The State BJP staged a walkout over the issue of resettlement of Pong Dam oustees. BJP leaders believed that that Pong Dam oustees didn’t been rehabilitated properly despite sacrificing in national interest land and homes almost five decades ago.
The issue was raised by BJP legislator Ravinder Singh Ravi as a private member’s resolution. Dissatisfied with Agriculture and Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania’s reply, Ravi wanted to speak but the Speaker denied him the chance to do so. Then agitated Opposition stated a walkout and accused Govt of trying to muzzle their voice.
Intervening in the discussion, Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal urged the House to rise above political considerations and demand in one voice rehabilitation of oustees. He said that Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan had mostly benefited from the Pong Dam, but they were not willing to share the pain of oustees. He said that this case should be raised with the Centre so that these people get justice.
In his reply, Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania revealed that 75,268 acres in 339 villages had been acquired, 226 villages had submerged and 20,722 families had been affected. He added that 14,998 families had been declared oustees and 10,584 of those had been issued eligibility certificates. Minister claimed that Govt is making constant efforts to get land for oustees and 2,229 cases have been sent to the Rajasthan government.
BJP leader and former cabinet minister Mahender Singh raised an issue of Manali-Kullu-Nadaun Beas catchment area and sought funds for flood protection and rainwater harvesting along the river. Manali and Nadaun MLAs’ supported the issue. In reply to it, Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes said the government was sensitive about the environment and a scheme to solve this problem Govt will prepare concrete plan.