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BJP Govt Celebrates Completion of 4 Years in Himachal, Congress, CPIM Question Unfulfilled Poll Promises

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PM Modi in Mandi 2021

Mandi-Prime Minister Narender Modi today addressed a rally at the Paddal ground in Mandi. The occasion was to celebrate what Chief Minister Jairam Thakur claimed to be the “successful completion of four years of the government.”   

The Prime Minister termed the State Government’s term as “four years of eventful tenure.”

A special emphasis was laid on creating a feeling of emotional proximity of the Prime Minister to Himachal Pradesh.

The event was organized to be a grand one with huge expenditure on its publicity, which the opposition Congress termed to be an extravagance in the use of public money  to show-off political power.  

The Prime Minister and Chief Minister counted various schemes and cited various statistics as the current government’s achievement.

However, the defeat on all three Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in the recently held bye-elections contradicts the government’s claim that the public is satisfied with the working of the current government.

While the BJP-led government indulged in self-praise at the Paddal ground, the opposition Congress observed the day as “state-wide Virodh Diwas” against the alleged poor governance and incompetence of the current BJP-led government. In various districts, the opposition submitted a memorandum regarding the alleged failures of the government to the Governor through respective Deputy Commissioners.

In the memorandum, Congress highlighted four issues – poor governance, fiscal incompetence, rampant corruption, and Covid mismanagement.

Congress alleged that the government didn’t fulfil its poll promises. The inflation, rising prices of essential commodities, and unemployment haven’t been attended. The Opposition also alleged misuse of government machinery and corruption. The Congress termed the second round of investor meet as an eyewash. The state government has failed in procuring any central package for the industrial development in the state, the Congress said.

The opposition also condemned the inconvenience caused by taking over 1600 HRTC buses off their routes and deploy them for the rally. Also, the organization of such a huge rally amid the fear of the third wave of the pandemic was also questionable considering the precautions other states are taking. 

Similarly, the Communist Party of India also carried out a protest march in Shimla city on Monday. Sanjay Chauhan, a senior party leader and former mayor of Shimla, alleged that the government hasn’t fulfilled several of the promises BJP had made before the elections.

“BJP had promised to ease the lives of the people by reducing inflation and generating more employment opportunities. It had also made a promise to ensure better prices to farmers for their crops and hike daily wages. The employees were promised the revival of the old pension scheme and a new policy for contractual and outsourced employees, Sanjay Chauhan said.

“BJP had also promised payment of proper compensation by implementing the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. But the state government is yet to fulfil any of these promises,” Chauhan added.

“The unemployment rate which was 0.5% in April 2017 had risen to 28.2% till May 2020, and 8.5 lakh educated youth is still registered with the employment exchange, waiting for employment,” Chauhan added.

He also said that the government has almost cut all the subsidies given to farmers on seeds, manure pesticides, insecticides, fungicides etc.  

Projects Inaugurated by PM

The Prime Minister inaugurated and laid foundation stones of projects worth about Rs 11,581. The main projects include the following:

111 MW Sawara Kuddu Hydro Electric Project

Prime Minister inaugurated 111 MW Sawara Kuddu Hydro Electric Project virtually from  Mandi constructed by the HP Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL) at Rs 2082 crore.

Constructed near the Hatkoti temple on the Pabbar river in Shimla district, the government claimed that this project would generate 386 million units of power per annum and generate annual revenue of about Rs 120 crore to the State through HPPCL.

Renuka ji Dam on Giri, Sirmour,  and 66 MW Dhaulasidh Hydro Electric Project

He also laid foundation stones of Rs 7000 crore Renuka ji Dam on Giri river in Sirmour district and 66 MW Dhaulasidh Hydro Electric Project, a joint venture between the Government of India and the State Government located on the Beas river in Hamirpur and Kangra districts, the government informed. This Project being executed by the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. would be completed by spending an amount of Rs 688 crore.

210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro-Electric Project

He also laid the foundation stone of the 210 MW Luhri Stage-I hydroelectric project to be constructed by spending Rs 1811 crore on the Satluj river in Shimla and Kullu districts of the State.

Though the Hydropower projects are debatable and aren’t considered eco-friendly due to several reasons, the Prime Minister said the ones launched on Monday “reflects India’s commitment to eco-friendly development.”

 “When the Shree Renukaji Dam project on the Giri river is completed, a large area will be directly benefited by it. Whatever income will be generated from this project, a large part of it will also be spent on development”, the Prime Minister claimed.

He claimed that India is meeting its environment-related goals with a remarkable speed.

“In 2016, India had set a target to meet 40 percent of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030. India has achieved this goal in November this year itself.” the PM claimed.

He said that the State got AIIMS, Atal Tunnel and four Medical Colleges during the tenure of the present Government. But the Congress alleges that the BJP government is taking undue credits for several projects thought and initiated by the previous Congress government. Atal Tunnel is one of them, the opposition alleged. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also presided over the state government’s second “Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Himachal Pradesh Global Investors’ Meet” at Mandi. The government said that in the event, 287 investible projects worth ₹ 28,197 were grounded.

