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Rahul’s Himachal Rally: Virbhadra Singh to lead party in assembly elections again

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rAHUL GANDHI HIMACHLA RALLY 4

Mandi: In a public rally held at Paddal Ground in Mandi on October 7, 2017, the National Congress Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi, has announced Virbhadra Singh as the high command’s choice for Chief Ministerial candidate in the upcoming HP Assembly elections.

Rahul said Virbhadra is a ‘Fakir’ in the true sense. He urged the party leaders and workers to stand united to elect him as their Chief Minister for the seventh time.

On the other hand, Bhartiya Janata Party has still kept the state leaders in a dilemma. BJP is internally divided into two camps. The political activity and demand of the Union Health Minister JP Nadda have significantly increased recently.

Former Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, is being over-shadowed by Nadda’s active presence. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also shown overwhelming appreciation towards the Union Minister at the recent political rally held in Bilaspur district.

rAHUL GANDHI HIMACHLA RALLY

While addressing the rally, Rahul focused on comparing development model of Gujrat and criticised the NDA government for demonetization and GST. He did not speak of the corruption charges against the Chief Minister and other repeated allegations of BJP regarding the presence of forest and mining mafia in Himachal.

Chief Minister provided employment to around 70,000 youth in the government sector, he said.

The Congress-led state government gave unemployment allowance of Rs.1000 to the unemployed whereas there is no such provision in Gujarat. The government opened or upgraded as many as 15000 schools whereas the Gujarat government closed 13,000 schools during last five years, said Rahul.

HP government opened four medical colleges, 57 degree colleges as opposite to Gujarat where just 25 degree colleges have been opened and no medical college during last five years.

The financial assistance for housing for different categories is Rs 1.30 lakh to poor in Himachal and mere Rs 70,000 in Gujarat. Social security pension in Himachal is Rs.700 per month and mere Rs.450 in Gujarat.
rAHUL GANDHI HIMACHLA RALLY 3

Rest, Rahul repeated the same claims regarding development in education, healthcare, youth employment etc. that the Chief Minister had been making.

He blamed Union government and PM Narendra Modi for the decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fall in GDP by 2 percent and said it led to mismanagement of the economic reforms.

He said the NDA Government has created trouble for all sections of the society by imposing Goods and Service Tax (GST). Services are now more expensive.

He said PM Modi has given the Indian economy the biggest blow ever.
rAHUL GANDHI HIMACHLA RALLY 2

Instead of one tax throughout the country, the NDA has imposed five different types of taxes completely derailing the economy with the imposition of 28 percent tax from the very onset.

Modi government failed to provide employment to two crore youth, as he had promised before elections. The Modi government failed to protect the interest of farmers as hundreds of farmers are committing suicide in the country. Loan waiver policies of the Union government also made a mockery of farmers in the name of waiving off loans, said Rahul.

People were family members to me and I don’t have servant-master relation with them,

said Chief Minister. He credited the development of this hill state to Gandhi family, right from Jawahar Lal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi.
rAHUL GANDHI HIMACHLA RALLY 5

He said that 95 percent of the educational institutions are opened during the successive Congress regimes in the state. During last five years the government has opened or upgraded around 230 health institutions in the state, he said.

BJP Misinforming Public over Credit for AIIMS

He alleged BJP of misinforming people about the AIIMS. The government provided the land for AIIMS as demanded by the Union Health Ministry, but the BJP state leaders claimed that Union Government sanctioned AIIMS and gave funds for it, he said.

I want to make it clear that it was the responsibility of the central government’s to provide state share for undertaking development and the funds provided for AIIMS was not from anyone’s personal pocket, it was the funds from ‘Bharat Sarkar’ from the share of the state which the state government deserve and have full right to ask for,

said the Chief Minister adding

The Central Government can boast of funds provided to Union territories which were under the direct control of the Union government but it can’t claim the share of states as its own.

He said irrespective of the government in the centre, it is the moral duty of the Union government to release the funds earmarked for the states.

