Cabinet nod to Ski village project

LTC, hike in TA, DA get approval
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 25
The Himachal Cabinet today gave its nod for signing the implementation agreement for the controversial Himalayan Ski village project which has been facing stiff opposition from the BJP and the local village gods of the Kulu valley.

The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister, approved the draft agreement with certain modifications. The agreement was held up as the company, which is setting up the project, wanted exemption under the Tenancy and Land Reform Act under which land and built-up property could not be sold to non-agriculturists.

However, several ministers had reservation on the issue and they were not in favour of granting exemption to the company. While the government refused to give any details regarding the exemption, sources said the company would be allowed to give houses on long lease and rental basis, subject to certain conditions.

The company would prepare and implement a complete environment management plan and respect all traditional rights of the local people pertaining to grazing and utilisation of forest resources. It would use local water resources only with the consent of the local panchayat.

The Cabinet also decided to enhance the travelling allowance, daily allowance and transfer grant by 50 per cent and hotel rent by 100 per cent for the government employees. The minimum daily allowance would be Rs 48 instead of Rs 32 and maximum Rs 180 instead of Rs 120.

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman would be entitled to Rs 6 per km instead of the existing rate of Rs 2 per km outside the state and Rs 2.50 per km within the state and their daily allowance had also been enhanced to Rs 200 per day from Rs 150 per day.

The non-official members of various committee would also be entitled for reimbursement at the rate of Rs 6 per km reimbursement instead of the existing Rs 3 per km outside the state and Rs 3.50 per km within the state. Their daily allowance had been increased to Rs 180 from the existing Rs 120, bringing it at par with the highest officer of the state government.

The conveyance allowance was increased from Rs 20 per day to Rs 30 per day. The total financial liability would be approximately of Rs 10 crore per annum.

The cabinet also approved Leave Travel Concession facility (LTC) for Bharat Darshan to those government employees who are left with four years or less service for superannuation and also approved 100 per cent increase in the Tribal and Winter Allowance of the employees serving in the tribal areas of the state.

A proposal for enactment of the Himachal Pradesh Societies Registration Act by repealing Registration Act, 1860, and was approved.

The Cabinet also approved the mechanism to be adopted by the gram panchayats to collect tax on minor minerals. The panchayats will be authorised to charge Rs 10 per truck and Rs 5 per trolley on extraction and export of sand, stone and bajri in their area and Rs 50 per truck on slates. The step is likely to benefit the gram panchayats in generating their sources of income.

As per another decision, the upper limit for tendering had been waived for “A Class” contractors . In case of “B-Class” contractors, the upper limit would be Rs. 1 crore, “C-Class” Rs 40 lakh and “D-Class” Rs 10 lakh.

The Cabinet approved the amendment in the Himachal Pradesh Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules, 1974, to effect penalty of 25 per cent on delayed payment of the tax.

It also approved the “Himachal Pradesh Medicinal Plants Policy-2006” to exploit and promote the herbal potential of the state by 2025.

Other decision included creation of a new irrigation and public health division at Nainidhar in Sirmour and continuation of services of 10 junior engineers appointed on a contract basis in the department for four years, nod to absorption of employees of the state Handicrafts and Handlooms Corporation on secondment basis in the Department of Industries against the vacant posts of class-III and IV and clear the backlog of six posts of class IV posts reserved for handicapped persons in the Forest Department through direct recruitment.

An IT professional for 17 years, based in the US since the last 12 years. Founded NGO My Himachal and then Himachal Media Pvt. Ltd.. A Himachali forever. Always trying to bring together people whose hearts beat for the state.

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