Amongst these projects were Renukaji Dam project worth ₹ 6,700 crores by SJVNL, State’s first Defence Park worth ₹ 2,000 crores by M/s SMPP Pvt. Ltd., API unit worth ₹ 850 Cr by M/s Kinvan Pvt. Ltd., State’s first Defence Park worth ₹ 510 Cr by M/s Indo Farm Equipment.

 

           

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Mandi Hooch Case: Political Storm Over Arrest and Expulsion of Hamirpur Congress Leader

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Hamipur district congress neeraj thakur

Mandi-On Sunday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee expelled General Secretary of the Hamirpur District Congress Committee following his arrest from Chandigarh in alleged connection with the Mandi hooch case.

It’s pertinent to mention that last week seven persons had lost their lives in two days and eight others are still hospitalized due to consumption of spurious liquor in Salapar area of Sundernagar Tehsil, Mandi district. Following this tragedy, a police SIT was formed, various places were raided, seizures of incriminating materials were made, several persons were arrested. So far, the police have arrested 13 persons in this connection and more arrests could be made as the SIT unfolds layers of people involved.

Neeraj Thakur, who was said to have risen to a political leader from a salesman at a liquor shop, had created an empire for himself allegedly from the illicit trade of spurious liquor. The worth of his properties and assets is being assessed, but the initial reports suggested his assets were disproportionate to his income. Now every political leader he was in contact with is under the scanner of the police SIT.

Also Read: Mandi Hooch Case: HP Police Claim Bursting Large-Scale Illicit Liquor Trade, Nabs Kingpin

According to Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Shalini Agnihotri, on Sunday, police detained Praveen Thakur, who is a resident of Hamirpur, two persons, identified as Sunny and Pushpender of Uttar Pradesh, AK Tripathi of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sagar Saini of Delhi. The police have claimed that it has also apprehended the kingpin.

The state Congress chief and the opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri who had been issuing statements holding the BJP government responsible for the Mandi hooch tragedy is on backfoot following the expulsion of Neeraj. At the same time, the failure of the state Excise and Taxation Department in checking this flourishing illicit trade of spurious liquor right under its nose is also evident.

State BJP general secretary Trilok Jamwal, State BJP spokesperson Baldev Tomar and co-media-in-charge Karan Nadda on Sunday issued statements referring to the expulsion of Neeraj as evidence that the Congress leaders were involved in, as well as, patron of liquor mafia in the State.

Further, with elections to the Shimla Municipal Corporation and elections to the state Assembly later this year, this issue has turned into a political storm.  

According to the SIT investigation, the illicit liquor factory was operating in Hamirpur District and raw materials were procured from both within and outside the State. The police said that Gaurav Manhas appears to be the kingpin of the illegal trade. Gaurav, with the assistance of Praveen, Pushpender and Sunny from UP, was running this illegal bottling plant at Hamirpur building owned by Praveen.

In addition, the DGP informed, Manu and Gagan were his partners in the bottling plant busted under the jurisdiction of Police Station Nalagarh. Gaurav has a strong network of distributors and supply chains for raw materials and finished liquor.

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Mandi Hooch Case: HP Police Claim Bursting Large-Scale Illicit Liquor Trade, Nabs Kingpin

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mandi liquor hooch case

Mandi-Mandi hooch case has brought shocking facts to light. An organized illicit liquor trade flourished in a village of Hamirpur district right under the nose of the Excise and Taxation Department and the police. It wasn’t a minor business but had inter-state links too. Named ‘Rainbow Café, a factory was operating in a building in a village of the district.

According to the initial police investigation, it was believed the deaths were caused by either improper mixing of the ingredients, or because a part of the spirit procured for the production of liquor may be impure and contained methyl alcohol instead of ethyl alcohol.

It raises another crucial question; can such an organized, large scale illicit business flourish without political patronage? 

Shaken by the death of seven persons due to consumption of spurious liquor in the Salapar area of Sundernagar Tehsil, the State Police formed a Special Investigating Team to investigate the case. According to the police, as the scope of the investigation had expanded, the state police included Arjit Sen (SP Una), Mohit Chawla (SP Baddi), Arvind Digvijay Negi, ASP Kangra and Yogesh Rolta (SDPO Parwanoo) in the SIT.

The police raided different places in different districts, collected evidence and seized a large amount of incriminating material.

The police had nabbed four persons in this connection. On Saturday, the Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, held a press conference and claimed to have busted the illicit liquor business by arresting the prime suspect who was identified as Narender alias Kalu – a resident of village Maloh in the district. He was on the run following the deaths.

During the questioning, Kalu revealed that the main supplier of this illicit liquor consignment was one Gaurav Manhas alias Goru of Palampur. A police team traced his location and apprehended him from a hotel in Zirkpur on Friday.

On being questioned by the SIT, it was found that Goru belonged to the Panchrukhi area of Kangra. According to the police investigation, Goru was running an illicit bottling unit at Hamirpur in collusion with Praveen Thakur. It was also revealed that the raw material for production and packaging was received from other persons belonging to different states.

