HP Cabinet: Monsoon disaster spurs HP’s resource mobilization efforts
Shimla, Aug 22
The severe financial strain caused by the monsoon disaster has prompted the Council of Ministers (CoMs) of Himachal Pradesh to focus on resource mobilization. This has led to decisions involving power companies and forest resource utilization, including changes to long-standing environmental norms.
Under the leadership of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the CoMs convened to address the crisis. One significant decision was the amendment of the Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy, extending Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with power companies to a 40-year duration. Royalty rates were revised to 15 percent for the initial 12 years, 20 percent for the subsequent 18 years, and 30 percent for the remaining 10 years.
A crucial condition was established: projects must revert to the State Government free of encumbrances and liabilities. However, the royalty payable to the State during the extended period should not fall below 50 percent.
Furthermore, relaxations in staggered free power royalty granted to SJVNL and NHPC for projects such as 210 MW Luhri Stage-I, 66 MW Dhaulasidh, 382 MW Sunni Dam, and 500 MW Dugar Hydro Electric Projects were rescinded with immediate effect.
The CoMs also approved a tariff rationalization for water cess on Hydel Power Projects. Another approval was granted for the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the enumeration, marking, extraction, and disposal of salvage trees from forest lands. This move aims to increase timber availability locally, reduce transportation costs, boost revenue, enhance field staff efficiency, and facilitate raw material conversion.
Other decisions included an increase in financial assistance under the Himachal Pradesh Widow Remarriage Scheme, elevated support prices for fruits procured under the Market Intervention Scheme, raised honorarium for Cook cum Helpers under the Mid Day Meal Yojna, enhanced wage rates under MGNREGS, and the inclusion of Sanitary Workers in the Ayushman Bharat Scheme.
The CoMs also sanctioned the creation and filling of 48 positions for Traffic cum Tourist Police Stations in Bilaspur, Mandi, and Kullu districts. These stations are tasked with traffic management and road safety enforcement on the Kiratpur-Manali four-lane road.
Furthermore, services of part-time water carriers in the Education Department, who have completed a combined 11 years of daily wage and part-time service, were approved for regularization. The CoMs endorsed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the hiring of e-taxis under the Rajiv Gandhi Swarozgaar Yojna-2023, with the state providing a 50 percent subsidy to promote a greener approach and reduce pollution.
Lastly, the Department of Labour and Employment was renamed the Department of Labour Employment and Overseas Placement.
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