All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Alka Lamba on Thursday sought a special session of the Parliament for passing the law granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Hatti community before the model code of conduct comes into force in Himachal.
Addressing a press conference at Renukaji, Lamba said the Congress welcomes the Union government’s decision of granting ST status to the Hatti community but there are apprehensions that it may be just another “jumla (false promise)” of the Bharatiya Janata Party as the move has come just before the state elections.
Raising questions about the intention of the state government, Lamba said, “The BJP has been in power in Himachal for the last five years, and at the Centre for the last eight years; then why was the decision delayed.”
The Congress leader said the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government had also sent a proposal for the same but it could not be implemented due to a lack of absolute majority.
Compensation to Renuka dam affected
Lamba also accused the state government of reducing the circle rates of land to be acquired for the Renuka Dam project in Sirmaur, thus depriving the people of adequate compensation.
“If voted to power, Congress will give four times the compensation prescribed under the Land Acquisition Act,” she said.
Scam in electricity board
Lamba also alleged that scams worth crores took place in the electricity department under power minister Sukhram Chaudhary.
There was also a fraud of ₹396 crore in Kinnaur’s Shongtong Kadcham project where substandard material was procured for integrated power development scheme (IPDS) works, she said.
In Sirmaur, the work of changing electricity meters was given to a private company at the rate of ₹2,573 per unit whereas in another division, the same work was awarded at a rate of ₹65 per unit, she alleged.
Lamba alleged that on October 21, 2020, the chief engineer of the electricity board awarded ₹2 crore to a company for buying some equipment which turned out to be of poor quality.
The said chief engineer is the younger brother of the officer on special duty to the power minister, he said.