SHIMLA-11 June, 2019

IPH Minister demands increase in funds under NRDWP

  • Suggests creation of National Water Supply and Irrigation Authority

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur participated in the national level conference on rural drinking water supply and water resources conservation organized by the Ministry of Water Resources at New Delhi on Tuesday.

Addressing the conference, the IPH Minister apprised the Centre about 25 percent cut in funds imposed on Himachal Pradesh under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and urged that the state should be provided ample funds under the programme. He also informed that 99 projects were proposed under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) in 2014-15 and Himachal Pradesh did not get any project and added that five detailed project reports (DPRs) were still lying pending with the Centre.

He said that parameters for hill states should be relaxed as they cannot be equated with other states where cost of execution of projects was comparatively less as compared to hills. He also apprised about the unnecessary delays caused due to Forests Conservation Act, 1980 (FCA) as most of the land in the state is forest land and delays in clearances and stringent rules were causing hindrance in implementing development projects.

IPH Minister said that interests of Himachal Pradesh were sacrificed in various developmental projects whether it was the share in electricity in BBMB or compensation for Pong dam oustees. He said that the state has sincerely contributed in the development of the country and is providing water to Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh and contribution of Himachal Pradesh for green revolution in other states cannot be denied. He urged the Centre to protect the interests of the state and provide its due share.

He also suggested creation of National Water Supply and Irrigation Authority for better monitoring and implementation of projects.

Mahender Singh Thakur said that state was making serious efforts in water conservation through rain water harvesting in middle and lower altitudes and snow harvesting structures in higher altitudes. He sought the support of Centre government for the projects in these areas which can contribute big in water conservation in the state.

He said that Himachal Pradesh is concerned about water conservation and efforts are being made to generate awareness across all the sections of the society especially in the schools. Need is being felt for serious efforts regarding generating awareness among young citizens about the importance of water, he added.

Secretary, IPH R.N. Batta accompanied the Minister during the conference.

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Monitoring Committee to review progress of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project

Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal held a review meeting with Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, an enterprise of Government of India to review Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project here today.

Chief Secretary said that the construction of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project is priority of State Government and all efforts are being ensured to complete the project as early as possible. He said that a monitoring committee under his chairmanship would be constituted to monitor the progress of the project every three months.

He said that acquisition of land falling in Himachal Pradesh in the first phase of the project has been done and compensation of Rs. 40 crore has been disbursed to affected families. He said that process of acquisition of land in six more villages has been completed and compensation will be disbursed shortly.

Chief Project Manager Rail Vikas Nigam Limited Rajeev Soni (Indian Railway Service of Engineers) said that forest clearance upto 20 kilometres has been accorded by Government of India. He requested that the forest clearance and land acquisition beyond 20 kilometres should be expedited.

He said that the contract for construction of tunnels upto 20 kilometres has already been awarded and tenders for construction of bridges would also be awarded within a week.

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Govt. planning to modernise Handicraft and Handloom sector: BK Agarwal

Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal said that State has rich heritage of handicrafts and handloom and has vast potential for employment and income generation. He said that design and colours in line with latest trends, fashion which are internationally acceptable, infusion of different handicraft skills for making products, e-marketing, brand building and tagline and attractive packaging are the areas where the State needs to focus. This can be achieved by involving local educated youth and nurture entrepreneurship among them by give handholding support, training and market opportunities by expert organization like Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.

The Chief Secretary was presiding over a review meeting of Handicraft and Handloom Corporation Limited here on Monday evening. He said this will go a long way for sustainable development of this sector as such motivated trained youth will not only guide artisans to manufacturing trendy products and its sale in national & international markets.

He discussed in detail the action plan for making this sector vibrant with Director General, Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) Rakesh Kumar and his team. He said that initially emphasis needs be given to modernize jewellery, wood carving, metal casting, metal embossing, Pullah (hemp fiber based), Kinnauri shawl, Chamba Chappal, stone carving, Lahaul hand knitted products, Kangra miniature painting, artistic pottery, patch work on umbrellas of chariots and Chamba Rumal.

BK Agarwal requested EPCH to submit a concept paper for the development of these handicrafts. The EPCH assured to submit the same immediately. After finalization of concept paper the EPCH will formulate a detailed project proposal with roadmap for the development of handicrafts & handloom. Thereafter matter would be taken with the Ministry of Textile for seeking assistance for implementation of proposal in a time bound manner.