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Sanitation staff continue stir as talks with CM fail; Will this make a bad situation in Haryana?

Chandigarh : Talks between a delegation led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and representatives of striking sanitation workers failed on Wednesday, with the employees deciding to continue their stir.

The government conceded minor demands of the employees and decided on a committee under the Chief Secretary to examine the issue of equal pay for equal work, but the deadlock over major demands of regularisation of contractual staff and minimum salary of Rs18,000 per month persisted.

The executive committee of the Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangh would meet in Rohtak on Thursday to chalk out the future course of action.

Khattar claimed that consensus had been reached on some demands of safai karamcharis and their ‘genuine’ issues would be sorted out within the next eight days.
On the other hand, Subhash Lamba, general secretary of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh, and Naresh Shastri, president of the Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangh, said they were not satisfied with the government’s response to their demands, especially regularisation of staff in all wings of civic bodies.

Earlier, Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain claimed that the Safai Karamchari Union, affiliated to the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, had agreed to call off the strike. She said the committee on equal pay for equal work would submit its report before May 31.
She said it had been decided to enhance special allowance for sweepers from Rs300 to Rs1,000. She said it was decided that municipal bodies would not go in for new outsourcing contracts on supply of safai karamcharis and sewer men.

The present outsourcing contracts would continue till the date of expiry, after which the outsourced manpower would be put on municipal rolls, she asserted.
The government also decided to request the Haryana Staff Selection Commission to relax eligibility conditions for fire personnel currently working on contractual basis.
Regularisation of contractual staff, minimum salary of Rs18,000 per month, ex gratia, pension, risk allowance, cashless facility and absorption of about 1,400 employees of the Fire Department into government grade were some of the demands of employees.
Two major demands — regularisation of contractual staff and minimum salary of Rs18,000 per month — were part of the BJP manifesto for the 2014 Assembly elections.
More than 30,000 employees, including safai karamcharis of nearly 90 municipal corporations, committees and councils, had been on strike since May 9 in support of their demands, putting residents to inconvenience in the wake of non-collection of garbage.
Tanwar backing for regular job demand  

Kurukshetra: State Congress president Ashok Tanwar on Thursday supported the demand to regularise outsourced manpower in local bodies of Haryana. Tanwar, who was here for a workers' meeting, said it was unfortunate the state government was not ready to address the problems highlighted by the protesting safai karamcharis and other sections. He blamed the BJP for causing a social divide for the political gain.

What they seek 

  • Regularisation of staff
  • Minimum pay of Rs 18,000 a month
  • Ex gratia, pension, risk allowance, cashless facility
  • Absorption of Fire Dept staff into govt grade
  • Implementation of equal-work-equal-pay principle

Govt’s sops

  • Chief Secretary to submit report on equal-work-equal-pay principle by May 31
  • Hike in special allowance for sweepers from Rs 300 to Rs 1,000
  • No new outsourcing contracts by MCs for safai karamcharis
  • HSSC to relax eligibility conditions for regular jobs to contractual fire staff

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BJP resorting to ‘horsetrading’, alleges Kumaraswamy; Is there a buzz in Karnataka?

Bengaluru :
JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday accused the BJP of being in a "hurry" to form the government in Karnataka despite falling short of numbers, and resorting to "horsetrading" by trying to lure his party MLAs with money.

Speaking to reporters here after his election as leader of the JD(S) Legislature Party, he alleged that BJP was making attempts to lure his party MLAs with monetary offers.
The BJP was trying to "misuse" its power being in office at the Centre, he charged. Kumaraswamy said the Congress-JD(S) combine had a "clear majority" with the support of 116 MLAs.

"Without the numbers, how can they (BJP) form the government?" he asked.
Kumaraswamy said he was not out to grab power. As the state Assembly polls gave a fractured verdict, the JD(S) and Congress have come together and petitioned Governor Vajubhai Vala to allow the combine to form its government.

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Congress rules over 2.5-crore population: Khattar; After Karnataka's election BJP booming?

Panchkula : Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the Congress should change its name to ‘Punjab-Puducherry Parivar Party’ as it was now ruling only in 2.5 per cent of the country’s population.

He said till the time the Congress was under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, they would never succeed.

He said this while addressing the party workers at the BJP office in Panchkula after the party’s victory in the Karnataka Assembly elections.

Khattar said the BJP workers should get ready for the Lok Sabha elections to be held in May 2019 and for Haryana in October 2019.

Referring to the willingness expressed by Rahul Gandhi to be a prime ministerial candidate, the Chief Minister said he should leave this wish for 2019 as well as for 2024 elections.

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Replace EVMs with ballot papers, suggests Hooda; Is this the right demand?

Rohtak : Former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda has stated that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) should be replaced with ballot papers, which were being used for casting votes in most of the advanced countries across the world.

Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, he termed the BJP Government as inefficient and directionless. Hooda also alleged a scam in the contract-based recruitments being carried out in the state.

Coming down heavily on the state leadership regarding heaps of garbage lying along the roads, in markets and residential localities, the Congress leader said the Chief Minister was on a foreign tour, while the residents were grappling with such situation reminds one of the old legend ‘Nero was fiddling, while Rome was burning.’

In response to a query, the former Chief Minister maintained that the BJP Government in Haryana was making false claims regarding investments being made in the state.
“The Chief Minister has been claiming that MoUs, involving crores of rupees, has been signed with different groups and companies. Such MoUs are meaningless unless the money is actually invested in the state,” he said.

Hooda pointed out that no new IMTs had been established in the state during the BJP regime and the tall claims being made by the government in the name of investment were hollow. He also accused the BJP Government of making false promises of doubling the income of farmers by 2022.

On being questioned about the ‘Namaaz’ row in Gurugram, he said the BJP wanted to create division and friction between residents of different religions, castes and communities.

He also announced that the next phase of his ‘jan-kranti yatra’ would begin from Samalakha on June 3 and cover all Assembly segments in the state.
“The underlying idea behind the exercise is to make the BJP Government realise its responsibilities towards the people of the state,” he added.

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State sets new record in wheat procurement; Have the government rewarded the farmers on the bumper crop?

Chandigarh : Thanks to a bumper crop this year, Haryana has set a new record in wheat procurement since the state’s inception in 1966. Tuesday was the last of procurement by government agencies.

Sources say 87.21 lakh MT of wheat was procured till Monday. The previous highest procurement was 87.16 lakh MT in 2012-13.

Ram Niwas, Additional Chief Secretary (Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs), said of the 87,21,398 MT of wheat procured till Monday, 87,20,184 MT was purchased at an MSP of Rs 1,735 per quintal, with private traders bought only 1,214 MT.

Haryana witnessed a record production of wheat this year. The Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department has put the figure at 132.16 lakh MT.

“Though crop-cutting experiments (CCEs) of the department are yet to be completed, we are expecting a yield of more than 52 quintals per hectare. With wheat grown on 25.23 lakh hectares this time, the production will surpass the previous highest figure of 131.19 lakh MT achieved in 2012-13,” said Suresh Kumar Gahlawat, Additional Director, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department.

Last year, 113.12 lakh MT of wheat was produced in the state. Sources say climatic conditions conducive for the growth of wheat were the reason for a bumper crop.
Agriculture experts say there were a few complaints of pest attacks and yellow rust as temperature as well as humidity remained conducive this year.

Sources say grain-ripening process in wheat is good if temperature remains optimum and doesn’t show a sudden rise in March and April, a condition that persisted this year.

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