Virbhadra Created 2nd Assembly Complex In Dharamsala, His Son Red Flags It

Virbhadra created 2nd Assembly complex in Dharamsala, his son red flags it

By Vishal Gulati
Dharamsala, Jan 8 : One of the youngest legislators in the newly constituted Himachal Pradesh assembly, whose father and six-time Chief Minister late Virbhadra Singh was the brain behind constructing a palatial building in Dharamsala that functions as the states second assembly for just a few days every winter, has pleaded for its better utilisation.

 Virbhadra Created 2nd Assembly Complex In Dharamsala, His Son Red Flags

Indirectly saying that this decision was motivated by political considerations, second-time Congress legislator Vikramaditya Singh’s concern is over the immense drain to the exchequer for the round-the-year maintenance and upkeep of the assembly building that is located 250 km from the state capital.

He was the lone legislator to raise his voice over the wasteful expenditure on the maintenance of the complex located with a picturesque view of the mighty snow-clad Dhauladhar range.

Speaking during the three-day winter session of the assembly here that concluded on January 6, he said “everyone knows that this complex is holding a winter session every year for four-five days.To make optimum use of its infrastructure, the Speaker should work to get it converted into a national e-Vidhan Academy meant for lawmakers from across the country.”

Official sources told IANS that the government incurs an annual expenditure of over Rs 5 crore on the upkeep of the complex.There is a permanent staff of 20, while 100-odd assembly staffers move to Dharamsala from Shimla for the winter session.

It is learnt that during the winter session here, the government on an average spends Rs 65-75 lakh.

However, this expenditure is almost double than the expenditure incurred during other sessions held in Shimla.

All charges are waived for legislators, bureaucrats and government functionaries.

At times, they come with spouses or entire families.

The Himachal Pradesh assembly is India’s first paperless legislature.

Members of Parliament and state legislative assemblies will be trained to go paperless in their respective assemblies, explained Vikramaditya Singh, 33, while congratulating Kuldeep Singh Pathania on his election as Speaker.

Himachal Pradesh was the first state to introduce paperless e-working in the Shimla and Dharamsala assemblies in 2014 with the commissioning of the Rs 8.12 crore e-Vidhan Sabha project of the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Previous Speaker B.B.L.Butail was the brain behind the commissioning and success of the e-assembly that helped save approximately Rs 15 crore annually.

“This (assembly) complex is located in Kangra district and plays an important role for upholding an emotional bonding in the state,” said Vikramaditya Singh, who pleaded with the Speaker to give sufficient time to the young legislators compared to the veterans to take up their issues and “you would be benevolent towards them”.

He reminded the Speaker that on previous occasions his predecessors too raised the issue with the Central government of converting the assembly into a national e-Vidhan Academy.

Besides Butail, previous Speaker Rajeev Bindal had also sought conversion of the assembly building into a national e-Vidhan Academy for all 40 legislatures and even the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for adopting the e-Vidhan model in their respective assemblies.

Officials said Butail had prepared a detailed Rs 100-crore project for the e-Vidhan Academy.

In what is widely regarded as a political exercise by the Congress led by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to woo the electorate of the lower hills, the first winter session of the assembly was held in Dharamsala in 2005.

The assembly complex is located on a 1.6 acre plot and cost Rs 7-8 crore to build.

With the BJP taking over the reins of the state government in 2007, it became a political compulsion for it to stick to the move.In December 2012, a Congress government again came to the helm in the state and it continued with the practice of holding one session in Dharamsala.

From 2017 to 2022, the BJP government continued with this practice.

Now the Congress is following the compulsion for political gains.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader and two-time former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had said the practice of holding the winter session in Dharamsala was started by the Congress government.

“During our stint (2007-12) we tried to reduce the overall expenditure on holding the session in Dharamsala and we succeeded too,” Dhumal had told IANS.

But many legislators of both the ruling Congress and the BJP believe that holding the winter session outside the state capital is a populist move which they now view as a drain on the exchequer.

This practice of two Vidhan Sabhas has to be ended keeping in mind the larger interest of the state, especially the poor fiscal health of the state, they believe.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])


#Virbhadra #Assembly #complex #Dharamsala #flags # Vishal #Dhumal #Prem #Prem Kumar #Rajeev #Vishal #Jan #Rajeev #Himachal Pradesh #Kangra #Shimla #Dhar #Congress #Bharatiya Janata Party


Follow Us on FacebookFollow Us on WhatsAppFollow Us on Twitter