After the completion of elections process to five states, the next turn is of Himachal Pradesh waiting in the wings for which the state government is getting ready and going the whole hog either through inaugurating or stone-laying ceremonies in the run-up to the state assembly elections which are due in a year’s time. In view of the political competition for the development of the state, people who are now more vigilant, would have keen interest to know the report card of the present government. Inaugurations and stone-laying ceremonies at the near end of the tenure can’t be considered a prudent habit because it sends the message to people that such things are being done to hoodwink them with a view to creating a hype of activities for votes.
If the past experience of 2007 state assembly elections is any indication, the vigilant people could see through the political manoeuvring when the state government had announced a number of schools without budgetary allocation. But the Congress got defeated and the dead albatross hung around the P K Dhumal’s government’s neck. In order to avoiding the public wrath by closing the schools without non-budetary allocations, he continued with those schools, but by 2012 when the next elections came, the BJP government had no options but to close down about 250 non-violable schools at the risk of assembly elections’ outcome. And this decision gave a stick to Congress to beat BJP with. This was also one of the reasons, besides others, for the defeat of incumbent BJP government in 2012.
When the Virbhadra Singh government swept to power in the state in 2012, he announced that all the 249 schools closed by the BJP government had been reopened. But it was not the whole truth. Because there were not enough students in many such primary schools. Despite government decision, many schools could not be opened. In single block of Sujanpur Tihra of Hamirpur district, there are some schools which remain closed. For instance a primary school of Naglamber could not be reopened because there were only three students for five classes and two teachers.
There is no road to the school. And the road on the priority of the local MLA with budgetary allocation has been become a victim of political hara-kiri. Rival groups want to take the credit but the Nabard has turned a monkey where two cats were fighting for the credit. As the MLA of the area belongs to BJP, his every effort to start work on the raod has been sabotaged. During the last elections, the voters of the area had boycotted the Assembling elections because they feel that they have remained ignored, and the road that should have been constructed by 1990 is strill three km away from the school. Government primary school Mehlru which was catering education to the students for more than 45 years has been closed down for want of students. Education in government sechools is considered sub-standard despite the fact that there are qualified teachers. Students and their parents are preferring private.
The state roads.are in poor condition. the state government has failed to maitain the roads. Not only this, the progress of development work is at snail pace. The fate of 66-MW Dhaulasidh hydro power project is uncertain. An MoU was signed between the Centre and the state government in 2008, the work on the project is very slow. The project cost has escalated from Rs 435 crore to over Rs 800 crore. The SJVNL, which was entrusted with the commissioning of the project, had submitted its project report to the Ministry of Power in 2015. It had estimated the cost to be around Rs 853.66 crore. The Dhaulasidh project aims at generating 253.18 million units of electricity every year. The environmental clearance was accorded on February 21, 2013. Sources said the process of acquiring land for the project was still incomplete. As many as 40 villages and 427 families will be affected by the project. But the state government is heavily under debt with Rs 36,000 crore, and is still announcing the projects which need money.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has said that 1,400 ex-servicemen in the state have been provided jobs in the last four years and work was underway to complete the war museum. “A total of 1,400 ex-servicemen have been provided jobs in the last four years and Rs 5.21 crore was spent to distribute grants under different
bravery awards. The war museum in Dharamshala is being constructed at a cost of Rs 9 crore,” he said while presiding over the Ex-Servicemen Kalyan Board’s meeting .’’ A reservation of 15 per cent is, also, being given to retired soldiers, war widows and their wards in government jobs, the Chief Minister
said. The move is good but is it enough in a state? He
also said that government has opened 38 colleges in last four years. It is a good move but the government has to do something more than the routine administration which is lacking in the state.