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Himachal introduces bill to strengthen Lokayukta

Himachal Pradesh,Politics, Wed, 04 Apr 2012 IANS

Shimla, April 4 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Wednesday introduced a bill to bring an effective Lokayukta system in place, giving more power to the ombudsman.


Introducing the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Bill in the assembly, Dhumal appealed to the members to go through it and have a healthy discussion.


"We (cabinet) have incorporated suggestions received from various quarters, including the public. It's an important bill. From the chief minister to a ward panch (ward member in panchayat), everybody is covered by it," Dhumal said.


Speaker Tulsi Ram said the bill had been listed for discussion Friday, the last day of the budget session.


Before the bill was introduced, Congress legislator G.S. Bali sought clarification from the government on Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal's recent criticism of the draft Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Bill.


Dhumal distanced himself from Team Anna members.


"No officials have gone to Delhi to meet Team Anna members," he said. "Kejriwal's assertions are not sacrosanct."


Dhumal's assertion is being seen as a face-saving exercise to cover up the refusal of the Team Anna to meet Himachal officials.


Kejriwal called the Himachal bill "very weak and ineffective" and asked the state to follow the Uttarakhand system of Lokayukta.


Team Anna has accused the Himachal government of drafting a bill that "seeks to legitimise corruption rather than punish those responsible for it."


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