Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh announced enhancement in the ‘Samman Rashi’ of wives and unmarried daughters of the freedom fighters of the State from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000 per month. He also announced to enhance the grant-in-aid for marriage of the daughters of the freedom fighters from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 51,000 and from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 21,000 for marriage of their grand daughters. He announced to enhance the amount given for last rites of the death of freedom fighters from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 15,000 and also announced to make a provision of Rs. 10,000 for the last rites of their wives.
The Chief Minister made these announcements while presiding over the conference of Himachal Pradesh Freedom Fighters at Bilaspur today. He said that the Nation was indebted to the freedom fighters for their invaluable contributions for attaining independence of the country and it was our duty to give them due honour for what they did for the cause of the Nation. The freedom fighters were the source of inspiration for the younger generation who had to work for upholding the hard earned freedom, he added. He said that Congress Governments had always catered to the interests of the freedom fighters and their family members and it was Congress Government who constituted Freedom Fighters Board in the State besides providing various facilities. He accused the previous BJP Government for ignoring the freedom fighters adding that not even a single conference of Freedom Fighters was organized after year 2005.Chief Minister said that at present the wives and unmarried daughters of 813 freedom fighters were being provided ‘Samman Rashi’ which includes 96 alive freedom fighters. The State Government had enhanced the ‘Samman Rashi’ of freedom fighters from Rs. 7500 to Rs. 10,000 per month from 1st September, 2013. The dependents of the freedom fighters were being given two percent reservation in the government jobs while provision had also been made for reservation of one seat each in MBBS, Dental and Ayurvedic Colleges.
Virbhadra Singh said that Bilaspur town had contributed significantly for the cause of development of the country. The old town was submerged due to construction of Bhakra Dam and many families were uprooted. The Congress Government had taken effective steps for rehabilitation of such families and most of them had been provided plots while remaining families would be rehabilitated in next two-three years. He said that State Government had already announced to regularize the encroachments by such families in the town upto 150 sq. feet.He said that Government would also regularize the houses constructed in the Bilaspur town by the Balmiki community as they were giving valuable services to the society. The Government would also provide plots to those families of the community who were houseless.
Chief Minister also released a book ‘Sansar Ek Parivar’ authored by Shri Satya Mitra Bakshi ‘Arya’, a freedom fighter. A photo exhibition based on the freedom fighters was also organized on the occasion by the State Language, Art and Culture Department. Shri Virbhadra Singh also visited the Zonal Hospital, Bilaspur to enquire the well being of children of Mandi-Mandwa villages suffering from gastroenteritis.
Shri Sushil Rattan, Vice Chairman, H.P. Freedom Fighters Board welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for initiating various welfare schemes for the freedom fighters and their dependents. Shri Bambar Thakur, local MLA thanked the Chief Minister for regularizing the plots of Balmiki community and rehabilitation of Bhakra Dam Oustees. He said that BJP Government perted the funds allocated for the Bilaspur district and also shifted various important offices out of the district.
Earlier, a two minutes silence was observed to pay homage to the departed freedom fighters. Shri Ram Lal Thakur, Chairman, State Level Planning Development and 20 Point Programme Committee, Shri Rajesh Dharmani, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Smt. Santosh Dhiman, District Congress President, Smt. Pawana Sharma, Vice President, State Mahila Congress, Shri Biru Ram Kishore and Shri Tilak Raj Sharma, former MLAs, Shri T.G. Negi, Advisor to Chief Minister, Shri Subhashish Panda, Secretary, GAD, Dr. Ajay Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Shri D.K. Gupta, Director, Language, Art and Culture, freedom fighters and other prominent persons of the town were present on the occasion.