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HP Govt. to amend Hydropower Policy 2006 to allow Himachalis to sell shares to non-Himachalis

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HP Govt. Cabinet Meeting

Honorarium of Water Guards enhanced, Tribal APL families to get 35 kilograms ration per month, 100 units free electricity to families affected due to HEPs, miscellaneous Adventure Activities Rules, 2004 approved

SHIMLA-  Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, in its meeting chaired by  Virbhadra Singh, decided to make amendments in Hydropower Policy 2006 in respect to transfer of shares by Himachalis to Non-Himachalis. The Himachalis can sell or transfer 49 percent equity shares to Non-Himachalis at any stage after allotment of projects upto 2 MW capacity and full disinvestment after two years of commissioning of the projects. Similarly, in case of bonafide Himachalis to whom projects upto 2 MW to 5 MW capacity are allotted, they can sell/transfer 51 percent equity share to non-Himachalis at any stage after allotment of projects and full disinvestment after two years of commissioning of the projects. However, subjected to the condition (in both the above cases), it was decided to levy some appropriate fee for transfer of equity.

Besides, the Cabinet gave its nod to cancel the four projects namely Joiner-II (3MW) in district Chamba, Kanda (0.80 MW) in district Sirmaur, Rawin (1 MW) in Shimla district and Chahod (2 MW) in district Mandi.

Cabinet also accorded approval for enhancement of honorarium of Jal Rakshaks (Water Guards) engaged through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) from Rs. 1350 to Rs. 1500 per month.

The Cabinet also accorded approval to 100 units of free electricity per month to the families affected by Hydel projects in the State as per the subsidized tariff determined by Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (HPERC) from time to time with respect to Local Area Development Committees of the districts and the balance amount equivalent to the quantum of subsidy with the state government. This shall be done once in a year since the tariff is determined by HPERC.

Besides, it was also decided to provide 35 kilograms of ration to the Above Poverty Line (APL) families in Tribal areas of the State. A decision was taken to provide all three pulses to all the ration card holders irrespective of the number of units on the cards/scale as fixed by the state government.

Jobs/Posts  Filled or Created

It approved for creation of 855 posts of various categories for Shri Lal Bhadur Shastri Medical College, earlier known as ESIC, medical college and hospital Mandi at Ner Chowk.A decision was taken to fill 70 vacant posts of Firemen and 30 posts of Driver-cum-Pump Operators on contract basis in Fire Services Department.

To filling up of 65 posts of Drivers in Irrigation and Public Health Department amongst the lower categories in the Department by  relaxation of R& P Rules.

The Cabinet approved for creation and filling up of as many as 61 posts of various categories for new Government Polytechnic for women at Rehan in district Kangra.

It approved to filling up 50 posts of class-IV on contract basis in Co-operation Department besides filling up three posts of Driver in Co-operative Department.

Approval was accorded to create ten posts of Law Officers in H.P. Secretariat. It approved to up-grade four posts of Junior Assistant to Senior Assistant in the Directorate of Small Saving.

Decision was taken to fill two posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis in Co-operative Department and filling up two posts of computer Operators by promotion from amongst Class-IV employees in Planning department.

Approval was accorded for creation of two posts of Protocol Officer with supporting staff in the establishment of District and Sessions Judges.

Approval was accorded to fill up two vacant posts of Statistical Assistant  and two posts of Junior Office Assistant in Horticulture Department through direct recruitment and to fill up ten posts of Peons on daily wage basis in HP Election Department.

A special recruitment drive would be launched to fill the backlog posts against the new posts in every discipline for other Backward Classes (OBC) to overcome the shortfall of the category in the Government job.

Health Sector

The cabinet gave its nod to upgrade Civil Hospital Jawalamukhi to the level of 75 bedded Civil Hospital and  up-gradation of HSC Dhanote (Jurahi) to PHC in district Kangra along-with creation of requisite  posts.Approval was accorded to open Primary Health Centre in Shivpur Gagret Constituency of Una district and Primary Health Centre at Raja Ka Talab  in district Kangra alongwith creation of adequate staff.

The Cabinet also approved opening of PHC at Basantpur in Shimla district.

It also approved to open Health Sub Centre at village Mohal district Kullu along-with adequate staff.

Approval was accorded to upgrade Community Health Centre (CHC), Jawali to 50 bed Civil hospital Jawali along with creation of requisite posts. Besides, it approved  CHC with 30 beds at Rey in Jawali.

It approved upgradation of Primary Health Centre (PHC) Chandi to Community Health Centre (CHC) and Health sub-centre (HSC)  Baba Haripur to PHC in Solan district and PHC Kungrat to CHC, HSC Kuthar Beet to PHC in district Una alongwith creation of  requisite staff.

It also approved Health dispensaries at Dhalaya, (Bathuwana Jabri), Gawahi (Kohbag) and in Gram Panchayat Okhroo in Shimla district

Other Important Decisions

The cabinet gave its approval to open Sub-Tehsils  at Sarahan and at Taklech in Rampur Sub-Division of Shimla district.It approved to open new Hydro Power Engineering College Bandla in district Bilaspur.

