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Degree College and Sub-Tehsil for Jwali constituency

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Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh today announced to open a Govt. Degree College for Nagrota Surian and sub-tehsil for Kotla area of Jwali assembly constituency.

Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh made these announcements during the last day of the first leg of winter sojourn at Jawali in Kangra district while addressing a mammoth rally, designated as the ‘Vijay Rally’. This rally was organised to commemorate the ‘Parivartan Rally’ which was held to commence a drive to gain power in the state and to overthrow the BJP led government.

Shri Virbhadra Singh said that “The proposed Food Security Bill was an ambitious and historical decision of the UPA government which is aimed at providing food security to the most deprived sections of the society across the nation. This bill would be made effective with a fund of Rs.80,000 crores and will be brought in the Parliament during the ongoing Budget Session”, he added.

The Chief Minister said that this bill would help the miserable sections of the society to live with dignity as they would get sufficient food. He said such a campaign was launched by his government during his last regime under which essential food commodities including pulses, edible oils and salt were being distributed to all the people in the state. The popularity of this program could be assessed from the fact that people stopped taking foodgrains from the open market.

Expressing his gratitude to the people of the State and Kangra in particular he said that the massive support of the public made their journey to return in power. He said Himachal was the land of gods and goddesses and had a unique distinction. He said that the people of the State had rejected the previous BJP Government as it failed in all fronts to deliver the goods. Corruption, and nepotism had become order of the day and problems and grievances of the people were ignored by the previous BJP Government. He said that no efforts were made for the development of the people and Benami deals were made to facilitate the persons in the power and their relatives.

Shri Virbhadra Singh said that State Police agencies were directed to get involved in phone tapping, which was a criminal offence adding that CID and Vigilance tapped about 750 telephones of opposition and the opponents in the ruling party. He said that telephone tapping could only be allowed in certain cases with the permission from the Home Ministry adding that his stay in Himachal Bhawan Chandigarh was also put under observation as bugging machine was installed in the room where he used to stay. He said that this move of the previous BJP government surpassed even Hitler secret force Gestapo. No person involved in the process would be spared after completion of enquiry so that such acts were not repeated in the State again.

The Chief Minister said that lands were purchased in the name of two drivers of a leader in Kasouli amounting to about Rs. 50 lakh. He said that his government would look into all such shady matters but would never indulge in revengeful activities. No innocent would be disturbed but no culprit would also be spared at the same time. His government wanted to maintain the high standards of democracy. He urged the people not to indulge in corrupt practices and earn rightfully and no looting of public money would be tolerated at all.

Forest Minister Shri Thakur Singh Bharmouri thanked the people for bringing the Congress Party back in power and urged them to reap full advantages of the schemes launched by the State Government for their welfare. He alleged that the previous BJP Government had ignored this area and no development was carried out during the last five years.

Shri Neeraj Bharti Chief Parliamentary Secretary welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for announcing Sub-Tehsil at Kotla and placed several development demands of his constituency. He said this area was neglected during the last five years, but as now the Government of the people had come into power and every effort would be made to develop it as an ideal constituency.

Shri Chander Kumar, Former Minister also welcomed the Chief Minister.

Sh. Kewal Singh Pathania Vice-Chairman,HRTC, Former MLAs Choudhary Surender Kaku, Shri Bakshi Ranjit Singh and Shri Bodh Raj including prominent Congress leaders and senior officers of the district administration were also present on the occasion.

Art & Culture

Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman 2017-18 Announced, These 4 Persons Would be Honored

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Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman 2017-18

Shimla– ‘Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman’ Award has been announced for the year 2017-18, informed the Secretary Academy Dr. Karam Singh on June 6, 2020.  

The recommendation of the jury the winners have been announced, he said, adding that four Shikhar Samman (awards) would be given in the field of language, culture and literature for two years and Rs. one lakh each would be given to each awardee.

He said that for the year 2017, Prof. Keshav Sharma would be honoured for contribution in Literature and special achievements. Folk Singer Mohan Rathour would be honoured with Language and Culture Shikar Samman.

For the year 2018, Dr. O.C. Handa would be honoured with Sahitya Shikhar Samman, whereas Dinesh Kumari of Kangra would be honoured in Art and Culture sector.

