74th Independence Day was celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety, but at the same time by maintaining social distancing throughout Himachal Pradesh today in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Functions were organised at State, District and Sub-Divisional levels to mark the occasion. Unfurling National Flag, impressive march-past by contingents of Police, Home Guards, SSB, ITBP was main attractions of the celebrations.
While presiding over the State Level Independence day celebration function at historic Dhalpur Maidan, Kullu, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur hoisted the National Flag and took salute from the impressive march past by contingents of Police, ITBP, Home-Guards and SSB cadets.
DSP Veeny Minhas commanded the parade.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister paid rich tributes to the freedom fighters who made supreme sacrifices for the freedom of the country and paid tributes to the martyred soldiers, who lost their lives while protecting the frontiers of the country. He also paid rich tributes freedom fighters of the State and first Chief Minister Dr Y.S.Pramar. He said that the Dev Bhumi was also the Vir Bhumi as the first Paramvir Chakra of the country was conferred upon Major Somnath Sharma, the heroic soldier of the state and also to Captain Vikram Batra and Havaldar Sanjay Kumar. He also paid rich tributes to the brave soldiers of the State, who have been martyred recently while guarding the borders of the country in the Galvan Valley of Ladakh.
Chief Minister said that the state government was committed to the welfare of freedom fighters, soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families. He said that State government was providing Rs. 15,000 to freedom fighters and wives of deceased freedom fighters and Rs. 10,000 to their unmarried daughters. He said that Rs. 51,000 was being provided for the marriage of daughters of freedom fighters and Rs. 21,000 for the marriage of their grand-daughters. The dependents of freedom fighters were also provided with 2 percent reservation in government and semi-government services, he added.
Jai Ram Thakur said that the annuity of Rs. 3 Lakh was being provided to Paramveer & Ashok Chakra winners, Rs. 2 lakh to Mahavir Chakra & Kirti Chakra and Rs. 1 lakh to Vir Chakra & Shaurya Chakra winners. The financial assistance given for the marriage of daughters of war widows has been increased from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 50,000, he added.
Chief Minister said that the whole world was acknowledging the strength and potential of our country. He said that befitting response to the neighbouring countries on the borders and the announcement of Atamnirbhar Bharat campaign during Covid-19 pandemic reflects the decision-making power of the country. He said that covid pandemic has adversely affected the economy of the State, but the Country was fortunate that it was secure in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that with the timely decisions taken by the Prime Minister, India with a population of 135 crore have reported only about 50 thousand deaths due to corona till date as compared to 7.60 lakh people having lost their lives to Covid-19 in fifteen most developed countries with a total population of 142 crore.
Jai Ram Thakur said that former Prime Minister Bharat Ratan Atal Behari Vajpayee considered Himachal and Kullu his second home. He said that Late Vajpayee spent quite a few days at his home in Preeni Village of Kullu. He said that it was the vision of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, that the Rohtang tunnel was about to be completed and this Atal Tunnel Rohtang would be dedicated by the Prime Minister to the nation by the end of September this year.
Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh has made unprecedented development in all spheres. He said that the State has made tremendous progress in Education, open Defecation free, tourism etc. He said that Atal Tunnel Rohtang would be developed as a major tourism attraction. He said that the State Government was contemplating to start a Vistadom bus for tourists in this tunnel. He said that Bijli Mahadev of Kullu would also be developed as tourism point of view. Efforts were on to provide rope way facility to this tourist spot, he added.
Jai Ram Thakur said that in the very first meeting of Cabinet, the age limit for getting social security pension was reduced from 80 years to 70 years with no income limit. He said that more than 2.85 lakh people above 70 years of age are availing monthly pension of Rs. 1500. Along with this, social security pension of widows and specially-abled has also been increased to Rs. 1000 per month and 1,63,607 new cases of various social security pensions have been approved, he said.
