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I want to retire from active politics but Congress leaders persuading me to lead party in polls: Virbhadra

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Virbhadra vs sukkhu

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh assembly polls 2017 are hardly a month away, but the feud between the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and party Chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukkhu continues to weaken the spirit of the party members.

Once again, the Chief Minister launched an attack over the working of the party. The congressmen nowadays are faithful to a person and not to the party and there is a massive change in what the Congress was in the post-independence era, said the Chief Minister.

Nowadays, those indulging in flattery are seated and nominated to the top posts, setting aside the very concept elections.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was addressing a gathering at Sainj in Banjar assembly segment of district Kullu on Tuesday, September 12.

Congress is still a strong party but some changes are the need of the hour and as soon the changes are made, the better it is for future of the party, he said.

Earlier, the members or even the party presidents were elected right from block level, to district and to State, he said.

Elections were held for president of All India Congress Committees and the working committees. But this trend has been discarded now. He himself voted for the top posts in AICC when he was the elected state president of HPCC, said the Chief Minister.

Tickets won’t be issued to those who appear all of a sudden with his image on the banner or poster and starts demanding the same,

he said.

I know in and out of everyone, and even of those who try to flatter me

, he said adding,

Only the deserving would get the tickets. I don’t like those who indulge in flattery and I have learnt the same from my ancestors.

Earlier, while addressing a public meeting at Bajaura, the Chief Minister said he wants to get retired from active politics but the congress people are persuading him to lead them and fight the elections.

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BJP MLA deceiving CM Jairam and people by re-laying foundation stones: Congress

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Narendra Bragta re-laying foundation stones in shimla

Shimla: Ahead of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s Kotkhai visit on June 20, 2018, the elected legislator of Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency, Narendra Bragta, has been alleged of duping the Chief Minister as well as the public by re-laying foundation stones of the projects which were already sanctioned and the foundation stones of which were already laid.

It would be Chief Minister’s first visit after being elected in 2017 elections to the legislative assembly, and he is expected to lay foundation stones of various projects.

These allegations were labelled by the members of the Executive Committee of Congress in Jubbal-Nawar-Kotkhai division including the President Moti Lal Derta, Vice-President Ravindra Chauhan, and General Secretary Rakesh Chauhan in a joint media statement on Monday.

Not only this act of deception is denting the dignity of the CM’ chair but the people are also making fun of it.

The Committee has counted about six such projects, some of which are said to be in the list of foundation stone laying ceremonies in the constituency.

The Committee asked Bragta whether it is true or not that the foundations stone of the Kotkhai bus stand was laid on August 9, 2012, by the then-Transport Minister Mahendra Singh Thakur in his presence.

Similarly, the foundation stone of the Darkoti-Garavag irrigation scheme was already laid by then MLA Rohit Thakur in September 2017. The Committee pointed out that Himachal had received total funds of Rs. 338 crores and the Jubbal-Kotkhai constituency was given highest funds worth Rs. 63 crores for nine irrigation schemes. However, the current BJP government could not even complete the process of their tendering in last six months, said Congress.

The Committee further said the funds for the construction of an additional block of the State Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) in Kharapathar were also sanctioned in 2014 during the tenure of Congress government. The tender for the same was already awarded in November 2014, and BJP had played no role in it.

In 2008, Rs. 3 crores were sanctioned for the Saraswati Nagar stadium. These funds were, however, misused indiscriminately by near and dears of the MLA. Bragta had made claims of making it a world-class stadium, which did not happen, said the Committee, adding that all sports activities of the college were hit as the site of the proposed stadium remained in tatters until the previous MLA Rohit got another Rs. 35 lakh sanctioned to make it even.

Similarly, the Committee said, funds for the Pragtinagar Engineering College were also sanctioned during the previous Congress government in 2016-17 and the work was going on a war footing, and it does not make any sense to lay the foundation stone of such project.

These were the efforts to cover the failures of the government during last six months of its tenure while the people of the constituency still awaited deliverance of basic amenities, said the Committee.

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Dissolution of Shimla MC haunts BJP as opposition lays tempting bait for its Councilors

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Shimla MC Dissolution

The opposition has reportedly told vulnerable BJP Councilors that the two top positions would be given to them if they join hands to support a no-confidence motion.

Shimla: The town is still recovering from the acute water-scarcity it faced during last month. The government claimed that the town was receiving increased supply now, but SMC is still following the schedule prepared for town’s three zones for supplying drinking water after every three days.

Despite it, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Shimla remained missing from their offices on Monday and Tuesday. The Mayor reportedly escaped to some cultural function on Tuesday. Her absence enraged the people and Councilors who had come with their grievances to see her.

