Senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal blamed state government for failing prepare Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of 61 roads declared by the Prime Minister as National Highways.

Leader of Opposition stated that till 1998 there were only three national highways, and during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee five more National highways were granted to the state. Now Narendra Modi-led BJP government had approved 61 national highways for Himachal at a cost of Rs 63,000 crore, Dhumal further added.

Blaming Virbhadra-led state government for not bringing development in the state, Dhumal mocked the functioning of the State Government and blamed it for even failing to prepare DPR of the project even after getting necessary funding from the Union Government.

However, Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes ridiculed the claims of Prem Kumar Dhumal and blamed him for issuing baseless political statement just to boost his leadership as there is leadership infighting in the State BJP. Stokes quipped

“former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was looking at the enormous development of the State with black glasses, unable to digest prosperity of the State and popularity of the Government during four years of Congress rule, in the State”

The Minister claimed the state government had requested Union Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways to the preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of 61 roads as National Highways. The Union Government on the request of state government approved in principle for declaration of 15 roads as National Highways on 10 May, 2016. She said

“Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh himself had requested the Ministry in June 2016 to consider the remaining proposals prepared by the State government which were important in terms of location, balanced growth and above all for providing connectivity to rural areas”

Stokes said that it was on the request of the Chief Minister that the Union Ministry for Road, Transport and Highways, in its letter dated 14th September, 2016, gave consolidated approval for 61 roads to be declared as National highways, having total length of 3880.021 Kilometres.

Rubbishing the claims of the State BJP leader of delay by the State Government in preparing Detailed Project Report (DPR), despite receiving the notification for as many as 61 National highways, she said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways granted approval on 27th October, 2016 for Rs 229.69 crore for preparation of DPRs through consultants.

She said that the State Government had already initiated the process of calling consultancy tenders as per directions received from the Ministry.

Stokes said there was no delay on the part of the National Highway wing of State PWD department which has always been pro-active since the from date of announcements and in principle declaration of the 61 National Highways by Union Ministry. She said that criticism of the Government by Shri Prem Kumar Dhumal was unwarranted as DPR of Rs 1200 crore under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) stands approved and DPR of over Rs. 700 crore had been prepared under NABARD, awaiting clearance.

She said that the progress had been satisfactory and the remaining approvals had to be given by Government of India in this regard. She suggested the BJP leader to get the truth verified before making frivolous statements so as to stay in limelight and gain cheap publicity.