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Himachal Day gift: Free dentures for all senior citizens

Shimla: The 63rd Himachal Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the state today. Colourful functions were organized at state, district and sub-divisional levels to commemorate the occasion. The state-level function was organized at Rohru in Shimla district where Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal unfurled the National Flag, took salute of an impressive march past presented by contingents of police, home guards, and NCC commanded by DSP Puneet Raghu.

Speaking on the occasion, Dhumal reiterated his government’s resolve for accelerating the pace of development in the state so as to make it an ideal, developed and self reliant. He said that welfare of the people and socio economic uplift of all sections of the society would also be ensured. The Chief Minister announced launching of ‘Happy Smile Denture for All” scheme under which all senior citizens above the age 65 years would be provided dentures free of cost. This service would be made available in 76 health centres in the state and about 10,000 senior citizens would be benefited by it in next three years.

Dhumal said that the government’s endeavour was to provide best health care facilities to the people at their doorstep. He said that ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Geriatic Health was being started in Government Ayurvedic Postgraduate College, Paprola, by spending Rs five crore.

The Chief Minister said that National Health Insurance Scheme had been started in all the districts of the state under which insurance cover of Rs 30,000 had been given to all the BPL families. He said that the state government had gone one step further by providing insurance cover of Rs 1.75 lakh in case of critical and serious illness. Reiterating his government’s resolve for speedy development in rural areas, Dhumal said that the government had started an ambitious Rs 353-crore Pandit Den Dayal Kisana Baagwan Samridhi Yojna under which 80 per cent subsidy was being given for construction of polyhouses and minor irrigation schemes to the farmers. He said that from this year, subsidy on polyhouses had been enhanced to 90 per cent to BPL families for constructing polyhouses based on bamboo.

The Chief Minister said that Rs 85 crore Apple Rejuvenation Project would be started from this year so as to replace age-old plantation with new root stocks. He said that to benefit apple growers apple had been brought under crop insurance on pilot basis from last year.

Emphasising the importance of animal husbandry in agrarian economy of the state, Dhumal said that the government had started Rs 300 crore Doodh Ganga Yojna from last year under which 50,000 rural farmers would be benefitted by providing them loans up to Rs 3 lakh on subsidized rate of interest for undertaking milk production related activities. He announced a hike of Rs one in milk procurement price of MILKFED. He said that a new scheme named ‘Mukhyamantri Arogya Pashudhan Yojna’ had been started under which 1,150 new veterinary institutions would be opened in the state in next three years.

The Chief Minister said that his government had enhanced the social security pension from Rs 200 to Rs 330 besides sanctioning this pension to 37,826 new eligible persons. He said that 2.67 lakh eligible persons were getting this pension in the State on which Rs. 110 crore was being spent annually. He said that to ensure that more people were benefitted from this pension maximum income limit for eligibility of this pension had also been enhanced from Rs. 11,000 to Rs. 15,000 from this year.

He said that financial assistance under Atal Awas Yojna and Indira Awas Yojna had been enhanced from Rs 3800 to Rs 4800 from this year. Earlier this was enhanced from Rs. 27500 to Rs 38,500 by the government last year. As many as 13,000 houses had been constructed under these two schemes during last two years and given to the poor houseless.

Dhumal said that his government was working on a mission of self employment, self dependence and self respect. He said that generating resources and creating employment opportunities had been accorded priority. He said that for generating resources available hydel potential in the State was being exploited expeditiously and target of harnessing 17000 MW of power had been fixed by the end of 12th Five Years Plan period.

Dhumal conferred ‘Himachal Gaurav Puruskar’ upon Kirpal Singh Thakur of Una carrying a cash prize of Rs. 21,000, shawl, cap and citation; ‘Prena Sarot Samman’ upon Dr Rakesh Kapoor, commerce lecturer, Govt. Degree College, Mandi; Hem Raj Chadda, assistant commandant (Retd.) ITBP carrying case prize of Rs 51,000 each, citation, shawl and cap; ‘Ashadeep’, NGO, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla, revived by its president Susheel Tanwar, who got a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000, citation and a shawl.

‘Civil Service Award’ was conferred upon Technical Cell, State CID, and awarded a cash prize of Rs 51,000 while cash prize of Rs 10,200 each, citation, shawl and cap was given to inspector Sarvshri Mukesh Kumar, ASI Om Prakash, head constable Dharma Nand, and constables Rajesh Kumar, Rajendra Singh.

The Chief Minister conferred ‘Rescue Team Award’ to Atal Behari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports carrying a cash prize of Rs 51,000 divided among Subedar Amar Prakash, instructor; Jagat Ram, instructor; and guide Jagat Ram, who got Rs 17,000 each.

CTVS team, IGMC Shimla, leader Dr Rajnish Pathania received a cash prize of Rs 2.50 lakh on behalf of his 40 member team who had rendered valuable service towards the society.

Chief Minister also decorated Vikas Sharma, commandant, jail department, with President of India Medal awarded to him for his meritorious services.

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