The 76th Himachal Day function held at Kaza in Spiti sub-division of Lahaul & Spiti district was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm amidst the vivid colours of tribal culture. After unfurling the Tricolour on the occasion, Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu conveyed his heartiest greetings to the people of the State and expressed his gratitude to Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, the first Chief Minister of the Himachal Pradesh, and all those who worked tirelessly for the special recognition and separate status for Himachal Pradesh.
This was the first time in the history of the State that the Himachal Day function was held in the remote tribal region of Kaza, the ‘Land of Lamas’, bordering China, at a height of around 12000 feet.
The Chief Minister, announced release of three percent Dearness Allowance (DA) for all the employees and pensioners of the State thus raising it from existing 31 percent to 34 percent. The decision would benefit around 2.15 lakh employees and 1.90 Lakh pensioners. This would put an additional burden of about Rs. 500 crore on the state’s exchequer.
He also announced a pension of Rs. 1500 to all the 9000 women of Spiti above 18 years of age from June 2023 in the second phase, a college and to make 50 bedded Community Health Centre (CHC) in Kaza operational.
The Chief Minister said that the State government would take up the issue of developing an airstrip at Rangrik in Spiti Valley with the Defence Ministry. Besides, being important from strategic point of view this will also help in boosting tourism activities.
The Chief Minister said that besides constructing a heliport at Rongtong and a road to cost Rs 34 crore would also be constructed from Atargu to Mud in Pin Valley, as part of the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Additionally, the Government would also prioritize the construction of a road to connect Bhawa with Mud, which will the world’s highest altitude road. He said that a star-gazing observatory would be set up in the Fossil Village Langza, which is a paradise for stargazers with the assistance of Union Government’s.
The land has been identified for setting up Rajiv Gandhi Day-Boarding School at Shego near Kaza, which would prove to be a significant development in the education sector, he said.
The Chief Minister said that the government has established the Chief Minister’s Sukh-Ashray Kosh with an initial provision of Rs 101 crore to provide support to orphan children. The government has adopted around 6,000 orphan children as ‘Children of the State’ under the Yojna.
He said that the government has brought 1.36 lakh government employees under the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) thus fulfilling its promise of restoring the OPS, besides to provide a monthly pension of Rs 1500 to 2.31 lakh women of the state in a phased manner. Under Widow and Ekal Nari Awas Yojana, 7000 such women would be given financial assistance to construct houses in this fiscal. Besides, The Land Holding Ceiling Act, 1972 has been amended to provide equal rights to daughters in property ownership of ancestral property, he added.
The Chief Minister said that the government aims to make the state self-reliant and strengthen its economy through new initiatives. The state has set a target to become a green energy state by March 2026 and the government has entered into an agreement for the Green Hydrogen and Ammonia Project, which will create over 3500 employment opportunities and attract an investment of over Rs 4,000 crore. The state has declared 6 green corridors, providing facilities for electric vehicles. Private operators purchasing electric buses, trucks, taxis, autos and e-goods carriers would be given 50 percent subsidy in order to promote the use of electric vehicles, said Sh. Sukhu.
The Chief Minister said that the state government is focusing on the development of tourism. Since, Kangra is being developed as the “Tourism Capital” of the state, and the construction of the airport in Kangra is vital for expanding tourism. In addition, heliports were being built and expanded to connect all district headquarters by air connectivity throughout the year.
The state intends to establish a Rajiv Gandhi Government Model Day-Boarding School in each assembly constituency, which will be outfitted with cutting-edge technology and equipment, he added.
The Chief Minister said that the government is also committed to ensuring that no meritorious poor child is deprived of higher education due to a lack of money and to meet out this, Rs 200 crore Rajiv Gandhi Higher Education Promotion Scheme has been launched, which would provide loans at one percent interest rate to the students pursuing professional courses like engineering, medicine, MBA, Ph.D, and others.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the government has launched the Him Unnati Yojana to promote the overall development of the agriculture sector. He said that the MGNREGA wage for tribal areas has been increased from Rs 266 to Rs 294.
The Chief Minister also dedicated three ambulances for the Spiti valley and planted a sapling in Cricket ground Kaza. He also inspected the development exhibitions set up by various departments.
Earlier, the Chief Minister took salute from the contingents of Police, Home guards, traffic police, Jawans of IRB, NCC cadets, ITBP, Bharat Scouts & Guides led by parade commander Amit Yadav (IPS) during an impressive march past.
A colourful cultural program was also presented on the occasion and the Chief Minister also distributed prizes to the participants of the cultural program and the Government employees of Lahul & Spiti district for their outstanding contribution in service.
MLA Ravi Thakur, wife of Chief Minister Kamlesh Thakur, Former Minister, Phunchog Rai, former MLA Raghuveer Singh, Chief Secretary, Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Bharat Khera, OSD to Chief Minister Gopal Sharma, Principal Advisor (Media) Naresh Chauhan and other dignitaries were also present amongst others.