The Congress staged a walkout from the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Wednesday as Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said during his reply to Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar’s address that the previous dispensation took more loan compared his government. Chief Minister Thakur stated that loan on Himachal Pradesh during the previous Congress government grew by 67 percent, whereas the corresponding number during the current government is 32 percent despite the fact that the Covid pandemic hit the economy badly.
Himachal Pradesh is currently facing a debt burden of Rs 63,200 crore, he added. Thakur stated that the state’s debt burden was about Rs 48,000 crore till the 2017-18 financial year. The previous Congress government had taken a loan of Rs 28,707 crore from 2012-13 to 2017-18 during its five years tenure, he added.
Thakur alleged that the previous Congress government had not started any major welfare scheme for the public whereas the current dispensation initiated several schemes including reducing the age for old-age pension from 80 to 70 years. The chief minister said the state government decided to confiscate the property of those involved in illegal mining. Talking about the Jan Manch programme launched by the current government, Thakur said that a total of 83,478 public grievances were addressed at people’s doorsteps during 242 Jan Manch programmes. The CM stated that unemployment is being faced by every state. However, 2,131 people have set up their own businesses under the Mukhyamantri Swabhavlamban Yojna by investing 100 crores n the state, generating employment for themselves and also providing jobs to several others.
Further as many as 18,218 people have been helped under the Mukhyamantri Sahara Yojna, he added. Over 20,000 stray cattle have been given shelter by opening new gau sedans and cow sanctuaries in the state as compared to just 6,000 during the previous Congress government, he added. Himachal is the only state where a gas connection has been provided to every household, he added. The chief minister informed the House during his reply that 108 Himachlalis have been safely evacuated from Ukraine to India so far. Now there is no Himachali student in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, however some are still stuck in Kharkiv where an Indian student from Karnataka was killed, Thakur added. Stating that he interacted through video call with the stuck students and their parents, Thakur said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was maing every possible effort for their evacuation.
Earlier participating in the discussion, the Congress legislator Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu alleged that the Central government failed to evacuate Indian students from Ukraine on time. He said that about 10-11 Himachal Pradesh students are still stuck in Kharkiv. Chief Minister Thakur further informed the state assembly that the number of casualties in the explosion at the illegal firecracker factory at Una has risen to 11.
Main accused Rohit Puri was arrested from Mumbai on Wednesday by the special investigation team (SIT) headed by DIG Sumedha Dwivedi, Thakur informed the House. On the day of explosion on February 22, six migrant workers had been killed and 14 others sustained burn injuries in the explosion. Later five more people succumbed to the burn injuries.
Earlier, the factory manager Deepak Kumar Rana was arrested on February 23. A total of 41 legislators including 20 from the ruling, 19 from Congress and one each from CPIM and independent MLA participated in over 15.30 hours discussion on the governor’s address.