Industry minister Mukesh Agnihotri has ridiculed former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's recent statement, wherein the latter had said soon after the BJP-led NDA combine comes to power at the Centre during the coming general elections, the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh too would be ousted.
Addressing a public meeting at Kungrat village of his home segment Haroli, he advised Dhumal to first introspect the reasons for the humiliating defeat of the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections.
The minister said people of the state had already given their verdict on the non-performance of the Dhumal government and that the achievements of the BJP MPs in Himachal Pradesh too have been largely wanting.
He complained that the BJP government had only added to the burden on the state's exchequer in terms of a debt trap of over Rs. 30,000 crore. He said a number of conspiracies were hatched against chief minister Virbhadra Singh during the BJP regime, but the people of the state have stood beside the statesman as a rock.
Agnihotri accused Dhumal of making attempts to divert the attention of the masses from the real issues instead of lending the role of a constructive opposition. “The former CM is making unnecessary hue and cry over the issue of changing the nomenclature of some union government sponsored schemes,” he said, adding that the precedent was started when he was the CM.
Arguing that while the BJP referred to Dhumal as the architect of the modern road network in the hill state, the minister said the fact was that the during the past five years, the condition of roads had turned to worse.
After a high profile inauguration function at Una in 2008, work on the Mehatpur-Amb road was in doldrums when the Congress government had regained power, he said, adding that now the work had been re-started on war footing.
Referring to Haroli segment, the minister said the 450-km road network in the constituency would be widened and strengthened for the convenience of the commuters.
Alleging that during the past five years, the BJP government had adopted an indifferent attitude towards Haroli, Agnihotri said they kept saying there were no ground water in the segment and therefore no new tubewell could be drilled here. However, today, two lift irrigation and drinking water wells are being drilled with great success in Chetran and Singan panchayats, while there are reports of adequate ground water in Dhilwan panchayat, he added.
Agnihotri said a detailed project report estimated at Rs. 27 crore has been prepared for providing irrigation to a number of villages in the Haroli segment and that a sum of Rs. 9 crore has already been released by chief minister Virbhadra Singh in this year's budget. Under the project, he said groundwater would be lifted from Bathu to Amrali for distribution.
The industry minister announced that the Haroli hospital would be upgraded to the status of a civil hospital and a mini-secretariat would also be built at the tehsil headquarters.
Former vice-chairman of Agro Packaging Corporation Omkar Sharma, vice-president of the district Congress committee Ashok Thakur, block president Ranjit Rana and president of the BBT Industrial Association Pawan Thakur were also present.