149 HP schools shut by BJP govt to re-open
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The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday decided to reopen all 149 government schools, which were de-notified by the previous BJP government. The decision was taken in a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and which lasted for nearly six hours.
The BJP government had closed down these schools – which included 34 primary, 66 middle, 25 higher secondary and 24 senior secondary schools - on the grounds that there were less than 10 students in some of the primary schools. The government had instead offered to pay travel expenses for the affected students to reach the next neighbouring school.
The Congress had then vehemently opposed the decision when in Opposition and on Wednesday the new government decided to reopen all the closed schools. "It's not a question of expansion of schools but more a matter of imparting quality education as Himachal Pradesh is lagging behind on this front," said a senior official after the cabinet meeting.
In another policy decision, the cabinet cleared a proposal of the Food and Supplies department to invite global tenders for the purchase of pulses that are handed to PDS ration shops. The government hopes that this will bring down the rates of pulses and the benefit can be passed on to consumers.
The cabinet also decided that para medical staff whose cadre had been converted from state to district level by the previous government would again be made state cadre. Further, all nursing institutions that had obtained no-objection certificates (NOC) from the previous government would be inspected to check if they fulfil norms prescribed by the Indian Nursing Council.
Other major decisions
The cabinet decided to give its go ahead for the construction of six traffic tunnels, a project proposed during the BJP's tenure.
Cabinet approved a proposal for a tripartite MoU between the state, the Centre and Bharat Broadband Network Limited to create a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) in panchayats across the state.
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