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Now, FM slams HSSC over ‘casteist’ question; Should the HSSC Chairman resign after this incident?

Chandigarh : After drawing flak from Opposition parties for a controversial question on Brahmins in a written test, the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) is in for criticism from the ruling BJP.

Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu has written a letter to HSSC Chairman Bharat Bhushan Bharti, expressing his “distress and concern” on the matter and has demanded action against those responsible for the question.

The question in the written examination for the post of Junior Engineer (Civil) held on April 10 sought to know from the candidates what is not considered a bad omen in Haryana. Of the four options, two were “sight of a Brahmin girl” and “meeting with a black Brahmin”.
In his May 11 letter that went viral on social media on Wednesday, Capt Abhimanyu described the matter as “very sensitive” and said it warranted an investigation.

“It is not only one section of society (Brahmins) who have been hurt by the question, but it has also dealt a blow to the social fabric of society,” the minister said in the letter.
He said it was evident that no single person had framed the questions. “It was a job of several persons. It is surprising and shocking that none could note that such a question had been included in the test.”

“How can we expect our society to march ahead in the positive direction if a government institution such as the HSSC start asking questions that denigrate a particular caste during its recruitment process?” the minister said.

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With record purchase, state faces problem of plenty; Is Haryana the right system for grain storage?

Chandigarh :

Cramped for space in warehouses, Haryana on Wednesday asked the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to speed up the movement of stocked rice and wheat to make way for this year’s bumper production.

The state is facing a problem of plenty. Sources said Additional Chief Secretary (Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs) Ram Niwas has written to FCI Chairman and Managing Director Yogendra Tripathi, requesting him to ensure speedy movement of about 22 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of custom-milled rice and 20 lakh MT of last year’s wheat stocked in warehouses.

In another letter to Ravi Kant, Secretary to the Centre in the Food and Public Distribution Department, Niwas has said the state should be allowed to construct warehouses with 15-lakh-MT capacity under the Private Entrepreneur Guarantee (PEG) scheme.
“Under the PEG scheme, the Centre had allotted godowns with a capacity of 35.03 lakh MT to Haryana. Of that, 34.05-lakh-MT-capacity godowns were constructed. After the construction, the FCI had assured the state that no stock will be stored on open plinths. It then assured that there was no storage gap (difference between storage capacity and stock) except for 9.5-lakh-MT-capacity silos which are to be constructed. However, 19 lakh MT of wheat was stored in the open last year and nearly 40 lakh MT of wheat will have to be stocked in the open this year,” Ram Niwas reportedly said in his letter to the Centre.

Sources say procurement agencies have a storage capacity for 120 lakh MT of grains in the state — 89 lakh MT in warehouses and 31 lakh MT on open plinths. In warehouses, about 22-lakh-MT rice is stored, 20 lakh MT wheat, and 8 lakh MT gunny bags and fertilisers.

This leaves space for about 40 lakh MT of wheat out of 87.27 lakh MT procured till Tuesday, the last day for purchase. The rest of the stock will have to be stacked on open plinths.

“The government has placed orders for 4,000 polythene covers, as at least 40 lakh MT of wheat has to be stored on open plinths,” Niwas said, adding the department was expecting 80 to 82 lakh MT of wheat this time and had made arrangements for it.
“We have arranged additional gunny bags for 25 lakh quintals from the Jute Commissioner’s office and also sought permission to use last year’s bags with a capacity of 25 to 30 lakh quintals to meet the requirement,” he added.

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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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