The opposition Congress walked out from the Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday alleging that the Jai Ram Thakur led BJP government was planning to sell state properties. Congress MLAs walked out from the Assembly when Thakur was replying to allegations levelled by Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri during the Question Hour.
Raising a point of order during Question Hour, Agnihotri said a list of 16 hotels run by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) has been uploaded for leasing out on a website set up for the upcoming 'Rising Himachal Global Investors' Meet'.
Agnihotri said the state government had put “Himachal on sale” by planning to sell state properties. The chief minister said the government has not decided to sell or lease out any government property.
“The state government had prepared a list of HPTDC units running in loss for their proper management and this list was wrongly uploaded on the website, which was later removed when it came to its notice,” he added.
Countering him, Agnihotri said the list had not been wrongly uploaded as even the rates of properties were mentioned on the website and some interested parties applied for getting these hotels on lease. Some bureaucrats from "outside" are responsible for planning to sell state properties, he charged.
The chief minister said, “Sometimes human error occurs. The question of selling any government property does not arise. I have asked the chief secretary to submit a report within three days about how the list had been uploaded on the site.” Holding that the Congress is unduly raising the issue, the chief minister said the party kept on selling state properties when it was in power.
The then Congress government had sold a prime property of tourism department 'White Flower Hall' in Kufri by turning it into “equity” in 1995, he added. Surprisingly, the state government did not get even a single paisa till date against 'selling' the Hall, he added.
Similarly, the previous Congress government had leased out Angler's Bungalow in Kullu in 2014, he added. The CM further said the state cabinet during previous Congress government had decided to amend section 6 A and 7 A of HP Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1972 to allow using tea gardens land for tourism purposes.
On the contrary, the present government decided not to go ahead with the decision taken in principle by the previous Congress government in this regard.