SHIMLA-2nd June, 2023-While addressing a well attended gathering at Circuit House, Rohru in district Shimla, Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that surveys would be conducted for construction of Kotkhai-Hatkoti underneath Kharapatthar and Dodra-Kwar tunnels, which would go a long way facilitating the people of these areas. He said that efforts would be made to connect Kwar with Uttarakhand and also announced to open Adarsh Health Institute in Rohru. This was his maiden visit to Rohru after assuming the office of the Chief Minster.

The Chief Minister reiterated that the exploitation of apple orchardists by middle men would not be tolerated. A provision of Rs 100 crore has been made in the current budget for setting up 10 Cold Atmosphere (CA) stores in the State and tendering process is underway. Measures are also being taken to ensure remunerative prices for rotten apples to the growers, he said.

The present Congress Government has fulfilled its promise as made in its election manifesto of providing the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) to Government employees and efforts were being made to get back approximately Rs.9000 crore of National Pension Scheme (NPS), as deposited with the central government, said the Chief Minister. He demanded 30 percent share from the Central Government in hydro power projects set up in the State which does not have any sort of debt liabilities.

The Chief Minister said that the State government has launched Sukh-Ashray Yojana for 6000 orphan children and will provide all support to them until they reach the age of 27 years. The government will also cover their higher education expenses, besides providing pocket money of Rs 4,000 per month and arrange for annual exposure visits. He said that Himachal Pradesh has become the first State in the country to grant legal rights to orphans and has adopted them as the 'Children of the State'. He said that widows and single women would also be provided financial assistance of Rs 1.5 lakh to construct their houses. Education loan would also be made available to meritorious students of economically weaker sections at one percent interest rate to ensure that no one is deprived of education due to financial constraints, reiterated the Chief Minister.

He emphasized for coordinated efforts to make Himachal Pradesh a Green Energy State, adding that the present Government was meticulously working in this direction to meet the target of Green and Clean State by March 2026. To promote this, a 50 percent subsidy will be provided by the government to the youth for the purchase of e-buses, e-trucks, and e-taxis. This initiative aims to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions in the State, he added.

The State government is taking significant steps to revamp the system and financial discipline was being ensured, he said and the paucity of funds would not be a hindrance in the path of development.

Earlier, the Chief Minister was accorded a warm welcome by the local residents on his arrival at Rohru.

Education Minister Rohit Thakur lauded the Chief Minister's ground-level approach for governance and welcomed the endeavours made by the State Government to facilitate the apple growers. He said that Himachal Pradesh did not receive any assistance from the Central Government in the past five years thereby pushing the State into financial debacle. He lauded the efforts of the Chief Minister for giving sanction to fill up 6000 posts of teachers in the education department which would go a long way in meeting the shortage of teachers.

He said that Shimla Municipal Corporation had given massive mandate in favour of Congress Party which is vindication of policies and programmes of the State Government being implemented in the State.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mohan Lal Brakta acknowledged the Chief Minister's positive decisions for the state, despite inheriting a loan of Rs 75,000 crore from the previous government. He said that the development of Rohru had come to a standstill in the last five years of the previous BJP government and the residents of the area have high hopes from the present government.

Health Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil, MLA, Yadvinder Goma, former MLA Chiranji Lal, OSD to Chief Minister, Ritesh Kapret, Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Cooperative Bank, Devendra Shyam, Vice Chairman Zilla Parishad, Shimla Surendra Retka, Senior Congress leaders Devendra Busheri, Arun Sharma, were also present amongst others.