Mukesh Agnihotri

Shimla: Senior Congress leaders and Cabinet Ministers termed the booklet released by the opposition as bundle of lies and an attempt to mislead the people of the State.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes, Agriculture Minister Sujan Singh Pathania and Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, in their joint statement, said that BJP had completely failed in its role of constructive opposition and they were not able to digest the overall and speedy development witnessed during last two years and were resorting to such cheap tactics.

The BJP leaders always refrained from discussing the issues of development and common people and always boycotted the proceedings of the House which showed their untoward and irresponsive attitude towards the interests of State and its people. They said BJP had no issues against the State Government and had come up with a booklet for getting cheap publicity but it had proved to be a hollow document.

The Ministers said that the Virbhadra Government had adopted the party election manifesto as policy document of the State Government and from the very first day it started to work earnestly for fulfilling all the promises made in the manifesto.

They said that Rs. 500 crore Skill Development Scheme had been implemented under which the youth were being provided allowance for their skill upgradation. So far more than 65,000 youth had taken benefit of this novel scheme of the State Government which had been appreciated throughout the country. They added that BJP Government at the Centre had also constituted a separate Ministry for skill upgradation but it was ridiculous that State BJP leaders were opposing this scheme just for political mileage.

They said that Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had started the scheme for providing ration at cheaper rates during his previous term and State had also launched subsidy scheme for all those people who had not been included under Rajiv Gandhi Ann Yojna, which was started by the previous UPA Government. All the people were being provided ration at subsidized rates under this scheme and a provision of Rs. 457 crore had been made for giving subsidy during last two years.

Counting the achievements in the education sector, they said around 720 schools and 14 degree colleges had been opened in the remote areas during last two years, besides, promoting and appointing 8000 teachers. The State Government had also enhanced the grant in aid of the PTA teachers and the decision had been taken to convert their service into contract on completion of service period of seven years. As per its assurance, the Government had also regularized the services of all para teachers and the honorarium of the PAT teachers had been enhanced to Rs. 8900 per month.

For checking the illegal mining activities the Government had formulated a new mining policy and 75 posts of mining guards had been filled up to strengthen the department.

Underlining the concern of the State Government for social welfare, the Ministers said that social security pension had been enhanced to Rs. 550 whereas the citizens aged above 80 years were getting Rs. 1000 per month. The Government had also enhanced the daily wages from Rs. 150 to Rs. 175 and the services of the daily wagers completing seven years of services were being regularized. They questioned the BJP leaders what promises they had made to the people of the State and how many were fulfilled.

They said that effective steps had been taken to invite the big industrial houses to the State for which the Chief Minister was touring the different parts of the country to woo them and so far investment proposals amounting to Rs. 2500 crore had been received by the State.

They said for providing relief to the apple producers, the State Government had taken up the matter with the Government of India to enhance the fee on imported apple. If the State BJP leaders were real well wishers of the apple producers they should also raise this matter with NDA Government at the Centre being headed by BJP instead of involving in cheap politics over this issue.

Referring to the recruitment of forest guards in the Forest Department, the Ministers said that the recruitment had been made with complete transparency and on the basis of Recruitment and Promotion Rules. The physical tests had been videographed for maintaining transparency whereas the written examination was conducted by Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni. As far as the recruitment of bus conductors was concerned, the BJP leaders should remember that in BJP regime too the recruitment was done by the concerned department only.

They added that the road network was being strengthened in the State and Government had succeeded in declaring six State Highways as National Highways. Moreover, the Government had also succeeded in implementing Rs. 1365 crore road projects which remained hanging in fire during BJP regime.

They said that tourism was another sector which was on the priority list of the State Government. The State had succeeded in getting sanctioned loan of Rs. 360 crore from Asia Development Bank for the State.

The Ministers said that the demand of BJP to open Administrative Tribunal was ridiculous and exposed its double standards. It was during BJP regime that Administrative Tribunal was closed and now BJP leaders were demanding for opening Administrative Tribunals at Mandi and Dharamshala.

Stokes, Pathania and Agnihotri said that the previous Government in the State misused the Section 118 and sold the invaluable lands on very lower rates whereas the present Government had simplified the procedure to restrict its misuse and the approvals were being provided on the basis of merit under Section 118.

They said that a new transport policy had been formulated for providing better transport facilities and 1300 new buses had been added to the fleet of HRTC during last two years.

The Ministers said that the T.D policy had been simplified and the poor people were being provided two biswa of land in urban areas and three biswa in rural areas free of cost for construction of house, the compensation amount had been increased for the damages done to crops by the wild animals, Rs. 922 crore Swan River Channelization Scheme had been implemented in Una district, 775 villages had been taken out from the ambit of sanctuary areas and government employees and pensioners had been given financial benefits of Rs. 2035 crore.

They claimed that the Congress Government had already fulfilled majority of the promises in two years and the rest promises would be fulfilled in the near future. Congress leaders advised opposition to come out of their narrow mindedness and instead of criticizing the State Government for sake of criticism; they should work for the betterment of the State.