The attention of media, as well as their readers, has also now shifted from water scarcity to opposition Congress’s political move to dethrone Kusum Sadret and Rakesh Sharma from the chairs of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. As per the inside sources of the opposition, the bait laid for the BJP Councilor of Engine Ghar, Arti Chauhan, has worked.

She has agreed to use the support of the Congress-Councilors if she is given an opportunity to become the Deputy Mayor, said unofficial sources. It was further reported that about five Councilors of Congress have signed a written assurance to the BJP Councilor.

The Congress and BJP had won 12  and 17 seats respectively out of total 34 in the SMC elections held in 2017. Four seats were claimed by independent candidates while one went to the CPI(M).

BJP was one mark short of a majority and had poached one of Congress-supported independent Councilor, Sanjay Parmar, who had won elections from Ghora Chowki Ward. Sanjay was even thrashed for shifting his loyalty, and a video of the same had gone viral on social media.

Currently, owing to the failure to deal with water scarcity and Mayor’s poor performance, Congress is now at 16 – just short of two Councilors, which it is trying to poach from BJP. If opposition succeeds, then it can move a no-confidence motion to derail the current MC.

The opposition has reportedly told vulnerable BJP Councilors that the two top positions would be given to them if they join hands to support a no-confidence motion.

Congress’s choice for the Deputy Mayor is Arti Chauhan while poaching is still going on for the new Mayor. In simple words, currently, the eligibility for a highly important post of  Mayor is to shift loyalty.

It is to be seen whether BJP could prevent this one unidentified Councilor from falling to the temptation of sitting on the Mayor’s chair.

It would be a huge embarrassment for the ruling government as it was the first time in the history of SMC that people had given a chance to the BJP to run the Corporation.

The SMC has not completed its first year and it would be a great opportunity for Congress to propagate incapability of the BJP in running SMC and managing its own Councilors.

The acute water-scarcity and inequitable distribution of available drinking water to facilitate VIPs and influential have put the BJP on the target of not only the people but also on its own Councilors.

The opportunity for Congress is most suitable as the mismanagement and poor response of the current MC to the water scarcity had forced more than half-a-dozen of its own Councilors to come out on streets to protest against the Mayor, who had opted to disappear from the scene for an opportunity of a foreign tour.

The Councilors of the Engine Ghar and Dalli Wards had even sat on a dharna in front of the SMC Office. They didn’t listen to the Deputy Mayor at all, and the High Command had to intervene to silence them by evening.

The Legal Cell of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee has already submitted a memorandum to the Governor Acharya Devvrat on June 4 urging him to direct dissolution of the SMC under Section 404 of the Shimla MC Act 1994.

Further, the public, too, doesn’t seem to be satisfied with the performance of the current Mayor, who could soon repent choosing China visit over being present among the people.

Go through the comments made by the people on a post regarding the reason given by Mayor behind the urgency of her visit to China:

But it is the public that is sandwiched between the ruling government and opposition. This is why the political parties and their leaders do not get time to think about the welfare of the people.

Sadly, the MC currently does not require professional politicians but leaders with a scientific attitude and knowledge of technicalities crucial to running a town.  

Shimla town is an ecologically fragile hill station and requires a scientific approach in order to sustain itself amid rapid environmental degradation and haphazard, unplanned construction.

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HP Govt re-shuffles 34 IAS officers amid ongoing plethora of assuarances to public

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List of HP IAS transfered

Shimla: The new Government of Himachal Pradesh, led by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, has re-shuffled 34 IAS officials on January 5, 2018. Amongh these 34 officials, 10 were posted as the Deputy Commissioners of various districts.

Vikas Labro and Yunus Khan were the only two IAS Officers, who were not transfered and still hold the post of DCs of Una and Kullu respectively.

While there is nothing new in re-shuffling officials occupying important positions with the change in the government, a different pattern was observed emerging for the selection of candidates for these positions.

For the most important positions, the party is picking up candidates with a strong right-wing ideological background,well-tuned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and had served dedicatedly as full-timers for the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Other than this major decision to re-shuffle the administrative officials, the Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, and his cabinet ministers continue to assure the public of delivering massive reforms in the governance and administration.

The Chief Minister, right after the swearing-in ceremony on December 27, had told the people that he would go after the ‘VIP Culture’. He had expressed consternation about the poor financial health of the Hill State, which is buried under a gigantic loan of Rs. 46,000 crores.

The biggest assurance is that the party and its ministers will imbibe and embody the concept of political equality as a way of life.

As Chief Minister is said to have hailed from a common farmer community, the people are expecting to witness a change in the feudal mindset of the politicians, ministers, and bureaucrats. The public thought this time all official formalities like the oath-taking ceremony, the usual cavalcade of luxury cars, and grand welcomes would be simpler instead of usual pompous display of power and privilege.

Grand Ceremony, Demand for Luxuries,  Transfers  

However, the ceremony came out to be pompous one in which a large number of so called VIPs including the BJP’s top guns Amit Shah and Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers of several states were invited.

