Preference to locals in hydro projects up to 5 MW okayed

The Himachal Cabinet today approved the state power policy and decided to reorganise the Education Department to create a separate Directorate for Elementary Education.

As per the power policy preference will be given to Himachalis in allotment of hydroelectric projects up to 5 MW capacity, which will be handled by the HIMURJA. The projects with capacity ranging from between 5 MW and 100 MW will be awarded via the MoU route and those with more than 100 MW capacity will be assigned through global competitive bidding. The state will have 30 per cent equity participation in projects with more than 100 MW capacity.

The meeting presided over by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, cancelled 22 hydroelectric projects and decided to give six months extension to 32 projects with a stipulation that if the companies failed to start work during the period the project would automatically stand cancelled.

The Directorate of Elementary Education will take care of Class I to VIII, while Class IX to XII will be under the Directorate of Secondary Education. Committees will be set up for division of staff and infrastructure.

In order to generate more revenue from the sale of turpentine oil and Rosin from the factories of the state Forest Corporation at Nahan and Bilaspur, it decided to introduce a system of calling tenders on bi-monthly basis. The rate will be applicable for the in between period. Further, 60 per cent of the turpentine oil in terms of volume will be reserved for local units.

For Rosin the same procedure will be followed and the reserve of 40 per cent for local units will continue. The system will be tried for one year and reviewed thereafter.

The Cabinet approved transportation subsidy on apple packaging material to the fruit growers in the flood affected areas of Kinnaur district. Many areas of Kinnaur have been cut off from the rest of the country.

It also approved amendment to the state Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1972, to the effect that special road tax and penalty shall not be levied and charged from on Stage Carriage Operators, whose buses are impounded for the non-payment of tax. The amendment shall have retrospective effect from January 1, 2000, the date from which the special road tax was imposed.

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