In a rare show of unity, the state government and Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will jointly urge the union government to allow change in design of 150 buses provided to the hill-state under Jawahar Lal Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM).
The issue was raised by leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal during the question hour, following a question by Rohru MLA Mohan Lal Brakta.
“The low-floor buses, which are very long in size are unfit for the hill state given the tough terrains and narrow roads,” said Dhumal, adding that these buses would be traffic hazard and might cause mishaps.
One of the five buses, which were informally launched, Dhumal said, was stuck on the gate of Vidhan Sabha due to technical snag in the gear.
He said keeping in view the topography of the state the government should take up the matter with the Centre to provide smaller buses under the JNNRUM.
“The Centre can be asked to provide suitably designed buses to Himachal and the 150 low-floor buses shall be given to the plain states as these were fit for city transport only,” said Dhumal.
Earlier, Bali informed the House that 800 buses had been sanctioned for Himachal under the central scheme and had also approved `202 crore for the same purchase.
He said the 150 low-floor buses were to be plied in plain areas of the states, while the remaining small size buses were for the hill areas.
He said the proposal for the buses was approved by the previous UPA government in October 2013, but `90 crore had been received by the state government recently. Bali said the Opposition should also help the government in urging government to allow the change in design and the procurement of long buses will be stalled for the time being.
Reservation for OBC in higher education
The chief minister, Virbhadra Singh, on Friday informed the House that the government was providing reservation to the other backward classes (OBC) students in institutions of higher education.
In a written reply to the question raised by Kangra MLA Pawan Kajal, chief minister said, “The government is providing reservation to the OBC students pursuing MBBS and various courses of study in Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University (HPAU) and Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.”
“The reservation is also being provided to OBC students in bachelor of education (B Ed) course being run by Himachal Pradesh University,” he added.
HP suffered Rs 2,521 crore loss in natural calamities
The hill state, last year, suffered a loss of `2,521 crore due to heavy rains, cloudbursts and other natural calamities.
Health and family welfare minister Kaul Singh informed the House in a written reply to question raised by Kullu legislator Maheshwar Singh.
The minister said that `293.19 crore were given to the deputy commissioners in the 12 district as relief money in financial year 2013- 14.