Another duel between Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh in House

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Shimla, Apr 9 (UNI) In yet another stand-off between Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and former Congress chief minister Virbhadra Singh in the House within a week, both leaders today entered a verbal duel over the issue of irregularities in sanctioning nursing colleges in the state during the previous Congress government's tenure.

It all began when Mr Singh questioned the reason mentioned by Health Minister Rajeev Bindal for High Court's decision to turn down no-objection certificates (NOCs) allotted by previous government for new nursing colleges during Question Hour.

Mr Dhumal stood up and said the Congress government was in a habit of opening medical institutions, without requisite permission from the Central councils, whether it was Medical Council of India in case of Tanda Medical College or Dental Council of India in case of Dental College in Shimla.

In reaction to this, Mr Singh wanted to speak. However, Mr Dhumal asked him to sit down and not to interrupt him.

On this, Mr Singh simply said the government was suffering from Virbhadra phobia. This ted to further arguments from Mr Dhumal, who referred to his statement carried in newspapers and said what phobia the government can have of a person, who is being ignored by his own party and the high command.

Assembly Speaker Tulsi Ram later intervened to calm them and said that the members should stand up and then speak in the House.

Earlier, while replying to a question raised by Rikhi Ram Kaundal of BJP, Mr Bindal said that the High Court had turned down the NOC allotted to all nursing colleges proposed by the earlier government as it had not followed the recommendation of the state inspection committee.

The former chief minister, however, contended that the lacunae pointed out by the High Court was that the colleges needed prior approval of Nursing Council of India.

UNI AS PS AM RN2113

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