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Centre’s claim of 61 new National Highways for Himachal is a lie, a political stunt: Congress



New National Highways for Himachal

The claim by BJP that the Centre has given 61 new National Highways was a mere political announcement as till now the State Government has not even received a single penny from the Centre for these roads. 

SHIMLA-  In Himachal Pradesh’s political sphere, Congress and BJP continue to exchange counter statements against each other. What Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) called cheap attempts by Congress leaders to please the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Congress ministers have snubbed Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda for asking the resignation of Chief Minister.  Kaul Singh Thakur, Health & Family Welfare Minister and Mukesh Agnihotri, Industries Minister and Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, in a joint statement,  lashed out at BJP and claimed that Virbhadra was the most popular leader and heading democratically elected Congress Government in Himachal Pradesh.

The statement of Nadda that appeared in a section of press as factually incorrect, misleading and politically motivated which clearly reflects BJP’s lust for power and its ill intentions to destabilize the democratically elected popular Congress government in Himachal Pradesh, said the ministers.

There is an internal war for supremacy going on in the State BJP and Nadda has his eyes set on the State politics. Therefore, he was issuing such misleading statements just to keep himself alive in the State politics and trying to project himself not for the better interests of the State, but for his personal political motives, they further added.

The claim by BJP that the Centre has given 61 new National Highways was a mere political announcement as till now the State Government has not even received a single penny from the Centre for these roads. Centre has not even approved the estimate of Rs. 170 crore for preparing DPRs for these roads, said the statement.

People are quite aware that BJP leaders were blocking development projects for the State with political motives, they added.

The ministers criticized that instead of extending help for the State in health sector, Nadda was making unnecessary hue and cry. Three medical colleges for the State in Hamirpur, Chamba and Sirmaur districts were sanctioned by the UPA Government with the provision of Rs. 190 crore for each college and the BJP leader was unnecessarily trying to take credit for it.  They have asked the Union Government to release Rs. 570 crore in one go to the State. However, the Medical College in Sirmaur has already started functioning.

They said that the State Government had already selected and transferred an appropriate land to the Health Department after preparing proper maps etc. for medical college Hamirpur. It being the forest land the State Government had submitted the case to the Ministry of Forest & Environment for clearance which is still awaited, and hence the delay was at the level of Centre Government, they added.

Ministers further claimed that the State Government had already given its share money for Medical College Hamirpur and tender process had also been completed besides sanctioning of required posts for the college.

The ministers claims that the State Government had already started super specialty services both in IGMC and Tanda Medical Colleges & Hospitals. A new complex of IGMC is coming up at Chamiyana, near Shimla for which 250 bighas land had already been selected. They said for providing super specialty services at Tanda, two Cardiologists, two Neuro Surgeons, two Neurologists, one Gastroenteritist and five Cancer Specialists had already been appointed and were functioning. Cath lab was recently dedicated to the public, they added. They said that the State Government had already identified and transferred 650 bighas of land for setting up AIIMS in Bilaspur and now the delay was on the part of Central Government.

The minister alleged BJP of harassing  and humiliating the Chief Minister pushing three premier central agencies of the country to investigate the one single case pertaining to Income Tax returns. The matter was sub-judice and pending before various Income Tax Appellate Authorities and Courts.  Nadda is jumping to wild conclusions.  BJP should have respect for the legal process and show patience to wait for the verdict of Hon’ble Courts. They alleged that BJP was trying to create media sensation by making unsubstantiated allegations against him.

Ministers also claimed that instead of blaming the State Government, JP Nadda should use his office to provide legitimate share of the State to it as the State Government had already submitted a 12 points memorandum to the Prime Minister regarding various genuine demands of the State Government which included providing Compensatory Grant of atleast Rs 1000 crore annually for ecological services, payment of Energy Arrear Claims worth Rs 3997 crore from Punjab and Haryana, payment of Net Present Value in PMGSY etc.

According to these ministers, the State Government has fulfilled most of the promises made by the Congress party in its election manifesto within the three and a half years of its regime and that government was working tirelessly from day one for public welfare.  They said that for past 54 years he was elected as Chief Minister six times and Union Minister three times and there is no question of his resignation.

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Campus Watch

Bahra University and Siemens to run engineering course jointly




SHIMLA- Solan based privately owned Bahra University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with industrial giant Siemens Industry Software India Private Limited (SISW). The tie up will enable University to set up Siemens Certified Professional Learning Center at its campus.

Suman Bose, Managing Director & CEO for Siemens and Dr. SK Bansal, Vice-Chancellor Bahra University signed the MoU at University campus.

Elaborating on the benefits of the MoU Dr. Bansal said the University will start a new batch of 4-year integrated B.Tech, Mechanical with specialization in Design and Development program at their campus.

Dr. Bansal said the above course will be driven to produce industry ready engineers around broad specializations in industry 4.0 and Smart Factory, design and development, manufacturing and computer aided analysis. He said

Students successfully completing the course per stipulated guidelines will be awarded B.Tech Mechanical degree through the University and Certificate of Merit for the opted specialization in Design and Development through Siemens Industry Software India Private Limited,

Suman Bose assured to provide assistance to arrange for internship for students of University and also promised to assist in arranging industry projects for the students and endeavor to conduct conference and seminars in the University.

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Creative Corner

Himachal’s award winning filmmaker Ajay Saklani shares his journey with Himachal Watcher




SHIMLA- It is often said, every great dream begins with a dreamer. One must always remember that one has within self the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

Keeping in mind the same talented Ajay Saklani hailing from a remote village Sihan, district Mandi of Himachal Pradesh, made the state proud not at national but even at international level by bagging two international awards during screening of his film Saanjh – a Himachali feature film at THE BORREGO SPRINGS FILM FESTIVAL (held in California, USA) where it was chosen as the Best Feature Film among 750 other entries from around the globe was and “Award of merit” at Accolade Global Film Competition.