Chief Minister said that ‘Jan Manch’ programme was launched by the Government for speedy redressal of public grievances and in the total 189 Jan Manch organized in all the assembly constituencies of the state, in which 45,000 complaints and demands were received, out of which 91 percent have been resolved. He said that Mukhymantri Seva Sankalp Helpline-1100 has been started under which any citizen can register the complaint by dialling 1100 number from any corner of the state. More than one lakh complaints have been received so far and most of the complaints have been redressed, he added.
Jai Ram Thakur said that an ambitious scheme ‘Himcare’ has been started in the state, under which 5.50 lakh families have been registered and more than one lakh people have availed treatment facility, on which Rs. 91.43 crore has been spent. He said that Sahara Yojana has also been started to provide financial assistance to the poor people suffering from critical diseases. Under this scheme, financial assistance of Rs. 2000 per month is being provided to the eligible patients and now the Government has increased this financial assistance to Rs. 3000 per month.
Chief Minister said that over 2.78 lakh women have been provided free gas connections under the Central scheme Ujjawla Jojna and Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojana. He said Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country to achieve such an achievement of having each household with smokeless kitchen. He said that a target of construction of 10,000 houses has been fixed in the budget this year to provide home to the homeless. He said that no Government can provide employment to all its youth in Government sector alone, thus the State Government has launched Mukhymantri Swavalamban Yojna to inspire the youth of the state to adopt self-employment. He said that 25 percent subsidy was being provided to the youth whereas 30 percent subsidy was being provided to women entrepreneur under this scheme.
Jai Ram Thakur said that since 90 per cent population of the State lives in rural areas, thus the State Government was laying special emphasis on development of these areas. He said that several new agricultural schemes have been started with a view to double the income of farmers and orchardists. He said that Mukhymantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana has proved successful in protecting crops from wild animals with about 2600 farmers have benefited with Rs. 80.36 crore. He said that Anti-hail net scheme has also proved to be effective for the orchardists.
Chief Minister specially thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the liberal financial assistance and sanctioning various projects for the State and for announcing the 20 lakh crore economic packages under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan providing financial assistance to the poor, farmers, vendors, MSME, migrant labour and other weaker sections of society.
He said that Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, the poor families of the country would avail free ration till November 2020. He said that in the State, direct financial assistance of Rs. 500 per month was provided to 5.90 lakh accounts of women under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan and Rs. 2000 per month to the 8.74 lakh farmers under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.
Jai Ram Thakur thanked the Corona warriors for their valuable contribution and people of the State for their cooperation to comply with the guidelines given by the government from time to time. He also thanked the people of the State for generously contributing towards the CM COVID Fund. He said that an amount of Rs. 82.48 crore was contributed towards the fund out of which Rs. 22.08 crore were spent on Covid-19 care. He said that the State Government provided assistance of Rs. 1000 per month to Asha workers from March to June 2020. An increased amount of Rs. 2000 per month has been provided in the month of July & August, he added.
Chief Minister awarded Civil Services Awards to Ashutosh Garg, Director Information & Technology for Mukhiyamantri Sewa Sankalp Helpline-1100 for fast redressal of public grievances and to Lalit Jain for his outstanding work as DC Sirmour in the field of environment conservation and employment generation. He presented Himachal Gaurav Puraskar-2020 to noted writer and photographer Birbal Sharma, noted singer from Mandi Balkrishan Sharma, noted Doctor Mangat Ram Dogra and folk singer Narender Thakur. He presented Preranastrot Purskar to Sandeep Kumar of Bharwain area of Una district and Sushma Verma, a women international cricket player from Shimla district.
He also flagged of Nasha Niwaran Van on the occasion.
Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur, MP Ramswaroop Sharma, MLAs Surinder Shourie, Kishori Lal, Jawahar Thakur and Sunder Singh Thakur, former MP Maheshwar Singh, former Minister Satya Prakash Thakur, Vice Chaiman HPMC Ram Singh, Vice Chairman Handicraft and Handlooms Sanjeev Katwal, Chief Secretray Anil Khachi, DGP Sanjay Kundu, DC Kullu Dr Richa Verma, Director Information and Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon were present on the occasion among others.