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HP Govt made 1600 announcements in 5 years, 1300 still await fulfillment: Anurag

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ANurag Thakur statements on Virbhadra Singh

Most of the announcements made by CM over the past 5 years have yielded negligible results on the ground be it in the field of education, public work, healthcare, travel or tourism.

Shimla: To make his presence felt in the political arena, Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Hamirpur, keep trying. At times he does by either giving spicy statements over the Congress-ruled government and the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh or other activities like inaugurating Centrally sponsored Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna,(PMGS) projects.

Presently, the opposition is targeting the Chief Minister over last-minute announcements before the code of conduct comes into force ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections.

BJP is alleging that the Chief Minister is making unnecessary announcements without possessing required budget.

On Wednesday, Anurag also took a jibe at the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and said that the last minute announcements are showcasing desperation to woo the public.

He asked,

I would like to ask Virbhadra Singh Ji what his Government busy was doing for the past 5 years. Why did it not consider public and State welfare during that period?

It is extremely unfortunate that most of the announcements made by CM over the past 5 years have yielded negligible results on the ground be it in the field of education, public work, healthcare, travel or tourism, Anurag said. 

Now with the elections approaching, the CM is making all sorts of announcements just to dupe the public and earn brownie points.

Had he spent time with people he would have known that they will not fall prey to his false announcements anymore and he cannot befool them with any of his desperate tactics now, he said.

Going by the facts, in the past 5 years, CM has made close to 1600 announcements out of which there is no update on around 1300 announcements,

he said.

Since the last five years, the Chief Minister was busy in ensuring his own welfare and attending his corruption cases. He could not attend to the public, he said.

The fear of losing the election has sent shivers down his spine. Now he is running in all directions making frivolous announcements, he said.

As expected, Anurag compared the percentage of cut announced in the VAT on petrol and diesel by HP government with other states.

On the directive of the Central government, the State Government has lowered the VAT by 1% which in working comes to 52 paisa on petrol and 43 paisa diesel, he said.

Had the State Government been concerned about the welfare of the public, then it would have made a significant cut in the VAT like other States such as Gujarat or Maharashtra, he said.

The government was forced to lower the VAT due to the fear of losing elections, he said.

However, the BJP MP is himself trying to fix a huge dent on his image that was badly dented after his removal as the BCCI President by the Apex Court for alleged contempt of court and perjury by lying to the court after taking an oath of telling truth.

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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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Final list of ‘HP Cabinet portfolios’ allotted to ministers

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HP CM Jairamthakur with Modi

Shimla: The Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has finalized allotment of the portfolios to the ministers of his cabinet. On Thursday, the ministers desperately waited for the decision on the portfolios, which did not arrive. However, the suspense ended on Friday. 

HP Cabinet Portfolios

Jai Ram Thakur Public Works Department, Tourism and Excise and Taxation, Revenue (CM)
Mahender Singh  Irrigation and Public Health besides Horticulture and Sainik Welfare.
Kishan Kapoor Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Elections.
Suresh Bhardwaj Education, Parliamentary Affairs, Law and Legal Affairs
Anil Sharma Minister for Power and Multipurpose Projects in additional to Non-Conventional Energy Resources.
Sarveen Chaudhary Urban Development, Town and Country Planning and Housing.
Ram Lal Markanda Agriculture, Information Technology and Tribal Affairs
Vipin Singh Parmar  Health, Medical Education, Ayurveda, Science and Technology.
Virender Kanwar Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.
Bikram Singh Industries, Labour and Employment, Technical Education, Vocational and Industrial Trainings.
Govind Singh  Forests, Transport, Youth Services and Sports.
Rajiv Saizal Social Justice and Empowerment besides Minister for Department of Cooperation

Earlier, on Thursday, maintaining the tradition, the Chief Minister also made courtesy calls on Prem Kumar Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh at their respective residences.

Related Story: For more details read about all ministers of Jairam’s newly formed HP Cabinet

After giving a jolt to the chairmen and re-employed retired bureaucrats of various Departments of the Himachal Pradesh Government on his swearing-in day, the newly appointed Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, remained in news on Thursday for the announcement of a new year gift of three percent dearness allowance (DA) to the employees of the State government.

 

DA to hp govt employees

After the internal tussle for the seat of the Chief Minister, now the elected cabinet ministers were said to have been lobbying to get their desired portfolios.

Jairam Thakur at Virbhadra Singh residence

Jairam Thakur at the residence of former CM- Virbhadra Singh/ Photo: Virbhadra Singh

Earlier, on Thursday, the CM addressed the employees of the HP Secretariat and announced that the government employees will receive a DA at the rate of three percent with the salary on February 1, 2018. The DA will be calculated since July 1, 2017, to January 2018. The pensioners will also receive the benefits, the CM had informed. For the allowance, the government will bear an additional financial expenditure of approximately Rs. 187 crore per annum.

He told the government employees to not consider their duties secondary. Though it is least expected from the employees, the CM did appeal to the to work beyond the duty hours to give enough time to the society and for the benefit of the people.

Like the previous-CM Virbahdra Singh, Jairam said,

Though the government endeavours to provide jobs in the government sector, I do believe that the mindset for only seeking government jobs be eschewed

There was no age to learn and one should learn at every stage of life, said the Chief Minister very sincerely.

I am open to the suggestions everytime, and I believe that suggestion by a common man can be fruitful and can be a turning point for betterment in the life,

he said.

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