President Kovind addresses special session of Himachal Assembly

Shimla: All Indians are proud of the development story written by the people of Himachal Pradesh in the past 50 years, said the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. He was addressing the special session of Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly in Shimla today This special session was being organised on the occasion of Golden Jubilee of Statehood of Himachal Pradesh.

The President said that all the previous governments of Himachal Pradesh have played an important role in this developmental journey. He appreciated contributions made by former Chief Ministers – Late Dr. Y.S. Parmar, Late Shri Thakur Ram Lal, Shri Shanta Kumar, Shri Prem Kumar Dhumal and Late Shri Virbhadra Singh. He said that the initiative taken by the Himachal Pradesh government to take the development journey of the state to the people is highly commendable.

Himachal Pradesh has set new dimensions of development in various fields. He noted that according to a report by NITI Aayog, Himachal Pradesh ranks second in the country in the “Sustainable Development Goals – India Index 2020-21”. He said that Himachal Pradesh is the leading state in the country on many parameters. He appreciated the government of Himachal Pradesh for these achievements.
Pointing to the fact that water of rivers of Himachal Pradesh is clean and soil is full of nutrients, the President urged the farmers of the state to adopt natural farming more and more and keep their land free from chemical fertilizers.

The President said that eco-friendly agriculture, horticulture, tourism, education, employment – especially self-employment – etc. have immense potential for sustainable development in Himachal Pradesh. This state is full of natural beauty. Therefore, we should make continuous efforts for development while preserving its natural beauty and heritages.

Referring to the pro-active steps taken by the government of Himachal Pradesh for protection and conservation of environment, the President said that it is a matter of pride for the people and government of Himachal Pradesh that in the year 2014, Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly became the first paperless Legislative Assembly of the country. It is a good example of efficient use of technology, protecting the environment and saving economic resources. He noted that for the protection and conservation of the environment, the state government has made many commendable efforts, including banning the use of plastic. He said that laws like Non-bio-degradable Garbage Control Act 1995, Prohibition of Smoking and Non-smokers Health Protection Act 1997, passed by the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly have a good impact on the whole country. Many such laws have been framed in this Legislative Assembly, which have been paving the way for future-oriented changes.

Speaking about the nature of people of Himachal Pradesh, the President said that the peace loving yet brave people of Himachal Pradesh have been valiantly responding to injustice, terror and any attack on the country’s pride when required. He pointed that youth from almost every village of Himachal Pradesh serve in the Indian Armed Forces. He noted that the number of ex-servicemen in the state is more than 120000. He said that Ram Singh Pathania, who laid down his life in the struggle against British rule, Param Vir Chakra – Major Somnath Sharma, Captain Vikram Batra, Subedar Sanjay Kumar – and many other heroes like Captain Saurabh Kalia have raised the head of the entire country and Himachal Pradesh. As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on behalf of a grateful nation, he bows to the holy memory of those brave hearts, he said.

The President also mentioned that while greeting Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on his birthday this morning, he informed him about this function and the Prime Minister has conveyed his greetings to the people and government of Himachal Pradesh on the completion of 50 years of statehood of Himachal Pradesh.

Addressing the Assembly, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said Himachal had become the 18th state of the country on January 25, 1971. He said Himachal had come a long way as due to geographical constraints there were hurdles in development. “Today, Himachal is ranked a model hill state,” he said.

He said there were 7,370 km roads in HP then as compared to 37,808 km now.

Thakur said Himachal had emerged as a power-surplus state with its share of 11,000 MW in the country’s total power generation of 45,000 MW. He said Himachal is the fruit bowl of the country and is a top international tourist destination.

Governor Rajender Vishwanath Arlekar also addressed the special session. He thanked the President for gracing the occasion. “The Vidhan Sabha is temple of democracy as MLAs raise issues concerning the public,” he remarked. He said such an assembly should be considered a place for healthy debate and not for confrontation.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and former Vidhan Sabha Speakers are also attending the session.

This is the third occasion when the President is addressing the Vidhan Sabha. Prior to this, APJ Abdul Kalam and Pranab Mukherjee had addressed the special session of the Assembly. (Courtesy)