SHIMLA 27 June, 2020

Dr. Ajai Bhandari appointed as a member of HP Human Rights Commission

The Government of Himachal Pradesh, in exercise of the powers conferred under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 has appointed a retired Indian Administrative Service officer Dr. Ajai Bhandari as a member of Himachal Pradesh Human Rights Commission.

The appointment of Dr. Ajai Bhandari will be for a period of three years or till attaining the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.


Govt committed to provide quality education to students : CM

The State Government is committed to provide quality education to the students within the State with special focus on strengthening the existing educational infrastructure so that the students could get par excellence education and compete at State and national competitions according to their abilities. This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over a review meeting of Education Department here today.

The Chief Minister said that State Government has constituted HP State Higher Education Council under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) to look into overall development and growth of HEIs. He said that State Project Directorate RUSA was working to improve the access, equality and quality status of higher education in the State. He said that since the RUSA grants and funds were linked to NAAC accreditation, therefore, it leads to a healthy competition among the different colleges and would certainly motivate for NAAC accreditation.

Jai Ram Thakur said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Cluster University Mandi has been set up as per RUSA guidelines. He said that government of India has approved Rs. 55 crore for this university out of which 27.50 crore have been released to this university. He directed the officers to expedite work on it so as to facilitate the students. He said that Rs. 92 crore had been approved from 2018 under RUSA by Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India as infrastructure grants to H.P. University Shimla, infrastructure grants to 26 colleges, New Model Degree College, Lylh Kothi, district Chamba and upgradation of DAV Centenary College, Kothai and Government College Chamba.

Chief Minister said that there were 929 High schools and 1871 Senior Secondary Schools in government sector besides 138 government colleges which were imparting quality education to the students in the State. He said that Rs. 3671.95 crore had been allocated under different components in education sector for current financial year. He said that Rs. 116.37 crore capital budget had been earmarked for buildings and educational infrastructure for the year 2020-21 against budget allocation of Rs. 114.36 crore during last financial year. He said that 1171 construction works had been completed while work on 314 projects was in progress. He asked the officers to expedite the work on construction of buildings and other infrastructure in the educational institutions to facilitate the students.

Jai Ram Thakur directed the officers to implement the national flagship schemes like scholarship schemes, RUSA, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Khelo India School Games, Ek Bharat Shareshta Bharat, Bharat Scouts and Guides, Inspire Award Scheme, Atal Tinkering Labs, Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation Programme, National Disaster Management Programme, National Programme for Hostel facilities etc. in a true letter and spirit so that maximum students could be benefitted from these schemes. He said that Rs. 98.98 crore had been spent on centrally sponsored scholarship scheme during the year 2018-19.

He said that the the Education department has been ensuring maximum use of information technology for teaching students in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. He said that various modes such as Doordarshn, Radio and social media were being used to teach the students.

It was informed in the meeting that out of 194 announcements of the Chief Minister, 140 announcements had been implemented while process on 54 announcements was underway.

Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj thanked the Chief Minister for regularizing the services of about 10097 PTA, PAT and PARA teachers serving in different schools of the State. He said that with this the long pending demand had been fulfilled. He said that Himachal Pradesh had been ranked the best State by various agencies.

Secretary Education Rajeev Sharma welcomed the Chief Minister.

Director Higher Education Dr. Amarjeet Sharma and Director Elementary Education Rohit Jamwal made presentations regarding various activities of the department.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Principal Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister J.C. Sharma, Special Secretary Education Rakhil Kahlon and other senior officers were also present in the meeting.


Central Government provides 500 ventilators to Himachal Pradesh

The state government is using comprehensive preventive and remedial measures to prevent the infection of the global corona epidemic and is fully capable to deal with it. Recently, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed concern about the less availability of ventilators in a meeting held during a video conference with the Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister and urged to make ventilators available. Accepting his request, Himachal Pradesh has been provided with 500 ventilators by the Central Government, which is a matter of relief for the people of the state. Out of five hundred ventilators, two hundred have been received and three hundred are on the way and will be received in two days. State earlier had 110 ventilators, now total will be 610.

Giving this information, Additional Chief Secretary Health RD Dhiman said that there are 178 transport ventilators given by the centre and the rest are ICU ventilators, which have been given free of cost to the state government.

He told that these ventilators are being installed in all medical colleges, all district hospitals and other COVID related health institutions in the state. The medical staff is being trained to operate these ventilators. The efforts of the Health Department for the treatment of corona infected people through these ventilators provided by the Central Government will definitely give more strength and in the coming time if the cases of COVID increase then it will help in better management of serious patients.


CM directs for making elaborate arrangements for apple season

Elaborate and comprehensive arrangements must be made for transportation of apple produces so that orchardists do not face any inconvenience for taking their produce to the markets in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over a meeting here today convened to review the preparedness regarding harvesting of Apple crop during the current season.

The Chief Minister said that to facilitate the fruit growers, HPMC has empanelled 26 firms for the supply of packaging material viz. cartons, separators, trays and other allied items of different categories. About 1.20 crore cartons are ready with these firms for supply to the orchardists, he added.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the Horticulture department has tied up marketing arrangements for the growers at Aazadpur Mandi in New Delhi and Gannaur Mandi at Sonipat in Haryana. He said that controlled atmosphere stores have been identified in government and private sectors in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi having a total capacity of about 1.17 lakh metric tonnes. Besides this cold storage facility of 32000 MT is available to facilitate the horticulturists, he added.

He directed the Public Works Department to ensure proper maintenance of the roads and other linking roads in the apple growing areas to make it sure that flow of vehicular traffic was smooth. He said that law and order situation must be ensured during the apple season in the areas and asked that control room at various locations must be set up to ascertain the smooth movement of trucks, to and fro.

