An open debate on coming poll in Himachal

The poll scene in state is getting hot after the announcements of candidates by all political parties for 65 seats going to polls in second phase on December 19. The parties are currently engaged in wooing voters with their own sets of formulas and propagandas mainly either by criticizing each other or talking about good things needed to be done for state welfare.

However here is an effort to peep inside the hearts of common Himachalis about what they expect from coming government, how they rate previous successive governments and what they think is the need of the hour to improve the state socially and economically.

The responses are from all over of state and as well as few from Himachali NRIs. While NRIs are more believers to see state as IT destination and far better on infrastructure quality however those residing in state have their own concerns towards better education and employment opportunities. They want the thinking leaders who should be capable to take state on growth path. Here are some of the responses:

Ms. Praveen Chaudhary says, the state government should device the measures to insure cent percent literacy in state. The reforms should penetrate in the rural areas. In the world of information technology (IT), the state should have enough of engineering colleges. We must revive the policy on IT in the state so that more companies can come to state.

She questions, why can’t our MLAs and politicians visit states like Karnataka (Bangalore city in particular) and Hyderabad and see how the state government there are attracting this big multinationals in IT segment to open and establish new operations.

Unlike mechanical and chemical industry the IT industry is safer towards the environment and also salaries are high. I am sure that more Himachalis working in such industry will give rise to better quality of life in the state. The state in turn will benefit from the revenue earned via taxes, concludes Ms. Chaudhary.

However Mr. Sanjay Sharma has some different views. He states: I don’t think they need to visit Bangalore or any other state or city rather to develop the IT sector in HP. What they need right now is to hard sell the facilities available in state like availability of uninterrupted power supply.

What can be a bigger joke than the fact that even after utilizing all the state resources, the Shannan hydro power project in Jogender Nagar of Mandi sitrict is still under Punjab control, he points out. To get our rightful resources, we are waiting for an election to raise it as an issue, just for the political mileage and I am pretty sure that once the election is over, the issue would be a thing of past, he maintains .

The two narrow gauge railway tracks in state have not moved even an inch beyond the point the British left country. Even the trains in these routs are not well kept. The engines plying on these routes are giving away every now and then at just any place leaving the passengers at the mercy of the nature, he adds.

Mr. Vinay Jamwal feels, we need someone who understands both politics and economics. We have seen that the old leadership of both Congress and BJP is plagued with same issue of non-vision, nepotism and corruption. I understand that it can not be done in one-shot but at least we should make some-effort for the change.

It is quite similar to the fact that if a company is driven by a CEO who is corrupt and only has vision for himself rather than company as a whole, then that company is surely going to go-down. And as a stakeholder it’s our duty to bring down the change in top-leadership.

It’s not a case of having software industry, and it’s not a case of having just good roads, we could have been so many things like a major industrial power and a major tourist spot. The state is almost on the verge of economics bankruptcy because of our leadership. I still can not believe the fact that even after 50 years of Independence and 35 years of HP creation we don’t have a broad-gauge rail line to our state or at least to few major destinations from Delhi. This is how strong is our leadership, who can not get even one thing from centre.

If we don’t take such corrective steps right now, forget about being software giant, we might end being a bimaru (ill) state, fears Mr. Jamwal.

Dr. Laji and Dr. Sheila Varghese focus on the need to work together for school education betterment. Every body wants their children to have good education. Good education presupposes good, enthusiastic and creative teachers. We need to have good teachers training collages where we can train good quality teachers.

Unless we improve this aspect of our social need, yes we will have literate youth but not creative youth. Why should children have to go to Chandigrah for secondary education? Why can’t we have coaching classes in HP. Most of the Children who go out side HP are from Mandi, Kangra and those districts closer to Chandigrah.

Avnish Katoch who resides in USA says, in my views a right consultant with right marketing skills is required by the state government. I think government machinery lacks right individual to market the state’s potential. The electricity cuts are daily, for hours. And then we say state has great hydro electricity generation potential. Now some of you might say cuts are irrelevant since HP sells power to other states and at the same time keeps less for own consumption. But then think about a teenager or educated youth of the state, who would like to start may be an Internet cafe, if power is not there and good speed of internet is not there, he would do that in Chandigarh, rather in Dharamsala.

The politicians need to take popular decisions, I understand, but development, job growth is always popular, whoever will do get voted! But the political and regional issues are major reasons behind lack of growth in certain areas.

Even for studies most of Himachalis has to go out of state, because there was only one REC and one Medical college. In Karnataka there are more than 17000 colleges.

Suresh Rana won the Great Himalayan rally this year, by beating contestants from all over India. In para/hang gliding, top slots saw names of Himachalis in all pre-world cups. Take river rafting in Kullu valley or hiking, our youths are doing wonders, communication, no issues, planning no issues. Last winter Olympics, whether India won or not, all contestants got trained in Manali, now that’s potential.