It approved proposal to the scheme for awards for prisons personnel.

The Cabinet approved the proposal for grant of ex-gratia compensation amounting to Rs. 10 lakh on death and Rs. five lakh on permanent disability to the staff deployed on election duty by State Election Commission

The Cabinet decided to open HP PWD Sub-Division at Khundian in district Kangra.

It approved to regularize the daily waged workers of Nepali origin in relaxation of R&P Rules.

It approved construction of PWD rest house at Bhalei in Salooni Tehsil of Chamba district  and construction of additional accommodation of PWD rest house Namhol in Bilaspur district.

The Cabinet gave its approval for declaration of Summer Festival Ghumarwin as a District level Fair.

The Cabinet approved upgradation of Veterinary dispensary Pali in Drang Sub-division of Mandi district

Approval was accorded to up-grade Veterinary Dispensary Majhwar to Veterinary Hospital in Mandi district and Veterinary Dispensary Goshani to Veterinary Hospital in Kullu district along-with requisite staff.

The Cabinet approved to take over the services of teaching and non-teaching staff of erstwhile privately managed Jawalaji Degree College, Jawalamukhi and Deen Dayal Mahesh Degree College, Sugh-Bhatoli in district Kangra which now would be named as Government Degree College Sugh- Bhatoli.

Amendments and Rules

It was also decided to make amendments in Rule 69-B of Himachal Pradesh Motor Vehicle Rules, 1999.The Cabinet approved the Himachal Pradesh Miscellaneous Adventure Activities Rules, 2004, which would besides the existing  HP Aero Sports and River Rafting Rules will include many Miscellaneous Adventure activities as river crossing, zorbing, hot air ballooning, skiing, trekking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, rolling balls/water balls, zipline etc. However the objections/suggestions with regard to rules would be invited from the general public before finalization.

The Cabinet approved amendments in section 3 of the Himachal Pradesh Tax on entry of goods into Local area Act, 2010.

Misc News/Press Release

Foundation Stone of Shiv Dham at Mandi Laid, Will Cost Rs. 150 Crore

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Shiv Dham Mandi model

Mandi: Shiv Dham construction at Mandi would cost over Rs. 150 crores to the State. It was informed during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Shiv Dham Phase-I to be developed at Kangnidhar. The First Phase of this project would be completed at a cost of Rs. 40 crore, the government said.

The Shiv Dham would be developed in an area of 9.5 hectares. Shiv Dham would have replicas of twelve Jyotirlingam, a statue of Lord Shiva and Ganesh, Museum, Food Court, Herbal Garden, Nakshatra Vatika, Amphi-theatre, Orientation Centre, Car Parking etc. 

Further, it was informed that the foundation stone of multi-storey parking was laid near U-Block. An estimated amount of Rs. 100 crore would be spent on Public-Private Partnership mode, the government informed.

There is also a proposal to construct Rs. 27 crore Anaj Mandi (Grain Market) in Mandi, it was informed.

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New Farm Laws Could be Death Knell for States like Himachal, Says 19 Organizations While Expressing Solidarity with Farmers Protest

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Himachal PRadesh supports farmers protest

Shimla-More support is pouring in for farmers protest from Himachal Pradesh. Today, about 19 social organizations, women’s organisations and farmer’s groups issued a joint public statement today in solidarity with the three-month long farmer’s movement in the country.

The statement demands the repeal of the three new farm laws introduced by the central government and calls for strengthening minimum support prices, extending it to crops, especially fruits and vegetables grown for the market in Himachal Pradesh. The statement is critical of the non-democratic manner in which the bills were passed in the parliament in a hurry in the middle of the Covid led lockdown.

Highlighting the issues with each of the laws the organisations condemned the fact that these are designed to benefit the large corporate houses which would ultimately break the back of the farmers.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 has the potential of destroying the government led APMC mandis, the oganizations said.

The second law on contract farming puts the farmers in the dock by not just opening them to risks when getting into contracts with companies but also by closing the door of the courts for redressal for farmers, the statement said.  

Also Read: Supporters in Himachal Displaying Solidarity With Protesting Farmers, Term Delhi Violence a Failed Conspiracy to Discredit Movement

Further the statement said that the third law, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, as corporates are allowed to buy, store, sell produce minus regulation and accountability of any sort. It also seeks to restrict the powers of the government with respect to production, supply, and distribution of certain key commodities. It is now evident that this will have a direct impact on the storage and distribution of subsidized grains by the government. This can turn out to be a direct threat for food security of the country.

“For a state like Himachal Pradesh where a large section of the population depends heavily on food grains produced by the farmers of the plains and distributed at subsidized rates through the PDS these laws could prove to be a death knell,” the groups said in the statement.  

Even for those who are able to procure from the market, the rising prices of commodities would be a direct hit on their pockets. Apart from the consumers, the farmers of the state will also suffer a setback. The absence of MSPs for fruits and off-season vegetables and lack of APMC markets here have already been a cause of concern for the cash croppers of the state, the statement read.

