Accusing the previous BJP government of putting the state's finances in stress, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday said the BJP while in power gave financial benefits to the employees as per Punjab cabinet's decision, burdening the state exchequer with Rs 1,370 crore.
“The state government is bound to grant grade pay as per the Punjab pay commission and not to implement the decision of the Punjab cabinet,” said Virbhadra while addressing a conference of veterinary pharmacists at Dharamsala on Tuesday.
He said the Punjab government had constituted a sub- committee and gave extra financial benefits to the employees to gain mileage in the assembly elections.
“The previous BJP government first initially deprived the employees of revised grade pay and when assembly elections were around the corner it announced the financial benefits to woo the employees,” said Virbhadra.
He said, “The Punjab's financial condition is now so worrisome that the government is forced to sell government property to pay the salaries of employees. This is due to the wrong steps taken during the elections and we don't want it to be repeated here by implementing their decisions.”
Meanwhile, assuring the veterinary pharmacists of considering their demands sympathetically, the chief minister said the state government has initiated various schemes in the rural areas to benefit the cattle rearers.
Referring to the 2007 census, Virbhadra said 92% rural population of the state was engaged in cattle rearing and there were 52.16 lakh livestock in the state.
“Besides, the state has 45% improved breed - milch cattle. The government is initiating measures to improve breeding facilities for the rural folk at their doorstep through 2,137 veterinary institutions,” Virbhadra said, adding that 1,012 animal dispensaries were opened in such panchayats and 241 more such institutions would be made functional this year.
The chief minister said in order to enhance the milk production and promoting improved varieties of cattle, an artificial insemination laboratory was being opened at Palampur with the assistance of the central government.
Earlier, the chief minister performed the Bhoomi Pujan of improvement of Gaggal-Chetru-Dharamsala-McLeodganj road at Saheed Samark and Dharamsala. The project is sanctioned under the Central Road Fund scheme and will cost Rs 10.02 crore.
He also dedicated Rs 48 lakh “Digital Imaging Spectrograph” forensic machine to the regional forensic science laboratory, Dharamsala.
Later, presiding over the state ayurvedic officers' felicitation function, Virbhadra said ayurveda was one of the ancient medicine systems.
Keeping in view its importance, relevance and effectiveness, a separate department has been set up to promote ayurveda. He announced to create three posts of zonal deputy directors, ayurveda, at Kangra, Mandi and Shimla.