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HP land deals: Virbhadra for high-level inquiry

india Updated: Jan 11, 2013 20:44 IST
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Announcing a high-level probe into the irregularities in land deals, including proxy transactions which took place in the previous BJP regime, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday said several complaints had been received in this regard and action would be taken against the guilty as per the law.

"The government will inquire into all the land irregularities and benami transactions. There will be an expeditious inquiry into it and action would be taken against the guilty," he announced while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks on the governor's address on the last day of the winter session of the assembly.

Outlining his priorities, Singh said the first priority of the government was overall development of the state. "We will work for restoration of the industrial package as no state can progress without industrial development," he said, adding that "the government will also take up the issue of increasing the state's recruitment quota in the armed forces."

The chief minister termed the withdrawal of the special industrial package as 'unjustified'. He claimed that the package was withdrawn because of a concerted campaign by some adjoining states which painted a wrong picture of migration of the industry from their states with HP getting the package.

"It was a wrong and misleading claim as no industrial unit was closed down in other states," said Singh, adding that only two special category states - Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand - had been deprived of the benefits of the industrial package in the entire country. He also sought the opposition's support in the matter.

Maintaining that the government will step up environment protection measures, Singh said, "Efforts will be made to revive the pasturelands in the state."

He said that the new government would give special impetus on construction and maintenance of the roads in which quality work would be ensured.

"The officials and functionary of the department will be responsible to ensure quality and any all projects will be completed in a stipulated time," said Singh, adding that "unwarranted delay in the execution of the projects will not be tolerated".

"The government would treat monkey menace as 'special situation' in Himachal Pradesh, particularly in the context of the farmers and seek financial assistance from the government of India to solve the problem," said Singh, adding that "farmers in the state have abandoned agriculture due to the problem". He said killing of monkeys was no solution as the religious sentiments were also attached with it.

"A feasible solution is to control the population of monkeys through sterilisation," said Singh, adding that the Congress government in the past had started this exercise and it was later carried on by the BJP government.

Singh said, "The government will formulate a project and approach the Centre for funding as more sterilisation centres are needed to be set up with the requirement of veterinary doctors and other staff."

Brushing aside the BJP's charge about heavy loans raised during the earlier Congress regime, Singh said the BJP government in its tenure raised Rs 9,243 crore loans against Rs 8,032 crore during the Congress regime previous to it.

"The BJP government had almost raised Rs 1,200 crore more than that in the Congress tenure till January 1, 2008. The state's debt of Rs 21,241 crore in 2007 has grown to Rs 28,650 crore in 2012," he said.

He questioned the BJP's claim on development and the awards and trophies it had received for 'outstanding' performance in the various sectors and raised question mark on credibility of the organisations giving such awards.

He said, "The state's position has dipped in various sectors, including health, educations, infrastructure development in the past five year in which BJP claims to have performed outstandingly."