One Sagar Saini, who belonged to Delhi, supplied the spirit drums and AK Tripathi, who hailed from Samba, Jammu and Kashmir, provided the formula, the police said.

Further, it was revealed that the bottling unit in Hamirpur was run by two persons who belonged to Uttar Pradesh. The duo was responsible for mixing ingredients for the manufacture of liquor. Empty bottles were procured from ‘kabaddi’ in Hamirpur and bottles, caps, boxes and cartons were supplied from Parwanoo. VRV Santra stickers were created by a graphic designer.

Following Seizures Were Made from Hamirpur

1. More than 6000 bottles filled with illicit liquor labelled as “VRV Fools Pvt. Ltd.”,
2. five plastic tanks (300 Its each),
3. seven boxes containing bottle caps marked “VRV foods Ltd.”,
4. nine plastic drums (50. Its each),
5. one carton containing 136 strips of labels marked “Santra, VRV Fools Pvt. Ltd.”
6. 124 sheets containing more than 2500 holograms,
7. 18 plastic tag rolls marked VRV Foods,
8. one carton containing four bottles (500 ml each)
9. one jerry cans (5 Its) containing flavour,
10. three aluminium katchhhi, two bottle sealing machines,
11. one plastic jerry can filled with coloring material for the illicit liquor,
12. 56 plastic bags filled with more than 2500 empty bottles,
13. more than 2000 empty cartons marked “VRV Foods Ltd”,
14. one bottle filling machine,
15. seven stamps marked with impression of Batch No. 61, 62 and 361; 33 distilled water plastic containers (20 Its each)

These items were seized from the illegal premises busted at Panyala village, Hamirpur. The premises was marked as “Rainbow Café”.

At the instance accused Goru, another bottling plant was located under Station Nalagarh which was subsequently raided by police in Baddi.

The suppliers of holograms, labels, cartons, used bottles, spirit, bottles caps and material for the illicit production have been identified and apprehended during searches in the neighbouring districts Kangra, Solan, Hamirpur.

According to the SIT investigation, the illicit liquor factory was operating in Hamirpur District and raw materials were procured from both within and outside the State. The police said that Gaurav Manhas appears to be the kingpin of the illegal trade. Gaurav, with the assistance of Praveen, Pushpender and Sunny from UP, was running this illegal bottling plant at Hamirpur building owned by Praveen.

In addition, the DGP informed, Manu and Gagan were his partners in the bottling plant busted under the jurisdiction of Police Station Nalagarh. Gaurav has a strong network of distributors and supply chains for raw materials and finished liquor. The racket included the following major partners:

1. Gaurav Manhas alias Goru (kingpin),
2. Praveen (owner of the building used as an illegal bottling plant)
3. Pushpender and Sunny (workers in the plant)
4. Manu and Gagan (prime suspects in Nalagarh case)

The DGP said that further investigation is underway and a clearer picture will emerge after the collection of evidence and interrogation of all accused.

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Adi Badri Dam in Himachal Pradesh to be Constructed for Rs. 215.35 crores, MoU Signed

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Adi Badri Dam in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Adi Badri Dam in Himachal Pradesh would be constructed near the Adi Badri area of Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana at Panchkula on 77 acres. Rs 215.35 crores would be spent on the rejuvenation of the Saraswati River. This is what an MoU signed by the Himachal Pradesh and Haryana Government proposes.

The HP Government claimed that Himachal Pradesh would be benefited from the project as 3.92-hectare metre water per annum would be earmarked for the state for drinking water requirement and 57.96-hectare metre for irrigation water demand of the project affected habitations.

The entire funding of the Project would be arranged by the Haryana Government. Both the Governments would be free to prepare the Tourism Projects as well as any other infrastructure facilities from their own resources, the state government said.

According to the HP Government, only 21 families of the State would be displaced and they would be properly rehabilitated. The cost of rehabilitation package for oustees and environmental protection package in accordance with prevalent policies of Himachal Pradesh as well as any other prevalent laws or any other unforeseen cost/ expenditure in this regard related to Adi Badri Dam in future would be borne by the Government of Haryana and no liability on this account would be passed on to Himachal Pradesh

The state government also claimed that on completion of this Project, River Saraswati would again come alive. Out of the total proposed area, 31.16-hectare land falls in Himachal which include 0.67-hectare private land and 30.49-hectare forest land. The Dam would get 224-hectare metre water from the Somb River of Himachal Pradesh that falls in Yamuna near Adi Badri in Yamunanagar district. The HPPCL would be executing agency for the construction of Adi Badri Dam and its related infrastructure. 

The Haryana state government said that Adi Badri Dam Construction Monitoring Committee has been constituted for planning, supervising and monitoring of Adi Badri Dam works which comprise of Additional Chief Secretary Irrigation Haryana, Secretary Jal Shakti Vibhag Himachal Pradesh, Engineer-in-Chiefs and other representatives of both States.

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