Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today said the COVID-19 situation in the state is not so alarming as compared to most other states in the country.

He said that to ensure that the pace of development does not hamper due to the Coronavirus, the government has decided to lay foundation stones of the projects online and also dedicate various developmental projects online.

“ The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to interact with each other virtually through electronic mode of communication,” he said, as he inaugurated and laid foundation stones of developmental projects worth about Rs 76.25 crore in Jubbal area of Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly segment (apple belt) in Shimla district through video conferencing from here.

The state has so far reported 1213 COVID-19 positive cases, including nine deaths. Two deaths of COVID-19 persons (one each in Chamba and Shimla) occurred due to non-COVID reasons. The active cases till last evening were 273.

Thakur said that work was in progress in Jubbal-Kotkhai area on 14 roads under NABARD with an expenditure of Rs 49 crore. He said that two roads were being completed under Central Road Fund by spending an amount of Rs 20 crore. Rs 68 crore were being spent on construction of 16 roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

He said that Rs 25 crore was being spent on construction of 42 buildings of various departments. Similarly, Rs seven crore were being spent on annual maintenance of 51 roads in the area, he added.

He said the government is spending an amount of Rs 10.51 crore to strengthen horticulture activities in the area. He said that Rs 7.95 crore have been provided to about 881 horticulturists of the area for providing anti hail nets and rupees three crore were provided to the farmers for purchase of tools, power sprayers, power tillers and for construction of water storage tanks in the area.

The Chief Minister said that horticulture is the major base of our economy.

“The government has ensured that the horticultural activities do not suffer due to lockdown. That is why the government exempted the horticulture and farm activities during the lockdown, “he said.

He said that over 300 shops of horticulture implements and inputs were allowed to open even during the lockdown. He said that carton factories were also allowed to function so that there was no dearth of carton boxes.

He said that adequate labourers were being made available for the horticulturists not only from Nepal, but also from districts like Sirmaur, Mandi, and Chamba etc.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that under the Pradhan Mantri Sinchai Yojana, six schemes worth Rs. 42 crore were being implemented in the Jubbal-Kotkhai area. He said that this would provide irrigation facilities to about 2292.02 hectare farm land. He said that the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur himself was a horticulturist and understands the problems of the farmers.

Chief Whip and local MLA Narender Bragta said it was unfortunate that the Congress leaders of the area were not able to digest the development going in the area and thus were making false and baseless allegations.

He thanked Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has ensured that the horticulturists of the area do not face any inconvenience due to COVID-19 crisis in marketing of their produce.

He said that effective steps have been taken to facilitate the growers to market their produce.

He said that the Shimla-Theog-Hatkoti-Rohru road, which was hanging fire for a long time was completed during the tenure of the present state government.