Himachal Pradesh today celebrated its 47th Statehood Day. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, while presiding over the function at Dhalpur Maidan of Kullu, stressed upon unity, integrity and brotherhood and credited the unprecedented development of the State to its hardworking people and also to the leadership provided by successive Congress governments at the Centre and the State.
“With the blessings and affection of the people of the State, I have been fortunate to serve the State as the Chief Minister for sixth time”, he said adding that the endeavour of his government had been to ensure a transparent, responsive and efficient administration for welfare of the people.
The Chief Minister said that 25th January was a historical day for the people of Himachal Pradesh as it was that very day that the Himachal got hard earned Statehood status due to efforts of the then Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi and the first Chief Minister of the State late Dr. Y. S. Parmar in 1971.
Listing developments of the present government, the Chief Minister said that during the last four years, nine SDM offices, 14 tehsils and 29 sub-tehsils were opened in the State giving much required fillip to the development. Besides, to ensure equitable development of the State Dharamshala had been declared as the second capital of the State.
During the last four years as many as 44,300 jobs in government sector and around 27000 jobs in private sector were provided. As many as 39,000 jobs had been given by HP Public Service Commission alone.
He said that Rs. 500 crore Skill Development Allowance Scheme was being implemented for skill development of unemployed youth. Under this scheme, allowance of Rs. 1000 per month was being provided to unemployed youth and Rs. 1500 to youth with special abilities. As many as 1.52 lakh youth had so far been benefitted under the scheme. In addition to this, Asian Development Bank aided Rs.640 crore, Skill Development Corporation had been set up with a targeted employment to 65 thousand youths after providing them training in the first phase.
Virbhadra Singh cautioned to be aware of those forces which create rift amongst the people on basis of region and religion, though the people of the State were wise enough to understand the tactics of such selfish elements. “We should stay united at all cost and then only, we can be proud of ourselves”, he said adding that we should not allow the divisive policies of religion and regions to hinder the growth and development of the Nation”.
He said that India had always extended its helping hand towards its neighbours so as to ensure peace and prosperity and today, there was a need to crush the divisive forces who try to disintegrate the Nation. He said that the future generation should be committed for the strengthening the Nation as a whole besides preserving the Indian culture and customs. We should not forget our culture, our language, our traditions, as this was the development of an individual in real sense, said Virbhadra Singh.
The Chief Minister said that welfare of common man had been the central theme of the policies of the State Government. The Social security pension had been enhanced from Rs 450 to Rs 650 per month, persons above 80 years of age were being provided social security pension at the rate Rs 1,200 per month irrespective of their income. At present 3,87,000 eligible persons were being provided social security pension, he added.
Apart from this, Himachal Pradesh had been ranked the first amongst Big States in field of education and inclusive development in a recent survey, said the Chief Minister.
He said that Himachal Pradesh had progressed in every sphere, be it education, health, roads etc. As many as 1329 new schools had been opened or upgraded and 42 new degree colleges had been opened in rural and far flung areas of the State during the last four years, taking the total strength of colleges to 116, which had benefitted the girl child the most, in far flung areas, he said, adding that he feels happy to see the strength of girl child more in the colleges opened in remote belts of the State.
As of today, there were more than 37000 kilometres of road network in the State, he said, adding that efforts were on to connect every village with motor-able road facility. During last four years, 1721 kilometres new roads and around 180 bridges were constructed while under NABARD, 301 new road projects had been given approval, he added.
He said more than 168 health institutions had been opened in the state, besides three medical colleges were coming up at Chamba, Hamirpur including the one at Nahan which had already started functioning. The government had taken up ESIC Medical College at Ner Chowk in Mandi and Indian Institute of Management was coming up at Dhaulakuan in Sirmaur and Indian Institute of Technology functioning at Kamand in Mandi.
In a special reference to Kullu, the Chief Minister said that Kullu was world famous because of its rich cultural heritage and the people of Kullu have conserved its customs and traditions. Kullu was known as ‘Dev Bhoomi’ and the people had unflinching faith in local deities and these traditions should be passed over to the future generations, he said.
Earlier, the Chief Minister hoisted the National Flag and took salute from the impressive march past by contingents of Police, Home-guards, NCC cadets and school Children.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Puneet Raghu, led the Parade.
A colourful cultural presentation was presented by the cultural troupes of different districts and school children besides tableaux highlighting achievements of various departments of the district, particularly that of Forest, District Rural Development Agency, Language Art and Culture, Agriculture department, Health, Horticulture, Skill development etc.