2014 Achievements and Announcements
Himachal This Week Team Cover Story
The year 2014 came as a mixed bag of feelings for Himachal. Where the Thalout tragedy brought bad name to the state, theft of Ragunath idol from Ragunath temple in Kullu exposed the safety and security aspect. However, the year could not be termed as disastrous as it also witnessed numerous achievements, announcements, milestones and celebrations. Inclusion of Rajy Sabha Member from Himachal J.P. Nadda in the Union Cabinet raised both the expectations and prowess of this hilly state and ban on animal sacrifice related to religious activities revealed the reformative side of Himachal. And the marriage of Congress Senior Leader Sukh Ram’s grandson Ayush Sharma with Bollywood’s Dabang Salman Khan’s younger sister Arpita Khan emerged as event of year, as far as India is concerned in general and Himachal in particular.
Nadda Inducted in Union Cabinet
The BJP leader and Rajya Sabha Member from Himachal, J.P. Nadda’s induction as Health Minister in the Union Cabinet was one of the most cheerful news for Himachal in 2014. His inclusion in the Union Cabinet has raised expectations of every Himachali and he too has reciprocated well by announcing AIIMS for Himachal.
* Announcement of IIM for the hill state
* Announcement of AIIMS at Bilaspur in Himachal
* Central University of Himachal Pradesh to come up in Dharamshala
Year of Achievements
* The Himachal Pradesh State Cooperative Bank was adjudged as best Cooperative Bank in India amongst all existing cooperative banks in the country.
* Himachal Pradesh Prisons Department’s “JailVaarta” project, which enables prisoners to interact with their relatives through video conferencing, was awarded “The Manthan-South Asia and Asia pacific Award 2014” in at New Delhi.
First e-Vidhan Sabha of India
Himachal Vidhan Sabha became the first paperless assembly in the country. The assembly went online on occasion of 108th birth anniversary of Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
Event of the Year
Salman’s Sister Marriage with Sukh Ram’s Grandson
The marriage of veteran Congress Leader Sukh Ram’s grandson Ayush Sharma with Salman Khan’s younger sister Arpita Khan was event of year for every Himachali. Thanks to the bride’s doting big bro Salman Khan who left no stone unturned to make her baby sister’s wedding a royal event. The event gathered extreme limelight in all sections of media; including print, electronic and social media. Association of political bigwigs and numero uno stars of Bollywood made the event a talk of town. While Seven-star hotel Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad hosted the marriage ceremony, the newlywed couple was also blessed by Sallu bhai in his own style. The Dabangg Khan of Bollywood gifted a whopping 16 crore three bedroom terrace flat at Carters Road, Mumbai and a swanky Rolls Royce Phantom car worth Rs. 3.5 crore to the couple.
World Heritage Site Status for GNHP
The Great Himalayan National Park (GNHP) in Kullu district was accorded the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO, making it a second monument after the Shimla-Kalka narrow gauge railway line to get this distinction.
In a landmark judgment, Himachal Pradesh High Court banned the centuries-old tradition of animals sacrifice in religious places. Even the famous Kullu Dussehra festival was celebrated without any animal sacrifice in 2014, a first in the more than 300 years old history of Dussehra celebrations in Kullu.
Highlights of 2014
Thalout tragedy emerged as biggest tragedy of the year whereby a co-tour guide and 24 students of Hyderabad based engineering college were washed away in Beas River in Mandi
Ragunath Idol Theft
Theft of ancient idol of Ragunath, the presiding deity of about 300 deities of Kullu valley, from Sultanpur Temple in Kullu at the end of the year came as a shocker for everyone
The implementation of RUSA in educational system too attracted ire of students and politicians. Students protested in entire length and breadth of Himachal against RUSA
Baffled and Bruised
The humiliating defeat of Congress in all four constituencies in 2014 Lok Sabha elections left Congress leaders and workers perplexed
Poor Financial Condition
The state government faced brunt of opposition throughout the year for poor financial condition of the state. The government took loans of several crores throughout the year to come out of the tight situation
Much hullabaloo was created on the conductor recruitment drive with opposition alleging leakage of question paper. Owing to the controversy, Himachal High Court ordered to stayed the recruitment drive.
Red Beacons Issue
Issue of ban of red beacons too remained in limelight in 2014. MLAs repeatedly requested chief minister to accord use of red beacons atop their vehicles, but they have to settle down for amber lights as per instructions of the Supreme Court.
Much controversy escalated on organizational division of Kangra and Mandi districts in 2014 with Transport Minister G.S. Bali indicating to take big political decisions on the issue.