history of HP. "The government is faced with such a severe financial crisis that it has been issued a notice by the Reserve Bank of India, asking it to clear the Rs 150 crore overdraft within two days or else all its bank transactions would be stopped," he disclosed.
Mr Mankotia, said that despite Himachal getting Rs 2,400 crore over and above the Budget allocation, the Chief Minister had failed to issue a White Paper, giving details as to how this money has been spent, "we appeal to the Prime Minister to stop all further assistance to the state government, till every penny is accounted for," he stated.
Mr Mankotia said, that seeing the irregularities, squandering and financial mismanagement by the state government, the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, will submit the charge sheet against the Dhumal government, within a months time to the President. He added that final shape would be given to the charge sheet during the next HPCC meeting on April, 17.
Mr Mankotia, further added that the Congress party would launch a statewide agitation to protest against the price hike of essential commodities. "The cost escalation be it the prices of sugar, rice, flour, kerosene or LPG is so high that it ranges between 10 to 100 per cent," he stated. He said that the employees and the middle class had been the worst hit by the price hike and the Congress would support their cause as they had not been given any relief in the tax structure.
Mr Mankotia also made it clear that his party would oppose any move of the state government to trifurcate the state electricity board, as it would serve no purpose other than imposing additional burden on the state exchequer.
MANALI, April 14 This picturesque Kulu valley has become a paradise for drug trafficking with the rise in the number of foreign tourists growing over the years.
The district authorities of Kulu find it virtually impossible to curb the menace because of lack of resources to identify foreigners and the locals involved in the trade in interior areas.
The Superintendent of Police, Mr Anurag Garg, said 11 foreigners had been arrested under the Narcotics Act during the past about three months, against four during the same period last year.
A woman from Germany was arrested today for staying here without valid documents since 1993. This is described as an isolated incident of its kind.
Hundreds of foreigners are reportedly living in interior villages for the past many years, but it is an uphill task for the authorities to identify each one of them.
There are allegations that besides the locals, many foreigners are involved in the cultivation of cannabis on higher reaches.
The authorities have suggested that the Narcotics Control Bureau at Chandigarh should have its establishment here as it is specialised in the job of nabbing culprits and has the requisite infrastructure for the purpose. The bureau had nabbed a local allegedly trying to dispose about 35 kg of charas in the Sarwari area near Kulu last year.
The cultivation of cannabis has been mainly reported in the remote villages of Malana, Phulga and Soja.
The transaction of charas is mostly done near the river banks where it can be thrown in to the river waters in case of a police raid. The charas in the area is considered to be of high quality.
This area drew international attention about three years ago when 12 foreign tourists were reported untraceable. The number of missing foreigners is reportedly increasing every year. Under the rules, foreigners with a visa of more than six months are supposed to get themselves registered with the police. But many are not doing so.
Cong blamed for tardy
JANDROO (Hamirpur), April 14 The Chief Minister of the Himachal Pradesh, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, has blamed the successive Congress governments at the Centre and in the state for the unplanned progress of nation though billions of rupees had been spent since 1952 under various five years plans. He lamented that instead of achieving physical targets stress was laid only on fiscal targets. Had proper use of money been made India would have become one of the prosperous nations and similar was the case of Himachal Pradesh.
Addressing a public meeting at Jandroo in Bamsan assembly constituency of the district last evening, the Chief Minister said all villages in the state would be linked with kutcha or pucca roads. Earlier, he inaugurated a 10 kms-long Bagehra-Jandroo road constructed at a cost of Rs 4.81 crore.
Prof Dhumal said the government had accorded priority to the construction and upkeep of roads and over 10,000 km of new roads had been constructed and metalled during past two years. He said that the annual Budget allocation which was just Rs 90 crore during the Congress regime had risen to Rs 233 crore in the current fiscal year.
The state government had decided to introduce the system of quarterly sanctioning of funds with a view to ensure proper monitoring of the money being spent under various schemes.
He announced a grant of Rs 5.58 lakh for the augmentation of the Lift Jandroo water supply scheme and Rs 1 lakh for the local Senior Secondary School building.
Mrs Urmila Thakur, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Karam Singh, ex-MLA, and Mr Pyere Lal Sharma, President of the Bamsan BJP, also addressed the gathering.
HAMIRPUR (PTI): The Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to set up fruit processing and training centres in various parts of the state so that people can get remunerative prices from value-added products.
Addressing a public meeting here yesterday, the Chief Minister said during the next three years every village in the state would be linked by road and urged the people to give land so that the government could proceed further.
Emphasising the importance of roads in overall development, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal said the government had given high priority to construction and maintenance of roads since it took over two years back and the budget for this vital sector had been enhanced from Rs 90 crore spent in 1997-98 when the Congress was in power in the state to Rs 233 crore during this year.
He said over 1000 km of roads had been constructed during the past two years in the state.
MLA alleges misuse of funds
BILASPUR, April 14 Mr Ramlal Thakur, MLA, has drawn attention of the Himachal Government towards reports of alleged financial irregularities and flagrant misuse of funds in the Forest Corporation-controlled Government Resin and Turpentine Factory located at Raghunathpura near here. He has urged that a high-level impartial inquiry should be held into misuse of factory-funds and the guilty be brought to book.
Addressing mediapersons here yesterday, Ramlal Thakur alleged that though there are concerned technical officers employed in the factory, yet their jobs were being performed by private agencies.
Either machines were being sent to private parties for repairs even "false bills" were being prepared for jobs.
Governor calls for popularising
HAMIRPUR, April 14 Mr Vishnu Kant Shastry, the HP Governor, has stressed the need for popularising yoga in the state. He said that efforts would also be made to make Deotsidh, the seat of Baba Balak Nath, a centre for yogic and its related religious activities.
The Governor was addressing a function at Sri Vishva Nath Sanskrit College Chakmoh in Hamirpur district last evening. As many as 40 yoga trainees took part in a 10-day camp organised by the HP Department of Art, Language and Culture in collaboration with the District Yoga Sangh.
He said that yogis always led a peaceful life and all others should follow in their footsteps. He said that through constant yoga activities one could achieve supernatural powers.
He announced a grant of Rs 5000 for the yoga trainees and asked them to continue with the yoga activities and spread this message among all in the state.
Rukmani Kund to be developed
BILASPUR, April 14 Rukmani Kund, on a hill top about 8 km from here, would be developed into a tourist resort. This religious place would be connected by an all-weather road.
This was announced by Mr Suresh Chandel, MP, addressing a Baisakhi Day congregation at Rukmani Kund yesterday. Mr Chandel declared that not only Himachals Tourism Department and Art and Cultural Department would collaborate for development of this centre but he would ensure sufficient Central grant from the Centre for its faster development.
He also declared that national highway corporation would construct Rs 2 crore cement concrete bridge at Majhasu on the Ghagus Ghumarwin road. The iron bridge from there would be fixed at Rukmani Kund.
He announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh for the construction of a link road to Rukmani Kund. The Himachal Minister of state for cooperatives Mr Rikhtram Kondal, declared that cooperative department would extend finances for the construction of micro-power projects. A comprehensive report was being prepared for the same. The minister declared that Rukmani Kund water would be collected in a larger man-made lake and a micro-power project would be constructed here while this water would be used for irrigation purposes.
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