Ajay hails from a very humble background and showed people that one should be the flame and not the moth as having passed out from a government school his dream to achieve recognition not just for self but even for state and country.

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Sharing his journey to fame he with Himachal Watcher’s Community Member, Ritanjali Hastir, Ajay said,

My father was in army and he dreamt about me too following his footsteps. However, I was more inclined towards filmmaking that led me to taste the magic of theatre world.

As they say follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams so without any knowledge and guidance on filmmaking, Ajay shifted to Delhi in 2005.


There he joined RGB 4:3 Productions and learned the basics of filmmaking from Surender Sagar. He started his career as an editor and worked with some more production houses and few TV channels like Shakti TV, MH One Music, PTC Punjabi, Day & Night News to name.

His first documentary ‘Dyalee – a fading glory’ in 2006 in my village which helped him learn filmmaking basics. His second documentary ‘Upaasmar – The Taste of Hunger’ in 2011 was shot in the tribal areas of Maharashtra raising the issue of Malnutrition deaths in India and finally in 2014 after coming back to Himachal his own production company Silent Hills Studio in Hamirpur came into existence.

“With ‘Saanjh’ production I wanted to make a technical sound film that can compete with other films in the cinema halls. I hope that my work can inspire other filmmakers too and together we can promote Himachali cinema by providing with the quality work in future,” he shared.

“I feel that it was a film that fell in Art as well as Entertainment genre that made it touch hearts at the international level. As normally if we talk about Himachali Cinema, there is no such Cinema as of today in Himachal. Only a few films were produced till now and because of poor technical and creative work, those films could not make it to cinema halls or any film festivals around the country or world”, he expresses.

“Many people outside the state felt embarrassed considering the sad quality of music videos which fail to ravish visual or hearing senses; as they are also judged with the same rod. Recently some singers have given a ray of hope as they came forward with different music and quality videos. Many other singers from the state but they are all focused on Hindi and Punjabi music”, Ajay added as he contemplated on the situations one has to face considering the previous track records.


He further feels, “Cinema on the other hand is still untouched. As in 2011 Sanjeev Rattan’s ‘Dil Ch Vaseya Koi’ even won the National Award but due to the technical issues, the film failed to make it to cinema halls.Some filmmakers are coming up with great ideas for short films but again they are also focused on Hindi language. I believe until all these people don’t start making Pahari(Himachali)language films, there is no support for any kind of cinematic development in Himachal. Recently Siddarth Chauhan made a mark with his latest work and I feel happy that his next project is in Himachali language. It seems like a beginning of a new era for Himachali Cinema that has been neglected from a long time.”

“There is a great potential in Himachal and I receive a lots of calls everyday where people want to enter into acting or filmmaking and looking for guidance. But to their eagerness alone won’t do wonders we do need government support as well like in other states. The only exciting announcement is the financial support upto 10 lakh for filmmakers but only for short films and documentaries which again needs running from pillar to post and I can say is a herculean task. Exempting new cinema halls from tax for first three years is not taking filmmakers anywhere but support for film production in the state is better option which will also help in generating more and more tourism revenue.”

“Talking about my experience while making ‘Saanjh’ was a very difficult journey. Finding a producer or financier for a film in Himachali dialect was most difficult part. On the other hand our Himachal government doesn’t provide any kind of support for filmmaking in the state but expect a lot for the youth. Making people believe in me our project wasn’t easy,” shared Ajay as he keeps his view on talent promotion.

“As per his message he says My upbringing gave me deep insight into our culture and after coming back I realized a drastic change people in my village were trying to talk to in Hindi and the kids were being taught the Hindi and English words and were given punishment for talking in their own language. All our festivals were in disappearing stage and people had surrendered their traditions in the name of development. Actors feel ashamed to work in a Himachali film so very few actors turned out for auditions and they are happy to become part of crowd when a director from Mumbai.”

“I feel that as we don’t have a recognized language and we don’t have our own script to preserve the sounds of our language so there seems no way for the development of literature in our state. But yes, Cinema and Music can help in development of language & culture and it can take forward our traditional heritage. So this is very much important for us to have our own cinema and quality music. In all these years I learned the cinema, music and literature play a significant role in the development of language and culture and so we need to come forward and give Himachal its due respect,” he concludes.

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Himachal now ahead of Kerala in quality education in Govt schools: ASE Report 2016




SHIMLA- Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-2016 in its 11th Annual Report released in New Delhi confirmed that Himachal Pradesh now stood ahead of Kerala in the field of quality education in schools. The survey indicated that government schools of the state were leading and doing better than other states in terms of learning outcomes.

State Project Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan,Ghanshyam Chand said that ASER was the largest annual household survey of the children in India that focused on status of schooling and basic learning. ASER visited almost 15,630 government schools in rural India. In Himachal Pradesh 283 schools were visited during the survey. As many as 15 organizations participated in ASER-2016 across the state.

The report ASER-2016 found enrolment rate of students in the age group 6 to 14 in Himachal Pradesh to be 99.8 per cent. The State secured first rank in achieving learning outcomes in basic reading and mathematics across the country.

In language category the achievement level of government schools of Himachal Pradesh was 65.3 per cent as compared to the national level of 41.6 per cent. In mathematics the achievement level of the state was 47.4 per cent as compared to the national level of 21.1 per cent. The government schools have performed better than private schools throughout the state in mathematics.

In learning of English language, significant improvement was observed in the State. At national level the achievement status is 15.3 per cent whereas it is 44 per cent in case of Himachal Pradesh. In English the State stands at 5th position.

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