Roads, education, health Himachal governments top priority – Urmila Singh

Shimla: Holding out roads, education and health as the top priorities of the government, Governor Urmila Singh in her opening address to the budget session that got underway here today listed out strides made in agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, hydropower development and other sectors.

She said that the social security net had been widened and now included 267,282 persons on whom the government was spending Rs 107.30 crores. Single women above the age of 45 had been brought under the social security pension scheme, she added.

Impetus had been given to Pt Deen Dyal Kisan Bagwan Samridhi Yojna, a agriculture scheme to boost farm productivity and 3.5 lakh health cards had been distributed under soil health management.

In 2010, the state had achieved a record fruit production of 10.24 lakh tons. Under the market intervention scheme, the government procured 1.11 lakh tons of apples, she said.

Weather based crop insurance schemes had been implemented for apple and mango crops and to contain hail damage, a pilot anti-hail gun project had been installed in Shimla district.

To provide free emergency medical care and transportation, the Atal Swasthya Sewa service had been started in 7 districts. The service is expected to reduce infant mortality rates and maternal mortality ratios.

Striving to be the first carbon neutral state in India, a Rs 117.37 crore Bio-carbon sub project under mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project was being implement with assistance from the World Bank.

To check forest offences, Van Thanas were being established and already 10 of them had become functional. For containing the population of monkeys, a sterilization program was being implement and already 3 special clinics had been established and another one would be made operational by March, said the governor.

Of the 1814 roads with a length of 8973 Kms to connect 3870 habitations at an estimated cost of Rs 1905 crore under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, 1269 had been completed with an cost of Rs 1151 crore and connectivity provided to 2986 habitations.

Under Bharat Nirman program, additional 266 roads of 3105 Km length have been approved for upgradation at an estimated cost of Rs 534 crores.

To make the state into an education hub, besides opening of a state technical university, 10 universities in the private sector had been opened, said Singh. Other than that a central university, and IIT at Mandi, a NIFT at Kangra had come up whereas an ESI medical college and an engineering college in the state sector was underway. The state was also among the first ones in the country to effectively implement the Right to Education, said the governor.

To tap the state hydropower potential, a total of 77 project with more than 5 MW capacity had been allotted to harness 6266 MW of power. Of the 23,560 MW of hydro potential, so far 6673 MW had been harnessed, she said.

The state had recorded an increase of 17 % rise in tourist arrival over the preceding year. In 2010 the state played host to 1.3 crore tourists of which 4.5 lakh were foreigners, said Urmila Singh.

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