State revenue minister Kaul Singh Thakur stated Friday the Himachal government proposed to regularize all encroachments by Bhakhra dam oustees measuring up to 150 square metres at the rate of Rs 1 per square metre.
Replying to a question by Bilaspur MLA Bambar Thakur in the legislative assembly's ongoing budget session, he said: “As on February 15 this year none of the encroachments have been regularized but the process is on. The government will also give ownership rights to leaseholders among the oustees.”
Thakur added the government had waived debts totaling Rs 32.38 lakh under the small income residential scheme. “About 1,441 families of Bhakhra dam oustees have been given plots and around 245 are still to be allotted, for which the process of identifying the land is under way. The dam was constructed in 1960s for which around 20,514.6 acres of government and 10,676.66 acres of private land were acquired. The land acquisition affected 11,777 residents of 256 villages in the state,” he added.
Urban local bodies owe Rs 2.94 cr to state
Meanwhile, urban development minister Sudhir Sharma stated around ten urban local bodies owed the state government Rs. 2.94 crore in electricity charges for streetlights. Replying to a question by Kullu MLA Maheshwar Singh, he said the urban bodies included six nagar panchayats, three nagar parishads and the Shimla municipal corporation. “Nagar Parishad Bilaspur owes the highest - Rs 84.85 lakh, while the Shimla municipal corporation owes Rs 24.09 lakh,” he said, while admitting collection of taxes had halted in the Bilaspur nagar parishad.
Sharma also said developmental funds were not used by any urban local body to pay the electricity bills. “Bills were paid by tax recovery and resource mobilization, he added. He also assured to look into the matter to decrease the power tariff for streetlights. The power tariff is different for commercial use and streetlight. For streetlights the tariff is Rs 4.70 per unit while commercial charges are Rs 4.95 per unit,” he added.
30.6 lakh fruit cultivars bought by govt
Irrigation & public health minister Vidya Stokes stated 30.57 lakh cultivars of various fruits were purchased by the state government during the past two years from several nurseries in the state. “1,373,268 cultivars were purchased in 2013-14, while 1,684,146 cultivars were purchased in 2014-15 from different nurseries in the state,” she said.
Legislator admits he once bribed hydrologist
Bilaspur legislator Bambar Thakur on Friday admitted in the House that he had bribed a hydrologist when he used to work as a contractor for drilling a hand pump. However, irrigation and public minister Vidya Stokes, replying to his question, said that hydrologist gave the report about availability of water, while the other formalities were being furnished by junior engineer and senior technical assistant.