Though, the Chief Minisiter denied it, the reports regarding the demand of the ministers for more expensive luxury vehicles and the quarrell over official residences are not going with the claims of ending VIP culture. 

Public Money Frittered Away on Bouquets

Other than that, as per a Hindi Daily Jagran, the Chief Minister was greeted at the State Secretariat by presenting him bouquets. The cost of these bouquets, said the daily, ranged between Rs. 300 to 1,000 depending on the quality and quantity of the flowers. However, the bureaucrats did not spend on these expensive bouquets from their own pockets, but from official accounts. A plethora of bouquets was seen at the Chief Minister’s Office or any place he visited.

After the news appeared in the paper, the Chief Minister issued directions that no official visiting him would present bouquets.  

The Chief Minister had fired all the re-employed officials after their retirement. The party has made the re-employment of retired employees a major issue prior to the elections. However, now the government has realized that in some cases, it can’t help it either.

In a cabinet decision taken yesterday, the service of 214 retired patwaris/kanungos engaged on contract basis were given extension till August, 2018 until the new batch of 1120 patwaris undergoing training will be recruited.

Further, the Chief Minister today proposed setting up more micro and small scale industries using the ample surplus land under Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).    

Yesterday’s Assurances by CM and Cabinet Ministers

There would be zero tolerance towards the crime against women and corruption, said the Chief Minister while annoucing a 24×7 ‘Gudiya’ helpline today. The Chief Minister during his visit to the Press Club. To curb the corruption, the Atal Help Line will be provided, he said. 

The Cabinet Ministers are also conducting meetings with their concerned departments and assuring a revolution in work culture.

Industries Minister Bikram Singh 

Bikram Singh today assured he would make the state an industrial hub of the country in 100 days. As geographical variations have always limited the expansion of industries in the state, Bikram assured uniform industrialization by introducing a ‘New Industrial Policy’ focusing on ‘Rural Industrialization’.

He assured at the very least 80 per cent employments in up-coming industrial units to the youth of Himachal.

The minister also assured the Mining Officers will conduct regular inspection and form a special flying squad to check illegal mining. H

e said the mining sites and quarries will be auctioned in a transparent manner.

Minister for Food, Civil Supplies Kishan Kapoor

Similarly, Kishan Kapoor, in a meeting of Officers of  Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs  Department at Shimla today, promised there will be no compromise on quality of essential commodities under PDS.

The officers will physically go in the field and conduct regular inspection of fair price shops, take samples and ensure reporting, he claimed.  

Kapoor assured all the ration cards will be linked with Aadhar Number within 100 days. A toll free numbers 1967 is already functioning to redress the grievances of consumers, he said.

The government is giving a subsidy of more than 220 crore on subsidized food in Himachal, and it is  the “duty of officers to ensure quality in this ration to provide best food to consumers in every nook and corner of the State,” he said.

Urban development, Housing and TCP Minister Sarveen Chaudhary

Minister Sarveen Chaudhary on January 5 presided over a review meeting of HIMUDA. She assured the concerned officials will complete all the developmental projects in a time bound manner. She said “no compromise will be tolerated in the quality of works and complete transparency should be maintained in the departmental affairs”.

The Minister gave the department 100 days for highlighting the priority of works with the projection of the cost and resource management. She said a cleanliness drive will be launched in the state, if the statement of the Minister is considered.

As per the Minister, so far, the HIMUDA has developed 17,229 houses, flats and plots.

The construction of 146 flats and development of 181 plots is in progress, while four housing colonies at Sheel, Dharmapur, Trilokpur and Rajwari are in pipeline, she said.

The minister is assuring construction of five clusters for solid waste management in Baddi, Hamirpur, Kangra, Shimla and Mandi. Vendor markets will be opened in different parts of the state and all possibilities of providing parking spaces will be explored.

The new government has promise fixing the errors in working of government departments. These sessions of claims and promises are likely to continue for a month or so.

The Chief Minister is repeatedly expressing gratitude towards the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party high-command for giving him a chance to serve. He also assured the public that the foot-steps of PM Modi in the field of development will be followed in Himachal too.

Administrative Policy Paralysis

However, the biggest challenge for the government would be to do away with the administrative policy paralysis.

To the dismay of the public, there has been a major debate over the excess interference of legislature with the executive, which often prompted the judiciary to step in. The relation between the political class and the permanent executive hasn’t been so healthy.

It is evident from the repeated need of the intervention from the apex court to make the government work properly.

The court’s intervention comes in response to petitions by the vigilant section of the civil society, watchful media and the Right to Information Act.

In fact, with an intention to put a check increasing erratic and unresponsive executive power, the apex court had ordered formation of the Civil Service Board.

 

 

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