Shimla, Nov. 18
Cooperative movement must be made a peoples’ movement as this sector has maximum potential of employment and self-employment opportunities and this movement must be expanded up to the grass root level to spread its reach amongst the rural populace. This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the 67th All India Cooperative Week function at Hotel Holiday Home, here today.
Chief Minister said that presently 4843 cooperative societies were functioning in Himachal Pradesh having more than 17.35 lakh members and active capital of Rs. 38677 crores. These societies are contributing immensely in distribution of essential commodities to the masses by managing 3159 depots in the 3226 panchayats of the state. He said that these fair price shops were not only providing the consumers essential commodities but also providing the farmers and horticulturists various inputs like fertilizers, insecticides and farm tools etc.
Jai Ram Thakur said that Co-operative Societies were the fundamental units of democracy and self reliance, but still a lot more is needed to be done. He said that Himachal Pradesh has pioneered the country in Co-operative movement as the first cooperative society was formed at Panjawar in Una district way back in the year 1892. He said that this reflects the public sentiment in self governance over the years. He said that States like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have done exceptionally well in the country. He said that we must study their model and implement the same in the State.
Chief Minister said that the Cooperative societies must work in a transparent and fair manner. He said that the State Government would consider to debar the person to contest Panchayat elections who was defaulter of the Cooperative societies loans. He said that the State Government would sympathetically consider all the suggestions made by various cooperative societies.
Chief Minister said that the State Government would take effective steps to strengthen the Cooperative Department in the State. He said that steps would be taken to fill up vacant posts in the department.
Jai Ram Thakur said that the role played by the Cooperative societies in this time of the pandemic had been laudable. He said that the unlock phase has witnessed a sharp spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the State. He said that this was due to the casual approach being adopted by the people. He urged the people to be more cautious and maintain social distancing and use face masks while going out from their homes.
Chief Minister unfurled the Cooperative Flag to mark the launch of Cooperative week. He also honoured Seema Dev and Pallavi for their achievements.
Urban Development and Cooperation Minister Suresh Bhardwaj expressed his concern over the fact that Himachal Pradesh has not been able to achieve much in cooperative sector though the cooperative movement in the country started from Panjawar village of Una district long back in year 1892. The State Government will make all-out efforts to strengthen this sector by involving more people in this movement. He said that all the essential commodities even today were being distributed even upto the remotest part of the State by the cooperative societies. The Cooperative societies had played a vital role during Covid-19 pandemic by distributing essential commodities to the people living in far flung areas of the State. He said that the National Cooperative Development Corporation would make an investment of Rs 10,000 crore in the Health sector in the country. He said that steps must be taken to ensure that there was no fraud in the Cooperative Banks.
President Cooperative Employees Union Savjeet Singh Thakur, while welcoming the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present on the occasion, detailed out various demands of the Cooperative Societies. He said that the cooperative workers must be declared as Corona Warriors.
Rattan Singh Pal Chairman HIMCOFED said that the credit of strengthening the cooperative movement in the State goes to the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. He said that the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the cooperative activities in the State. He said HIMCOFED has its own printing press and urged the Chief Minister to ask the authorities to print all the official documents in this press.