Shimla: The Himachal cabinet succumbed to pressure from private universities and engineering colleges for relaxing admission norms, decided to go for fresh bidding for mega hydropower project, enhanced old age pensions by Rs 100 for ex-servicemen, and cancelled a proposal for setting up a medical college for not sticking to implementation time schedules.
Chaired by chief minister Virbhadra Singh, the cabinet decided to grant a onetime relaxation to Private Universities and Engineering Institutions for giving admission to B.Tech courses for the 2013-14 session on the basis of qualifying examinations.
However the cabinet put a rider that the candidate to be admitted must have secured 65 per cent marks in Physics, Maths and one of the subjects from Chemistry, Bio-Technology, Computer Science or Biology.
Earlier the government had outlined scores secured in the joint engineering examinations (JEE) to be the basis for providing admissions in state engineering institutes.
With the 960 MW Jangi Thopan Powari project on Satluj River having fallen behind schedule, the cabinet decided to go for rebidding to allot the hydropower project. Earlier the project was allotted to a Dutch company Brakel Corporation but got mired in litigation after Reliance Power took the matter to court.
Though the case is still pending before the Supreme Court, but the court has not barred the state from inviting bids towards fresh allotment of the project. Earlier the project was given to the company that offered the highest per megawatt upfront money and funds to the tune of over Rs 200 Cr paid to the state government are lying locked up in the case.
The project is billed to cost about Rs 9000 Cr (about US $ 2 billion).
Old age pension for ex-servicemen was increased from Rs 400 to 500 per month by the cabinet.
Cabinet gave its approval for creating 7750 lowly paid jobs of Rs 850 monthly honorarium in the health department as ASHA workers under National Rural Health Mission.
Letter of intent issued to Vocational Education Foundation for setting up of Medical College at Hamirpur was cancelled by the cabinet as the foundation had failed to establish the college for three years. Other organizations that had proposed to establish medical colleges but have failed to do so are to be served show cause notices on the cabinet directions.
Bar for creamy layer was raised from Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh annual income for other backward classes by the cabinet.
For the e-Panchayat project the cabinet decided to outsource technical manpower to NIELIT (DOEACC SOCIETY).
Students from Himachal who have secured admission in IITs, AIIMS and IIMs would be provided Rs 75,000 on time incentive for pursuing the courses selected for.
Nepalese who had completed 8 years of service in Public Works Department by March, 2004, have been permitted for regularization in government service by the cabinet.
To secure the 7.19 percent arrears from Bhakra Nangal Beas Project management, the cabinet decided to contest the due claims before the Supreme Court.
Share capital of HP Power Corporation Ltd was increased from Rs 1000 Cr to 1500 Cr by the cabinet.
Gallantry award winners were permitted free travel facilities in Himachal Roadways buses.
The cabinet approved changes in location and capacity enhancement for 2 MW Sarwari III and 5 MW Soldan Small hydro power projects.
On recommendations from State Punishment Order Review Board, the cabinet approved pre-mature release of 6 prisoners undergoing life imprisonment.
Cadre of block development officers in rural development department was increased from 85 to 113; in HP state legal service authority 14 clerical posts were created; a new post of professor in pediatrics at IGMC, Shimla was approved; it was decided to fill 90 posts of veterinary officers (45 this financial year and the rest in the next one); 33 vacant ayurvedic pharmacists posts reserved for ex-servicemen would be filled on contract basis, 25 posts in town and country planning are to be filled on contract basis; and approval was given by cabinet to absorb 90 animal husbandry assistants against veterinary pharmacists positions on contract basis.
Approval was granted for starting second phase of Integrated Cooperative Development Projects (ICDPs) in Kangra, Kullu and Shimla districts by recommending it to the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).