Shimla: Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal tore through opposition congress arguments in his reply to the governors address admitting that the state had been able to cash on central schemes wherever opportunities came up but was critical that the UPA government had discriminated in release of natural calamity relief.
With no resistance from opposition benches, the vote of thanks resolution on the governors addressed stood passed by voice vote.
The state suffered rain damages worth Rs 2000 crore in 2008 and we put our case before the UPA government but nothing was given despite the Vidhan Sabha here having passed an unanimous resolution to the effect. The rail budget was presented a few days ago and Himachal does not find any mention in it. The state will continue to be critical of the UPA government wherever our interests are overlooked and we will keep raising such issue, said Dhumal.
Responding to the varied points raised by the opposition, Dhumal in his reply said that the credit for the opportunities availed which they were trying to shower on the central government did exist when there was a congress government in the state but were not pursued.
Be it establishing the IIT, a central university, ESI medical college and hospital, a National Institute of Fashion Design or including all districts under NREGA, we remain grateful to the central government, said Dhumal.
The chief minster said that the government was giving priority to agriculture sector as about 80 percent of the population lived in villages and was dependent upon farm incomes for a livelihood. Allocation of funds for agriculture sector was raised and had brought it to number 4 position from the number 5, which it held earlier, said Dhumal.
He dismissed opposition demands for further reducing transport fares, saying no state in the country had reduced them even though prices of diesel have fallen.
Fares were raised by 25 percent last April when oil prices were rising but the government on Monday announced a 10 percent reduction after the centre brought down diesel prices.
Whatever was possible has been done, he said.
Speaking about the monkey sterilization program, he said that more centres were being opened to contain the simian population but it would take time to obtain results. About providing shelters for stray cattle, Dhumal said that 42 NGO run Goshala’s were maintaining about 3,500 cows and funds had been allocated for three government Goshalas which would house about 2000 animals.
Regarding land law violations where some farmers had been rendered landless by land acquisition for industrial usage, the chief minister said that all such deals would be canceled after considering all legal implications.