The Chief Minister said that the department must also hold meeting with the contractors who should further contact the labourers who had left the State to bring them back. He said that adequate arrangement must be made to facilitate them so that there was no scarcity of labourers. He said that the farmers must be motivated to avoid use of colour spray so as to slow down to season. He said that this would not only ensure good price but also help in solving the labour problem.

He said that alternative arrangement of labourers must be made. He said that if required the State Government could even consider sending buses up to even Dehradun and other places to bring Nepali labourers to the State. He said that matter should also be taken with the District Administration of bordering districts of Nepal for bring labour to the State. He said that steps must be taken in organised to ensure that the horticulturists do not suffer due to want of labour.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the farmers of the state would get remunerative price of their produce as this year the import of apple from other countries would not be possible this year due to COVID-19 crisis. He said that only thing required was foolproof arrangements for transportation of apple to the market. He said that mechanism must be developed to bring labour from different parts of the State to the apple growing areas. This would not only reduce the over dependency of growers on Nepali labour, but also facilitate the horticulturists, he added.

He said that APMC will facilitate the movement of agricultural market functionaries and concerned District Magistrates would issue them transit passes. He said that APMC should ensure installations of CCTV cameras at all Mandis as well as individual yards.

Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that horticulture industry accounts for about Rs 5000 crore per annum. He said that about 5.83 lakh MT Apple production was expected during the current Apple season. He said that the State Government has increased the support price of the apple under the Market Intervention Scheme from Rs 8 to Rs 8.50 per kg. The State Government has also launched KUSHY Scheme for providing incentives for construction of Anti Hail Net Structure in the State.

Chief Whip Narender Bragta thanked the Chief Minister for envisaging keen interest in ensuring that the horticulturists do not face problem in marketing of their produce. He also urged the Chief Minister for adequate arrangement for transportation of produce and also for ensuring adequate arrangement for labour. He said that efforts must be made to provide alternative labour from Sirmaur, Chamba districts etc. He also felt the need to deploy adequate police force in market yards to maintain social distancing.

Chairman HIMFED Ganesh Dutt said that Jawans of Home Guards should be deployed in collection and procurement centres established by the Government for procurement of Apple.

Director Horticulture Dr. M.M. Sharma, made a detailed presentation on the occasion regarding preparation of the department to properly market Apple in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Agriculture Minister Dr. Ramlal Markanda, Transport Minister Govind Thakur, Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister J.C. Sharma, Principal Secretary Onkar Sharma, Principal Secretary K.K. Pant, Secretary Horticulture Amitabh Awasthi, MD HPMC Debasweta Banik, Special Secretary Agriculture Rakesh Kanwar, Director Information and Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon and other officers attended the meeting.


CM addresses virtual rallies of Yuva Morcha Solan and Dehra

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while addressing virtual rallies of Yuva Morcha Solan and Yuva Morcha Dehra of Kangra district from Shimla today said that the youth of the State played a pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic in providing food, masks and other essential items to the people. He also urged the youth of Yuva Morcha to come forward in effectively disseminating the policies and programmes of the Centre and State Governments.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the youth also helped the Government in sensitizing the people regarding importance of social distancing in checking the pandemic. He said that the youth also played a crucial role in ensuring that the people do no jump home quarantine. He said that the State Government took all preventive measures to check spread of this virus. He said that one stage the State was about to become Corona free but due to arrival of over 2 lakh Himachalis stranded in different parts of the country, there was sharp increase in number of COVID-19 positive patients. He said that people of the State need not worry as all the people coming to State were being allowed to go home only after their proper testing.

Chief Minister said that the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced by the Union Government would go a long way in reviving the economy of the country. He said that free gas connections have been provided to 2.76 lakh families under State Scheme Ghirini Suvidha Yojna and 1.36 lakh connections under Ujjawala Yojna. He said that Rs 500 each have been deposited in the accounts of 5.90 lakh eligible women under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna during the month of April, May and June, 2020.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the people of the State were fortunate to have a visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that it was due his farsighted decisions and timely initiatives that COVID-19 cases were not so alarming in the country. He said that there were about 24 COVID-19 cases in the country per lakh population as compared to 656 per lakh in US and 622 per lakh in Spain. Similarly, the death rate due to COVID-19 in India was 0.70 per lakh population as compared to 61 deaths per lakh in US.

Chief Minister said that the BJP Government at Centre has completed one year in office recently and this one year has been witness to several historic decisions. He said that abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, abolition of Triple Talaq, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and paving way for construction of Lord Ram temple at Ahodhya were a few decisions which were long pending and now fulfilled.

Industries Minister Bikram Singh congratulated the Yuva Morcha Dehra for successfully organising the virtual rally. He said that youth of the Yuva Morcha have played a vital role during the COVID-19 epidemic. He said that they have contributed generously towards HP SDMA COVID-19 State Disaster Response Fund and PM CAREs besides distributing face masks and sanitizers to the people. He also thanked the Chief Minister for effectively tackling the COVID-19 situation in the State. He said that Chief Minister has launched several schemes for the welfare of every section of the society.

State President Yuva Morcha Amit Thakur welcomed the Chief Minister on the occasion and said that the youth of the State were rock solid behind the State Government.

Horticulture and Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, Transport Minister Govind Thakur and Senior BJP leader Randhir Sharma were present with the Chief Minister at Shimla.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. Rajiv Saizal, MLA Paramjit Singh Pammi, General Secretary BJP Trilok Jamwal, State BJP Vice President Purushotam Gularia, Vice Chairman Khadi Board Sanjiv Katwal, Vice Chairman Water Management Board Darshan Singh Saini attended the virtual rally.