Cut motions on IPH department falls through

Shimla: Failing to get opposition members to withdraw their cut motions on the demand for irrigation and public health department even after the minister Ravinder Singh Ravi made a spirited defense of the budget requirements; put to vote they were defeated by voice vote in the house.

Earlier Ravi said the 84 percent of the state’s population was being supplied with tapped water, which was considerably higher than the national average and was a in itself daunting task given the difficult terrain of the state.

He said that of the 53,205 habitation identified in the 2009 survey and only about 13,000 of these habitations, which were mostly scattered only remaining, were to be provided with potable water.

To overcome shortages, especially in summer, the department had installed 22,787 hand pumps and had set budget target of installing another 2500 in 2011-12, said the minister.

Work on two major irrigation schemes, the Shah Nehar and Balh Valley sprinkler irrigation schemes, were targeted to be completed by 2012. Besides that the government has got minor irrigation schemes worth Rs 495 Cr approved for which funding has been arranged by NABARD, he added. In 2011-12 the government proposed to bring another 7000 hectares of land under irrigation for which an budget of Rs 285.62 crore has been marked.

About a 10 percent hike in water tariffs, the minister said that it was the previous congress government that had issued such a notification, after a water policy was drafted in the year 2005.

The government had constituted a state water board and was also monitoring usage of ground water, he said.

Of the 56 urban local bodies in the state, which included 6 cantonments, the IPH department was providing water to as many as 43 bodies and had set a target of revamping the water supply system of Nahan for 2011-12.

The department would speed up preparation of detailed project reports and it was felt necessary, making of DPR’s could even be outsourced, said Ravi.

However, congress member Kaul Singh said that the opposition was unable to take back the cut motions moved as the government was discriminating in sanctioning schemes in areas which were represented by congress legislators.

Among others the cut motion was moved by Kaul Singh, Gangu Ram Musafir, Mukesh Agnihotri, Yog Raj, Prakash Chaudhary, Harshwardhan Chauhan, Surender Bhardwau, Kuldeep Singh Pathania, Rakesh Kalia and Rajesh Dharmani.

After failing to persuade the opposition lawmakers to withdraw the cut motion, speaker Tulsi Ram put them to vote which were defeated by the treasury benches and put the demand to vote that was accepted.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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