Heated exchanges between minister and oppn. MLA in Assembly



Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Assembly today witnessed heated exchanges between the ruling and opposition over damage to the newly constructed Ambedkar Bhawan in Daya village of Shillai constituency in Sirmaur district.

While replying to a query raised by Harswardhan Chauhan (Cong-Shillai) during the Question Hour, social justice and empowerment minister Sarveen Chaudhary said that the Ambedkar Bhawan was handed over to Kuhant Gram Panchayat in March 2010. However, the MLA disagreed with the minister’s reply and said that the newly-built structure had collapsed. “Surprisingly, the minister is misleading the house by providing wrong information,” Chauhan said.

But Sarveen Chaudhary maintained that the building had got slightly damagd and asked the MLA to prove authenticity of the fact that it had collapsed. “If you are so much sure, you could have brought the photo of the damaged building,” she said in the House.

She also said that the MLA was not aware about the happenings in his constituency and was providing wrong information to the House. At this point, opposition MLAs stood up and created ruckus over the issue.

Kaul Singh Thakur (Cong. Drang) objected to the minister’s reply and sought apology from her on the plea that the MLA concerned was a four-time legislator. It was only after the intervention of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal that the Congress members calmed down. Dhumal assured the opposition that government would ask officials concerned to inquire into the matter.

Earlier, replying to a question asked by MLA from Pachad, Gangu Ram Musafir (Cong. Pachhad) revenue minister Gulab Singh Thakur said that there has been excessive damage to property and crops across the state due to natural calamities in the ongoing monsoon season and earlier last year due to drought also. “Till now the total damage to the roads across the state has been assessed at about Rs. 170.64 crores and just one week ago it was Rs. 84 crores. Assessment in majority of the areas has not been done due to excessive rains and we believe the extent of loss would cross the normal mark. The heavy rain on Thursday night had also caused heavy damage in Kangra, Chamba and Mandi”, said Thakur.

Replying to a question by Kaul Singh Thakur, the minister said that that till now Rs. 83 has been distributed as rain damage relief in all 12 districts. Of the Rs. 27 crores distributed for relief to various departments, Rs. 10 crore has been released to the PWD for repair of the damaged property and roads.

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