Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said that no CM before him in the state had dared to ask people to pay their power bills fearing political backlash.
Khattar said the power utilities suffered huge losses due to non-payment of power bills by a large number of consumers and matters were made worse by some political leaders who gave statements asking people that there was no need to pay. He, however, did not name any political leader. He said when the BJP took over the reins in Haryana three years back, the power department was under a debt of whopping Rs 28,000 crore. The government decided to bear Rs 25,000 crore of the amount, he said.
Without naming anyone, Khattar said, “they used to give political statements asking people not to pay power bills. But we appealed to the people that it was in their benefit”. It took time to change people’s behaviour, he said. “Till today, no chief minister (in Haryana) had dared to ask people to pay power bills. But when I did so, many people may have felt bad. But later everyone understood it was in everyone and the state’s interest.
“Now, there are many villages where round-the-clock power supply is being given and by August 15, one thousand villages will get uninterrupted supply,” Khattar said while addressing a press conference to mark completion of 1,000 days of his government.
He also said the government would open 30 new colleges in the next two years. “We have already opened 23 new colleges during the last two-and-a-half years,” he added. He also said the quality education and employment pose a big challenge for the government, he added. Blaming the previous UPA government for allegedly degrading the level of quality in education, he said that it during its term at the Centre implemented a ‘No Detention Policy’ till the eighth standard which had adverse impact on our education system.
The present government has taken a number of new initiatives to improve the education system, he said. “We have started a monthly test programme for the evaluation of students in government schools. Under this 22 lakh students are being appraised. Now, we are also thinking of changing the law and re-starting the examination (to do away with no detention policy),” he said.
Khattar also said the state government has implemented a scheme namely “Sawarnjyanti Khand Uthan Yojna” for the development of intensive backward blocks in the State. Initially, 20 such blocks would be developed in the first phase of the scheme, he said. Referring to the national scholarship programmes of students, he said it had been made online.
On the health sector, Khattar said the state government would soon implement a health insurance scheme for which a survey would be conducted. The aim of the insurance scheme would be to benefit the poor and weaker sections, he said. Apart from this, 570 essential medicines are being given to the poor patients in government hospitals, where 231 operations are also being conducted free of cost for them, he added.
Khattar was also asked why the present government had decided to change previous government’s decision of increasing retirement age for government employees from 58 to 60 and then setting up a cabinet sub-committee to study if the retirement age could be raised to 60 years.
“Our opposition was not for the sake of opposition. For example, in the health department, we increased the age to 65 years…The committee under the finance minister’s chairmanship has been formed and once it will give report, we will take a call,” he said.