New Delhi: Stressing the need to make Zonal Councils more effective and relevant in a changed economic scenario, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that keeping in view their significant role in understanding and redressing common issues of neighbouring States, these Councils must meet more regularly.
In the 27th meeting of Northern Zonal Council organized at New Delhi, today under the Chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Himachal Pradesh hosted this meeting and Virbhadra Singh attended it as the Vice-Chairman of the Council.
The Chief Minister categorically raised the issue of resettlement of remaining oustees of Pong Dam with the government of Rajasthan. He apprised that due to the construction of the Pong Dam in the year 1961, about 339 villages of Dehra and Nurpur Tehsils of Kangra district were immersed, resulting into displacement of as many as 20,722 families. Despite concerted efforts of Himachal government for last fifty years, 2501 families still remained to be settled as per the rehabilitation plan. He emphasized that this important matter must be accorded top priority and it should be settled in a time bound manner.
He also expressed concern over the import of apple into the country and urged to raise import duty on apple on priority or notify apple as a special product. Virbhadra Singh also raised the issue of providing subsidized helicopter services in the State on the pattern of north-eastern States.
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Dr. Nirmal Singh, Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, officiating Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh Vineet Chaudhary, Additional Chief Secretary V.C. Pharka, Principal Secretary, Finance, Dr. Srikant Baldi, Secretary GAD, Mohan Chauhan, Additional Secretary, GAD, Dr. Ashwani Sharma were also presented at the meeting.