“In fact fruit and vegetable producer unions have been demanding extension of MSPs and better markets so that apple producers for example are not exploited by ‘middlemen’ and private vendors,” the organizations said.  

In the terai region where there is a surplus of maize produce farmers are forced to sell it at Rs 1000 to 1200 whereas Rs 1850 is the MSP – but the markets are too far for them to access, they said.

The statement has also condemned the manner in which the state and central governments have tried to defame the peaceful protests through various tactics.

“The repression of those coming out in support of the farmer’s movement, be it activists or journalists reporting on the developments is utterly shameful and against the principles of democracy,” the statemen said.  

The groups said that they are also going to send this statement as a submission to the President of India demanding repeal of the three laws.

Housing in makeshift camps, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting on Delhi boarders for nearly 100 days now. Though the protests had begun last year, the movement has seen a massive growth in recent weeks as it receiving support from environmental activists, opposition parties and even Western celebrities. Now, this farmers movement is spreading to the country’s northern and western farm belts.

The group of organizations that issued this statement includes All India Democratic Women’s Association, HP (AIDWA), Bhumiheen Bhumi Adhikar Manch, HP, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Citizens’ Rights Forum, Kangra, Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan, HP, Ghumantu Pashupalak Mahasabha, Chamba, Himachal Kisan Sabha, Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective, Parvatiya Mahila Adhikar Manch, Right To Education Forum, HP, Samajik Arthik Samanta ke Liye Jan Abhiyan, Save Lahaul Spiti, Spiti Civil Society, Sirmaur Van Adhikar Manch, Sambhaavnaa Institute, SUTRA, Solan,  Tower Line Soshit Jagrukta Manch, Himachal Pradesh, and Zila Van Adhikar Samiti, Kinnaur.

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Ugly Brawl at HP Vidhan Sabha on Budget Session’s Opening Day, Five Congress Legislators Suspended for Rest of Session

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HP Vidhan Sabha

Shimla- The Budget Session 2021-22 of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha witnessed an ugly scene on the opening day of the session. The situation was so tense that it led to a scuffle between BJP MLAs, Minister, and Congress legislator including the leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri. Congress alleged that its legislators were manhandled. Following this incident, five legislators including Agnihotri, Harsh Vardhan, Satpal Raizada, Vinay Kumar, and Sunder Singh Thakur were reportedly suspended for the rest of the session. Later, an FIR was also filed against the legislators at the Boileauganj Police Station.

It was shocking to see the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Chief Minister jumping into the brawl as it raised concerns about arrangement and management of security at the Vidhan Sabha.

The motion for their suspension was introduced and passed in the absence of opposition legislators.

What Happened at Vidhan Sabha

Mukesh Agnihotri disrupted the speech of the Governor saying that it includes no mention of crucial issues like price rise of petrol, diesel cooking gas, inflation, unemployment, corruption, back-door entries etc. Agnihotri said the speech was nothing more than a bundle of lies. Agnihotri claim that Dattatreya had skipped a major portion of his speech and had chosen to stay mum on these critical issues. Governor Bandaru Dattatraya, following din, did not read the entire speech and ended his speech within 15 minutes abruptly.

Subsequently, the proceedings were adjourned till 2 pm on Monday. 

When the Governor was leaving from Vidhan Sabha, Mukesh Agnihotri, along with other Congress legislators, blocked the road and did not let the Governor’s car leave the premises. Agnihotri was seen trying to lay on the bonnet of the car. Videos clearly showed legislator pushing each other and using a hostile tone. Minister Suresh Bhardwaj was seen falling down on the ground, while Deputy Speaker Hans Raj was seen pushing Congress legislators.

“It’s the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha that the Governor did not read the entire speech and allegedly fled the Vidhan Sabha,” Agnihotri said. He said that Congress legislators only wanted to speak to the Governor.

Agnihotri alleged that they were pushed, dragged, and manhandled even though they were only raising slogans and did not even touch the Governor or the Chief Minister. 

Speaking on the suspension of five Congress legislators, Vikramaditya Singh, MLA of Shimla (Rural) questioned as to why only action was taken on the Congress legislators and not the Deputy Speaker, Hans Raj. In videos, he was seen pushing Congress legislators.

The Speaker, HP Vidhan Sabha, Vipin Parmar condemned the ruckus and blamed it on the Congress legislators. He alleged Congress of manhandling the Governor. He said that the incident has brought embarrassment to the State Assembly and the constitution of India. 

Later, when the session was resumed, referring to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said that Rule number 30 says,

“No member shall interrupt the Governor when he is addressing the House; or display any placard; or shout any slogans; make nay protect; or raise any point of order, debate; or discussion; or otherwise willfully disrupt the proceedings, immediately preceding or during, or immediately following the Governor’s Address under Article 175 (1) of the Constitution and the Governor’s Special Address under 176(1) of the Constitutions, and the commission of any of the above lapses shall be treated as contempt of the House and dealt with as such under these rules.”

The session is scheduled to conclude on March 20.

The chief minister will present the budget for 2021-22 in the Assembly on March 6, Speaker Vipin Parmar had said on Thursday.

 

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