CPIM finds CM's Himachal Day speech lacking



Shimla (April 15) The Himachal Pradesh state secretariat of the Communist Party of India Marxist has ridiculed the speech made by Chief Minister of the state on the eve of Himachal Day. “It seems it was a prelude to the next year assembly elections, which does not deal with the real issues of the people. The gist focused on BJP’s achievements, virtually a congruent of the budget speech without even mentioning about the issues and demands of the state right since the days when it was carved out,” a statement issued by the party today states.

The CPIM has stated that the speech does not mention a word about the right of special category status of the state and struggle of the people for claiming it. The speech also misses one basic point that flows from the Punjab Re-organization Act 1966 that provides for a share of 7.19% to the state. “Under Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganization Act, the government of India was required to apportion the assets and liabilities amount to successor states. Instead, the state is allocated a meager 2.5% share in Bhakra, 15 MW in Dehar and nothing in Pong Dam. The arrears in this regard reach to over Rs 5,000 crores adding the 12% share of free power from 1990 onwards  to which even the Supreme Court has made an observation that Himachal being a weak state in political terms should not be victimized. However the Chief Minister fails to mention a word on the legitimate share of HP.”

Similarly. CPIM has added, the speech does not talk about the right of the state in lieu of forest conservation. “Nearly 67% of the total area in the state falls under classified Forest. For national interest, the Himachal Pradesh state has given up the exploitation of its forest wealth. It is estimated that more than Rs 1.50 lakh crore  of forest wealth is prevalent taking into account watershed, carbon reduction and other ecological benefits not only to the state but to the neighbouring states and to the country as a whole. Rs 1,000 crore per annum could accrue just from forest logging  benefits. But owing to non-exploitation of forest wealth this generation of resource must be compensated by the central government of which the BJP government does not speak much.”

“Another major source of revenue could have been hydro power generation in the state. Quite astonishingly, the state has a meager share of just 10% with nearly 90%  being owned by the central government or by the private sector. The state gets a distress cost (royalty) of just 12% that too not in all the projects. The government has to take the lead in highlighting the interests of the state and demanding at least 25% share with a distress cost of 15%. This would take the share of the state to 40% as the larger brunt of these projects in the form of displacement, landslides, soil erosion etc is being borne by the people of the state. The BJP being too benevolent to its cronies in the form of JP etc does not have the guts to demand such a share.”

The CPIM has stated that the government is bent on adopting neo-liberal economic policies which are severely detrimental to the people of the state. It is withdrawing from crucial sectors like health, education, agriculture and infrastructure and instead under the garb of Public Private Partnership (PPP) is  going for wholesale privatization of the essential services. The CPIM has warned the government to desist from these policies and adopt pro-people measures which would be a straight and frank method of celebrating the 64th day of statehood.

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