The ‘Shikhar Samman’ is given to the Himachali writers in the field of art and culture and to littérateurs from the country who worked for the promotion of Himachali language, traditions and culture.

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Health Dept Scam: One More Person Arrested by Vigilance

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Shimla-In the alleged scam related to the purchase of medical equipment including PPE kits by the Health Department, Himachal Pradesh Government, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau has arrested another person – Prithi Singh – the man who had accepted to have recorded telephonic conversation with the ex-director Ajay Kumar Gupta.

Gupta was arrested on May 21 after the said recording appeared in media. Later, he was granted bail by a special court, Shimla (forest). The vigilance had questioned Prithvi Singh earlier but had not arrested him. Prithi had claimed that he recorded the audio because his payment worth a crore was put on hold. Gupta, Pritiv had told Vigilance, was demanding a bribe to release the payment. It wasn’t clear what charges have been labelled against Prithvi – an employee of the firm which had supplied equipment to the Health Department.

About the Case

Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajay Gupta was suspended after a 43-second-long audio clip leaked in the media on May 21, 2020. In the audio, two persons can be heard talking about bank accounts and transactions of Rs. 5 lakh. The charges are that the Director was allegedly asking for a bribe in purchase-related to health equipment in wake of the pandemic.

Additional Chief Secretary RD Dhiman had to hand over the case to the Vigilance department soon after the audio clip appeared. Ordering immediate probe is something that BJP is presenting as proof of State Government and Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s innocence.

Just after a week of an audio clip of an alleged deal between the Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajay Gupta and an employee and close aid of a politician appeared; Dr. Rajiv Bindal resigned from the position of State BJP Chief. His resignation was also accepted almost immediately. He claimed that he resigned on “moral grounds” as he was hurt after the party’s name was associated with the alleged scam. 

The opposition, some senior leaders of the ruling party, MLAs, and activists in the State have been demanding a probe under a sitting judge of the State High Court and the resignation of the Chief Minister as he holds the charge of the Health Ministry. They are of the opinion that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is just another tool under the State Government. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is running the Health Ministry, and the sudden resignation of BJP Chief Rajeev Bindal after a week the scam came to light has already raised several questions.

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Himachal- Unemployed Rural Persons Allowed to Work on Own Land Under MGNREGA

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Himachal Pradesh MGNREGA sceme for umemployed rural

Shimla-The State Government has allowed the unemployed rural persons in Himachal Pradesh to work on their own land under MNREGA, even if the work was not in the shelf of projects approved by the Gram Sabhas. The decision was taken during a review meeting of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department on June 6, 2020.

The State Government informed that total expenditure of Rs. 859 crore have been incurred thereby generating 260 lakhs person-days during last financial year whereas Rs. 54 crore has been spent and 22 lakh person-days were generated under MNREGA during the current financial year so far.

The Government informed that to ensure transparency in the works of MNREGA, the department has implemented SECURE software. Hundred percent payments regarding works under MNREGA has been implemented through DBT.  For worksite facilities, homemade protective face cover, soap and water were being provided to MNREGA workers. About 12835 MNREGA workers registered with Buildings and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board had completed 90 days, the Government informed.

Further, the Government informed that under the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojna 610 houses have been constructed during the last financial year and the target has been fixed to construct 998 houses during the current financial year. The department was also planning to impart rural mason training to the interested persons, the Government informed.

HP Government has launched Mukhya Mantri One Bigha Scheme recently by the convergence between National Rural Livelihood Mission and MNREGA.  Over 2000 Self Help Groups of women have applied under this scheme till date. The government claimed that it was laying special focus on skilling and placement in the formal sector for rural poor above the minimum wages. Under the Project UNNATI, a target has been fixed to train youth in various new trades such as Fashion Designing, Assistant Hair Stylist, Multi Skill Technician, Dairy Processing Equipments etc.

The State Government said that, under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, Rs. 23.70 crore have been released to the Jal Shakti Vibhag for the establishment of Sewerage Treatment Plants on a pilot basis in Thunag, Dharampur and Janjehli in Mandi district and Bangana in Una district. Projects of wayside amenities have been sanctioned in four districts viz. Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur and Una for Rs. one crore each.

The Government also said that the panchayats should enhance capacities to raise their sources of revenue.

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