The leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal today protested against Cabinet’s decision taken by the Virbhadra Singh Government to do away with the heritage status of Kangra tea estate stating that it wants to change ceiling law which bar land use change for the other purpose.
Former Chief Minister Mr. Dhumal pointed out in press statement issued today that Mr. Singh’s Government seemed to forgot the promise made to people of Kangra district in last election manifesto to restore the status of Kangra Tea, over hauling entire tea industry after launching rejuvenation scheme. “During the last four years, Mr. Singh rule did not take any to step to revive the ailing tea industry or fulfill promise made in the election Manifesto moreover it was bent upon to do away the heritage status of tea industry by bringing the amendment.” the former Chief Minister alleged.
Mr. Dhumal also charged that resolution passed in last Cabinet meeting to allow selling of tea estate land and the Government indicated that it is inclined to amend the HP Ceiling on Land Holding Act 1972. The leader of opposition further alleged that this law was enacted in past meant to protect the interest of gullible people of Kangra district could be amend to help the land sharks. “Instead of protecting interest of tea owners, it was pathetic that the Government wants to promote the land sharks to seized over the tea estate. ” Mr. Dhumal said and added that removing ceiling would open floodgates of land mafia to grab tea lands as the move may allure people to do so.
Terming it conspiracy on the part of the Government Mr. Dhumal said that it would benefit the land mafia, builders and eroding heritage status of tea estates. He alleged that it put question mark on the real intention of the Government exposing the real intent to go ahead with the amendment on ceiling law. “Such laws were enacted to protect diverse geographical, historic and cultural heritage of state however government to benefits outsiders after annulling strict revenue provision now want to put gullible and innocent people before the land sharks. “ he alleged.
He blames that Congress Government in the past also amended section 118 of Himachal Pradesh land reform and tenancy act 1972 (on five occasion ) and similarly amending Big land and Ceiling Act during its rule. Former CM said that decisions would dent the hospitality and tourism industry of Kangra and Palampur valley as people came here from many part of country to see tea estates.
The Kangra tea which was planted here by the Britishers got the GI status on 2008 forcing the Center Government to opened tea Board Office at Palampur in the district, he said. He showed concern that easing of proviso may lead to convert the tea estate into concrete jungles and people of Kangra district would vehemently oppose the move and not allowing to amend the prevailing law.