Uproar in Assembly

SHIMLA, DEC. 22. The policy of raising loans by the Government and the functioning of Himachal Pradesh University here figured in a discussion in the State Assembly here on Friday.

Initiating a discussion on the functioning of Himachal Pradesh University, Mr. Kaul Singh Thakur (Congress) alleged that the varsity was being saffronised. A BJP cell has been created in the campus which, he charged, was recommending appointments of RSS affiliated activists.

He quoted the instance of a direct appointment of a reader in the Department of Journalism, who has no previous experience of teaching and was not even properly qualified. He said merit was also being ignored as was the case in the Department of Tourism also.

Mr. Thakur further alleged that the university had not tabled its annual audit and accounts report and was being starved of funds. He wanted to know why the government was not helping this university.

Earlier in the day, there was a heated exchange of words when Mr. Babu Ram Mandyal (BJP) moved a motion for debate on the policy of loans being taken by the government, boards and corporations in the State.

He said the previous Congress government had committed some gross irregularities and financial mismanagement while taking loans to run its government. There was no transparency in its functioning since details of loans were never mentioned in the budgets and permission of the Union Government was never obtained. As a result, the present government was suffering and by the year 2004 the interest liability of the State would be Rs. 2,500 crores, he said.

Mr. Mandyal said that the autonomy of cooperative institutions in the State was destroyed when some of them like HIMFED, and the State Cooperative Bank were involved in loan bunglings during the Congress regime.

Mr. Vir Bhadra Singh, the Leader of Opposition, in his reply accused Mr. Mandyal of switching sides. He said whatever loans taken during his tenure were in accordance with the prevailing market conditions and the House was never misled on this issue. He said the Congress government had left Rs. 305 crores for its successor in 1998. He also accused the BJP Government of taking massive loans.

The Chief Minister, Mr. P. K. Dhumal, replied that no government could function without taking loans and whatever crunch the State was facing today was because of wrong management and inefficient pleading of the State's interests before the Planning Commission by the then Congress regime.