So it proves potential is there and youths do carry capabilities but right planning is nowhere. Vijay Singh won much Gold in shooting because he is in army. And many of you are already working in top IT and other industrial sectors and are real force!

1980s is the decade when para/hang gliding started in Bir and Billing area, till date HP government has no sponsors, remarks Avnish with a sad note.

According to Anuj Handa, Mandi town in 70’s could pose of maximum technocrats (Docs and Enggs) in state across all levels. They came out of best institutes in the country. But still they were not able to convenience the political system to have one medical & engineering college in Mandi. The medical college which was opened in Shimla was supposed to be opened in Mandi town but our politicians wanted otherwise! Our state surely could have two.

Says Mr. Handa, when I gave my Medical entrance in 1992 there were just 30 Open seats in our medical college in Shimla. The percentage to get into our college was about 75%. In state like Karnataka and Punjab a person with 55% marks could have become a doctor from a government college. Lets leave private colleges aside.

Mr. Vineet Chauhan says, in apple belt the farmers have organized themselves by forming co-operatives to manage their affairs with out any help from the Govt.

Had the successive state government been more proactive, responsive and imaginative this region would have been on par with the best in India. But if you go around and see the state of the basic infrastructure (health, education and employment) it is in shambles perhaps worse than the rest of the state.

The politics in Himachal revolves around the cronies or middlemen, in the garb of political workers they will often be contractors, some government servants who have vested interests become active during the election time and virtually hijack the agenda or rather set it and average electorate is hoodwinked with the promise of a Rs.2000/- contract job, a favour here or there no body talks or care about the policies and this way entire electoral political drama is played out.

In my view the politicians should be made to understand that better our state become economically it will be better for them, perhaps they will understand and let the state be managed by the professionals to make it more economically vibrant so that they can make merry and average person can also eke out a decent living on the sly, suggests Mr. Chauhan.

4 Comments

  • Regarding the reference to hang gliding starting in the ’80s, there was a young Englishman, Neil Kinnear, who taught in Dharamsala and flew gliders from there in the early ’80s.

    In 1984, the Indian government hired me to come over and organize an international hang gliding tournament. A travel agent named Pahvi Sarin and his brother in Palampur were the local contacts. Bir, in fact, was the launch point. We had 5 national champions and the then world distance record holder competing.
    We had material sponsorship from corporations like Motorola, local hotels, etc., but little cash. The area is such a good place to fly hang gliders, I’m surprised the sport never took off (so to speak). Perhaps it is due to the expense and difficulty of getting there.

  • Air Deccan has already started flight to Kangra ( 4 days a week). Check yatra.com or any other Indian travel site.

  • State should be IT destination, say Himachalis
    Jagmeet Y. Ghuman

    Kumarhatti, December 23
    In an effort to peep inside the hearts of Himachalis, a NRI NGO, held an open debate here recently, in which people from all over state took part. Those who participated in the debate were keen to see the state as a major IT destination.

    Praveen Chaudhary said, the state government should device measures to insure cent per cent literacy in the state, particularly in the rural areas. The state should have enough engineering colleges which has IT as the main discipline.

    Sanjay Sharma had different views. He said, “I don’t think our MLAs and politicians need to visit Bangalore or any other state or city to develop IT sector in the state, what they need right now is to hard sell the facilities available in state like availability of uninterrupted power supply.

    Vinay Jamwal feels, “We need someone who understands both politics and economics. We have seen that the old leadership of both the Congress and the BJP is plagued with same issue of non-vision, nepotism and corruption. I understand that it can not be done in one-shot but at least we should make some-effort for the change. It is quite similar to the fact that if a company is driven by a CEO who is corrupt and only has vision for himself rather than company as a whole, then that company is surely going to go-down. And as a stakeholder it’s our duty to bring change in the top-leadership.”

    “The state is almost on the verge of economics bankruptcy because of our leadership. I still can not believe the fact that even after 50 years of Independence and 35 years of the state creation we don’t have a broad-gauge rail line in our state. This is how strong our leadership is. If we don’t take such corrective steps right now, forget about being software giant, we might end being a bimaru (ill) state”, fears Jamwal.

    Avnish Katcoh says, in my views a right consultant with right marketing skills is required by the state government. I think government machinery lacks right individual to market the state’s potential.” “The politicians need to take popular decisions, I understand, but development, job growth is always popular, whoever will do that will get voted. But the political and regional issues are major reasons behind lack of growth in certain areas.

    Vineet Chauhan said, in the apple belt the farmers had organised themselves by forming co-operatives to manage their affairs with out any help from the government. Had the successive state government been more proactive, responsive and imaginative, this region would have been on par with the best in India. But the basic infrastructure here (health, education and employment) was in shambles perhaps worse than other states.

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