State Government would explored the possibilities of opening of a modern global University in district Kangra in the near future for which suitable land was being identified. This was revealed by Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister while addressing a public meeting at Dharamshala after he dedicated the Directorate of Horticulture building constructed at a cost of Rs. 92 lakh to the people of the State, especially to the horticulturists, on the first day of the first phase of his annual tradition of Winter Sojourn to the lower districts of the state which began from today after he was received warmly by the people of the area who erected welcome gates enroute to Dharamshala and gave him rousing reception for the visit.
Chief Minister said that the state was poised to emerge the â€˜Knowledge Hubâ€™ of the country where quality education in different disciplines would be available not only to Himachalis but students from all parts of the country. He said that the state government already had three universities and more were in the offing in association with the experienced and competent private players which could open the centres of par excellence learning in collaboration with the international universities so that degrees awards were recognised globally. He said that the state government had received a number of proposals from prominent education houses which were under active consideration of the state government.
Virbhadra Singh said that the state government was contemplating to formulate a policy for the benefit of the small and marginal farmers and extend them best assistance to make optimum use of the limited land holdings in their possession. He said that Himachal Pradesh was one of the selected few states which had implemented the Land Reforms vigorously and provided right of ownership to the tillers and alleviated their social and economic status. He said that as a result of the land reforms the state was left with no big land holdings and the additional land got vested with the tillers or the state government. He said that with the small and marginal land holdings the state farmers were making optimum utilization of the land by cultivating cash crops and diversifying their traditional cropping practices. He said that during the recent past the progressive farmers opted for cash crops, horticulture, herbiculture, floriculture and off season vegetables which was changing their farm economy for the better.
Chief Minister said that horticulture sector was contributing Rs. 1,500 crore to the State Domestic Product and 6 to 7 thousand hectares of land was being added annually to the horticulture sector as horticulturists were replacing their old root stock and carrying out new plantations on their land regularly and 20 to 25 lakhs of fruit plants were being distributed to them annually and the annual fruit production had reached 6.96 lakh metric tonnes compared to only 1,200 metric tonnes in 1950. He said that not only apple but different species of marketable fruits were being cultivated which had further strengthened the horticulture sector in the state.
Virbhadra Singh said that he had approached the Union Government to consider creation of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) like facilities at the Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra at Tanda, where the state government had invested over Rs. 350 crores on infrastructure building, machinery and equipments. He said that the college was coming up as the most prestigious medical institute in the country where best medical education and treatment facilities were being created to cater to the latest techniques available in the medical world not only to the people of the state but adjoining states as well. He said that with the adoption of the college by the Government of India the standard would further get enhanced and people benefitted immensely.
Chief Minister emphasized composite development of agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry which were directly related to the rural economy of the people. He said despite best education and other modern facilities available in the state over 90 percent of its population was directly or indirectly dependent upon for their livelihood on the agriculture and horticulture sectors. He said that the state had agrarian economy which needed boost with modern techniques. He advised the agriculture and horticulture scientists to educate farmers about the latest trends in the farming sector and deliver the benefit of their research for practical application in the fields. He said that a strong agriculture economy means strong state which required to be objective of the scientists. He said that the state government would filled up the vacant functional posts in the horticulture department so that they could carry out the promotional work in the fields more effectively.
Smt. Chandresh Kumari, local MLA welcomed the Chief Minister to her segment and thanked him for holding the Winter Session of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha at Tapovan recently which had made history and added a golden chapter. She also thanked him for announcing a developmental block for Dharamshala which was bound to give boost to rural developmental activities.