Cabinet Kicks Off With Idealist Note Of Bringing About Transparency

Shimla: Starting off with a note of introducing transparency in the functioning of the new government, the cabinet at its first meeting bypassing the states power policy today decided to allot all power projects with generation capacity of over 5 MW through the competitive bidding route.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, briefing media persons after the cabinet meet said “everything being equal, the projects with a generation capacity of 5 to 100 MW, would now be given to bidders who offer the highest upfront money.”

He said “the cabinet at the outset took this decision to bring about transparency in the system as there have doubts cast over the memorandum of understanding route which the earlier government had adopted for this category.”

Talking about the power crisis being faced by the state, Dhumal said, to tide over the problem power was being purchased from other states which included Chattisgarh, Gujarat and others. Initially there was a shortfall of about 4.5 million units but the governments efforts had been able to secure additional 1.2 to 1.5 million units.

He said that while the industry would continue to face cuts till the power situation improves, the domestic consumer would be supplied uninterrupted power in the evening hours.

“The government was purchasing power as high as Rs 8.70 per unit and was supplying some domestic consumers at Rs 0.70 per unit,” said Dhumal. There was a shortfall of about 3000 MW because of fall in hydro generation which had caused the power crisis, he added

Other decisions taken by the cabinet included changing recruitment rules for doctors, engineer and other technocrats. To give equal weightage to experience and new talent, the new recruitment system would induct 50 percent of qualified people in these categories thorough seniority and the other half thorough open competition.

Another cabinet decision pertained to hiking the procurement prices of citrus fruits under the government market intervention scheme by 50 paisa for all grades. The price for apple had been hiked by the government earlier and this was now being done for the citrus fruits, said Dhumal.

The meet also paved the way for holding the first session of the 11th Assembly at Dharmshala and also approved the governor’s address for it.

The cabinet also endorsed the chief ministers’ announcements of declaring Bhia Dhooj and Rakhi as holidays for women as well as the hike in social pension grant and daily wages.

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