At the time of the formations of the state, there were hardly 288 kilometers of road and today the total road length stands 37,000 kilometers, he said

The state achieved 100 percent electrification, every village has drinking water facilities, he said. There are137 degree colleges in the state and 57 were opened in this tenure of my government.

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BJP Govt in Himachal faces criticism due to misunderstanding over a clarification

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Non-Himachali govt employees can buy land in Himachal

Shimla: Recently, after a clarification was issued by the Himachal Pradesh Revenue Department to the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra district regarding Section 38-A of Section 118 of the HP Tenancy & Land Reforms Act stirred a controversy. The clarification said children of non-Himachali employees of the State government can also buy upto 500 square metres of land in the State for building a house.

The ruling government led by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur faced severe criticism with allegations of ‘selling land to non-Himachali people for a non-agricultural purpose’. The same clarification was issued earlier in July too, but that did not catch the attention of the media or the people.

It was repeated in August and this time it did rounds of social media. The Chief Minister yielded to the mounting criticism and withdrew clarification issued.

However, the original provision was actually introduced by the previous government through an amendment. The current government was just extending this provision to other family members of the eligible employees. However, only one member of the family was allowed to apply under Section 118 of the said Act.  Moreover, there was no exemption from the Section 118. The candidates were still required to apply under the Act to obtain permission.  

In July 2014, the then ruling government led by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had embedded provisions in Rule 38- A of Section 118 of the said Act through an amendment. It was called the ‘Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms (Amendment) Rules, 2014’. The amendment was mostly related making it easier for non-Himachali for setting up industrial units in the state.

The amended Act in its sub-section 3 of the Rule 38-A along with other points said,

“A person working in the state for more than 30 years recommended by the concerned local body ( DC) for grant of permission” can buy a land upto 500 square metres for constructing a residential building.

Read A Notification of the Revenue Department Issued in Sept 2014:

Similarly, a person who fulfils the above-mentioned eligibility can also purchase land up to 300 square metres for construction of a shop.

The previous Congress government and several petitioners had been reaching the court time to time terming the provision to ban non-agriculturists and non-Himachali’s from buying land in the State as a violation of the “Articles 14, 15, 19 (e) and (g) of the Constitution. Section 19 (e) of the constitution says that an Indian citizen has the constitutional right to reside anywhere in the country as per his wish.

In June 2016, the Chief of HP Congress, Sukhwinder Sukku, had also supported the need to amend the Act on similar grounds.

The petitioners argued that this rule is also creating hindrances in developmental activities in the State. It was claimed that even non-agriculturist Himachali people were also barred from buying land for any purpose other than agriculture which was unfair.  

The Act was amended multiple times since its adoption and the current government is also in favour of making amendments in the Act to relax conditions for acquiring land in the State. The government believes the dilution of this Section would make it easier to invite more investments, thus, help in the growth of the economy.

Moreover, acting on these petitions, in September 2016, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had even directed the state government to make suitable amendments in rules to facilitate the purchase of land, both agriculture and non-agriculture, by non- agriculturist Himachalis.

This court deems it fit and proper to direct the state government to make suitable amendments to Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972 read with HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Rules, 1975 in order to facilitate to purchase any land (agricultural and non-agricultural) in the state by non-agriculturist Himachalis residing in the state for decades, prior to the date of commencement of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, within a period of 90 days from today,

a division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur said.

At the same time, the people of the State and social organizations have always been against any dilution of Section 118 of the Act, which was passed in 1972 to check to sell of agricultural land to wealthy non-Himachalis by the poorer agrarian community. The government feared the trend would lead the native farmers landless and the economy of the state would also be affected as the majority of the population was dependent on agriculture and horticulture for livelihood.

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Congress wants CM Jai Ram Thakur to do what it couldn’t do during its own tenure

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sukku meets cm jairam thakur

Shimla: With the elections of 2019 nearing, growing drug and substance abuse among the youth of Himachal Pradesh (HP) has begun to become visible as a matter of great concern to the leaders of the Indian National Congress (INC). They want the new government to include the provision of more stringent laws against the drug peddlers. Unable to do much about it during the tenure of Congress, its leaders including Mukesh Agnihotri are now seeking action from Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led government of Bhartiya Janata Party.

