In a humanitarian gesture, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his 11 Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday decided to contribute Rs 100,000 each from their salary towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, Thakur said.The previous Congress government had left the fund -- used to help the poor and the needy for medical treatment or for pursuing higher studies -- almost penniless, he said."The Chief Minister's Relief Fund was disbursed maximum ahead of the assembly elections. Now there is literally no amount in the fund. We are receiving requests every day from the public for allocation of funds. Initially, we, the entire Cabinet, decided to contribute Rs 1 lakh each from our salary towards the relief fund," Thakur told reporters here.The Chief Minister appealed to social organisations and companies to make contributions to the relief fund generously."I have also requested the departments and the public not to bring bouquets, garlands and mementoes for me. Rather, the amount they are spending on bouquets and mementoes can be contributed towards the relief fund," an emotional Thakur said.Without mincing words, the Chief Minister said the state was facing a debt of Rs 46,500 crore.
"I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (after becoming the Chief Minister) and apprised them about the current financial position. Hopefully, we will get adequate funds to overcome the pink financial position of the state."The Chief Minister said that his government was reviewing whether to continue with the unemployment allowance for the youths started by the previous government.The state has over 10 lakh unemployed youths.He categorically stated that all political cases registered by the previous Congress government would be withdrawn."If the cases against the HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) were registered on political grounds, they will be withdrawn as well," he added.
The previous Congress government, led by Virbhadra Singh, had accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and HPCA President Anurag Thakur, now a former administrator, of alleged wrongdoings in the allotment of land to the sports body.Accusing Thakur of allotting land to the cricket body for building a residential complex for players near Dharamsala's picturesque stadium, the Congress government had said he had used his father's (former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal) influence during the previous BJP regime to acquire village land for making a five-star hotel for cricketers.A cheating and misappropriation case was registered against the HPCA over alleged wrongdoings in allotting land to the sports body, police said. The HPCA, however, said the case was politically motivated.