“Now Himachal is home to the common man”
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is known for his honesty, simplicity and diligence. He always believes in clean politics and strongly endorses the philosophy of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay. He not only strives his best for doing something in the interests of farmers, gardeners, labourers, women, senior citizens, disabled people and the rest of the sections of society, but also implements these thoughts at grassroots level. he shared his future plan for the state in an exclusive interview with Prof. Ajay Shrivastav. Excerpts:
You come from a humble family. How has been your journey till becoming the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh?
My journey has been full of several struggles and miseries. My father worked as a carpenter, and as a result of this, my family was economically weak. However, we fought all odds. My parents and elder brothers never instructed me on honesty, truth and hard work, they instiled into us these principles in our real life. When I came in touch with RSS and ABVP, I realised lots of transformation within myself. I was influenced by these organisations and my commitment towards working for people, especially weaker sections, strengthen more. I have always been influenced by the idea of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay.Now I have got an opportunity to work on a higher level because of the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. I would attempt my best to use this opportunity for the betterment of the society.
For you, the path for chief ministerchip is full of thorns. State government’s exchequer is almost empty. It is burdened with a debt of Rs 46,500 crore.
This is truth. In the last five years, state is lagging behind economically. Instead of focusing on increasing revenue of the state, preventing unnecessary expenditure and using the resources in a genuine way, the former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was busy in escaping from police investigation. There is a serious charge of corruption against him and trial is proceeding in the court. A corrupt and directionless government made the state coinless. In consequence of this, there is a debt of Rs 66,000 on every citizen of the state.
What kind of initiatives will you take to overcome the economic burden?
Our first priority will be to not let this debt increase more. We will control unnecessary expenditure and consider all the declarations of the previous Congress government, which were made, taking into consideration, before six months of legislative elections. Making false promises without allocating budget to gain votes is a political crime. We will mainly focus on the Central government’s initiatives for the development of the state. The Central government provided thousands of crores to the previous state government, but the state government failed to use that funds. We are optimistic of Prime Minister Modi. Himachal Pradesh can get relief, if the Central government provides subsidy to the state.
How will you increase the revenue of the state?
Our main focus is on tourism and hydroelectricity projects. Industries adjoining Punjab and Hariyana will be developed and there will be attempts to invite investors to invest in new industries. Agriculture and gardeningbased industries have a huge scope in Himachal. Therefore, this will also be our priority.
In Himachal Pradesh, tourism and industrial activities have a strong connection with environment. Will you consider on balance of ecology?
Our primary commitment is on protecting environment. We will do anything keeping it in our mind. If environment degrades in the Himalayan area, the whole humanity will be affected from this. Instead of blind development, sustainable development will be in our priority. We will also encourage religious, eco and adventure development. We will develop road and highway projects professionally and assemble other important resources. Help from private players will also be taken.
How do you see the Rohtang tunnel being constructed between Lahol valley and Manali. Will there be any development in the frontier tribal district like Lahol-Spiti, where the tribal community is in a significant number?
Today, the Rohatang tunnel project has been completed and this is because of the great vision of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpeyi. Importance of this tunnel is not limited to the development of tourism in Lahol-Spiti district adjacent to Tibet. Seeing the presence of China in Tibet and Pakistan near to our border, this tunnel will be beneficial in providing logistics to our military in any season. Due to heavy snow fall, Rohtang pass would often get closed for more than six months, but now owning to this tunnel, the way-passing to Jammu & Kashmir is feasible. This tunnel is also important for tourism sector. Passing Rohtang Pass through the tunnel will be adventurous for those tourists going to Laddakh. And owihng to this, tourism will get a boost in Lahol valley.
There is a wider opportunity for rural and handicraft businesses in Himachal. Will the government focus on these areas?
Definitely. The previous government did not take any decision in this regard. The rural and handicraft sector will encourage youths towards self-employment and there will be a huge opportunity for jobs. We will also work to fructify this possibility. However, there is a marketing problem in this area.
Governor Acharya Devavrat is spreading awareness in the state to protect the cow and is also propagating involvement of people in organic farming.
Acharya Devavrat has shown us the way on various matters. His ideas on organic farming are surprising. We will try our best to work in this direction. This is the demand of the time. Also we can learn a lot from Sikkim, which geographically resembles to Himachal Pradesh. Sikkim is called an organic state. I myself will visit Sikkim to learn something from there.
In the Legislative Assembly elections, Prime Minister Modi and the BJP had pledged to eliminate corruption, drug-smugglers and mining-smugglers from the state.
This is our priority. I am committed to providing a clean administration and a corruption-free government. In last five years, the state was pushed towards drug and other wrongful activities. Youths in a large number are addicted to drugs. Illegal and unscientific mining has also destroyed the state. Now, our focus is on rooting out these problems, and therefore, responsibility to officers concerned will be given to put a stop on these happenings.
Lokayukt seat is vacant and Human Rights Commission is also not in existence. Owing to this fact, weaker sections of the society are facing problems in getting justice.
This matter is also in our mind. The government will take valid steps in this regard, and will especially focus on weaker sections of society.
There was a time, when the criminal graph was low in Himachal Pradesh. Now the law and order situation is deteriorating. Your comment.
When we came to power, we took several decisions to bring the law and order situation on track like transferring district-level police chiefs. We changed Director General of Police (DGP) and brought Sitaram Maradi, an intelligent, diligent and honest officer. For the security of girls, we are going to launch “Gudia Helpline” and for the protection of forest “Hothead Helpline”. We will do our best to win people’s trust.
What will be other areas of priority for your government?
Instead of increasing the number of educational institutions, we are focusing on betterment of quality of education. We will provide all the necessary resources to these institutions and also appoint teachers to fill the vacant seats. The same initiative we are taking in health sector. All central projects will be implemented soon and e-governance is also my priority.