Congress said it supports the government in matters related to the formation of stringent laws against drug mafia.

Congress expects the government to enact new laws in the monsoon session of the HP Legislative Assembly.

On August 20, Mukesh Agnihotri, the leader of the opposition, in a media statement said he wants the ruling government to make provision of capital punishment for drug peddlers and make peddling of synthetic drugs a non-bailable crime. He adored the recent decision of the government to conduct a joint meeting with seven neighbouring states. He also supported the proposal the Chief Minister had made in the meeting regarding the introduction of a mechanism for a regular medical checkup of the students to diagnose for symptoms of drug addiction or substance abuse.

The loopholes in the Narcotic Drugs & Psychoactive Substance (ND&PS), 1985, which were not visible to the leader of the opposition during the tenure of the INC, have now become conceivable. He pointed out that there is a provision of bail for Heroin (Chitta) offenders caught with a quantity up to five grams. He wants the new government to make the offence of peddling synthetic drugs non-bailable.

He made the new government aware of the fact that youth of the state is heading right towards the jaws of synthetic drug addiction.

Another group of Congress leaders led by the President of the HP Congress Committee and sitting MLA of Naduan, Sukhwinder Sukhu, with 15 other leaders, followed Agnihotri and met the Chief Minister on August 21 and submitted a memorandum to enact stringent laws against drug peddlers.

Sukku also wanted the Chief Minister to instil the fear of laws to discourage the drug peddlers. He could now see that the bordering areas of Himachal need joint efforts of the police of concerned states.

Also, now he has come up with several suggestions for the new government.

The Chief Minister has assured the Congress delegation that Himachal would be made a drug-free state.

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BJP leasing out Govt land in Shimla worth crores to RSS-linked organizations at a throwaway price: CPI(M)

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HP Govt leasing out land in shimla to rss

Shimla: One day ahead of the Shimla Municipal Corporation’s meeting on June 29, Bhartiya Janata Party-led state government is facing criticism over the proposal to lease out government land to organizations associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a throwaway rate.

At a time when the city needs land for public facilities like playgrounds for children, parking lots/complexes, community buildings etc., the government is being alleged of losing focus on the priorities.

The former Mayor of Shimla city and leader of the CPI(M), Sanjay Chauhan, on Thursday said the state government has decided to lease out two pieces of land owned by the HP Public Works Department worth crores to two of RSS’s organizations at a throwaway price, which is a complete misuse of the public property and resources, he said.

He said the current government has decided to lease out 22669.38 square meter land in Tutikandi in Shimla city to Matrivandana – an organization linked to the RSS.

Similarly, he further alleged, a piece of land measuring 257.15 square meters is being given to Vivekanand Kendra in Nabha at a throwaway price.

The government is rendering landless farmers homeless and snatching away their livelihood by evicting them from forest land and felling apple-laden trees, but at the same time, it is offering land to organizations which would use them to expand their propaganda, Chauhan said.

He further pointed out that the government has not provided even two Biswa piece of land to poverty-stricken, homeless families to build homes, however, it did decide to provide land worth crores in the middle of the city to the said organizations.

The party said the government is working on the direction of the RSS and deviating from its constitutional duties. The party has demanded a roll-back of these decisions at the earliest or to face public protests.

The land belongs to the people of Shimla and it must be utilized for their facilities instead of gifting it to organizations which are working to promote disharmony among the people.

Chauhan said.

Further, the SMC has proposed a hike in the honorarium given to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Ward Councillors. A proposal to buy a new car for the Mayor is also on the list. The Deputy Mayor has also asked SMC to provide him with an official vehicle.

The SMC House is expected to witness a ruckus in tomorrow’s meeting as half a dozen of BJP’s Ward Councillors had demanded the removal of Mayor and Deputy Mayor following their failure to run the city efficiently.

Earlier, the Councillors had also submitted a written complaint regarding the duo to a minister. Some of them had even threatened to boycott the meeting if the demand was not met. However, no notice was served to move a dissolution motion.

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