Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday slammed the Rajasthan government for laxity in settling the issue of rehabilitation of Pong Dam oustees.
While addressing a public meeting at Nagrota Surian in Jawali assembly segment of the Kangra district, Virbhadra said the Himachal Pradesh government was always considerate towards the demand of Pong Dam oustees and took various steps to re-locate them.
“It is quite disappointing that despite the Supreme Court ruling, the Rajasthan government was not willing to rehabilitate hundreds of families displaced due to construction of Pong Dam,” said Virbhadra.
The chief minister added that the apex court, in its ruling, has said that it will be an obligation of the Rajasthan government to provide irrigable land to Pong Dam oustees equivalent to the land they lost and put them in possession of it.
“The Rajasthan government is not serious to solve the vexed issue and has shown its inability to re-locate the displaced people and remove encroachment from the land allotted to them,” he alleged.
He said that the displaced population was rehabilitated at places not worth living as the land provided to them was a dry desert.
The chief minister alleged that the Rajasthan authorities were not adhering to the tripartite agreement, even as 17 meetings of high powered committee had been organised, so far.
“The Rajasthan government is denying justice to the displaced people and the state will again take up the matter with it,” asserted Virbhadra.
The chief minister said that there was a need to develop the Maharana Pratap reservoir (Pong Lake) area as a major tourist destination as it would boost the economy of locals. He added that with launching of various tourist activities, the economy of the people would increase.
The CM also exhorted the people to protect and not kill the migratory birds descending at Pong Wetland-an internationally acclaimed Ramsar sight, every year.
He said that the government would also consider technical institutions so that the youth could be technically trained in various trades and earn opportunities of employment and self-employment.
He announced to upgrade as many as nine schools in Nagrota Surian area, health sub center at Theru, ayurvedic dispensary at Paddar, besides metalling of Siuni-Chanani and restoration of Kotla- Gurgaon bus route.
Earlier, the chief minister addressed a public meeting at Durana in Jawali assembly constituency in Kangra district and laid foundation stones and inaugurated development projects worth `95.58 crore across the Jawali constituency.
The important development projects of which he laid foundation stone include building of newly opened Nagrota Surian College, information centre of wildlife department and camping site being developed by tourism department.
He was accompanied by forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, chief parliamentary secretary Neeraj Bharti, MLAs Ajay Mahajan and Sanjay Rattan and vice- chairman of OBC welfare board Chander Kumar.