State irrigation & public health minister Vidya Stokes does not appear to be too happy over the functioning of horticulture department officials. During an interaction programme on Monday the octogenarian minister, who also holds additional charge of the department, observed “its officials spent more time in their offices than in the field”.
“Horticulture department officials need to go into the field and communicate with farmers instead sitting in their offices,” Stokes said. She had earlier pulled up the department for decreasing production in its apple orchards.
Meanwhile, during the interaction programme, people apprised her about various issues regarding irrigation, public health, roads, sewerage and health. Around 40 delegations from different areas of the state had come to attend the event.
The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee's chief spokesman, Sanjay Singh Chauhan, said party chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had moved a proposal for public interaction with the CM and ministers in party headquarters and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had accepted the proposal and sat in the party office on January 4. “Virbhadra has accepted the proposal to sit in Congress office and started the program on January 4, and today Stokes met party workers here,” he said.
He added the chief minister's move would ensure better coordination between the government and the party organisation in the state. “Such meetings of ministers with party workers and residents of the state will further strengthen the party organisation in Himachal,” he added.
A delegation led by Chauhan met Stokes on Monday, apprising her about the problems being faced by commuters in Shimla. The delegation demanded that the government should ply taxis on sealed and restricted roads to facilitate commuters, especially the disabled and aged.
Meanwhile, apparently unaware that horticulture director Gurudev Singh's tenure had been extended, Stokes said she had no idea when the extension was given. “His term has extended but I wasn't consulted before it was approved,” she added.