Roadways staff stir leaves commuters high and dry
The one-day ‘chakka jam’ on Tuesday by Haryana Roadways (HR) employees’ unions against the reported opening up of the public transport sector to private players by Manohar Lal Khattar government left over 33 lakh commuters across the state at the mercy of private transporters.
With over 4,000 HR buses off the roads, commuters were a harassed lot with operators of over 1,000 private buses and thousands of maxi-cabs and three-wheelers across the state making a quick buck.
Safety norms were thrown to the winds, with commuters having no option but to use overloaded maxi-cabs, private buses and three-wheelers. However, private transport still fell short of needs of the people, who had a harrowing time in getting conveyance in the sultry weather.
“I have to go Kurukshetra University, but am facing problems due to the strike. I was not aware of this strike earlier,” complained Surinder Kumar, a student from Karnal.
In routine, over 20 lakh commuters across Haryana are at the mercy of unsafe and unreliable transport such as maxi-cabs and three-wheelers daily as HR buses and private buses can cater to the needs of only about 12.5 lakh of the 33 lakh commuters (37.8 per cent).
Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar said action would be initiated against the drivers recruited this year who were on probation if they went on strike. If any employee who was on probation joined the strike, his services could be terminated, he added.
The Haryana Government had recently decided to add 650 buses to its fleet of around 4,100 buses by entering into an agreement with private parties on km basis.
Transport unions had been opposing the addition of 650 buses to the HR fleet, arguing that this would open the public transport sector to private players. Today’s ‘chakka jam’ was part of the agitation by unions.
“There is no proposal to privatise roadways services. About 500 buses of the department and 950 buses of cooperative societies are plying smoothly in the state. I am in constant touch with officers and the government is making concerted efforts to ensure that people do not face any inconvenience,” said Panwar.
The Sarv Karamchari Sangh, apex body of state government employees, claimed that the strike was almost complete, with over 4,000 HR buses remaining off the roads.
The unions would organise district-level protests on Thursday if the show-cause notices issued to certain drivers by the Transport Department were not withdrawn by Wednesday, said Subhash Lamba, general secretary of the sangh.
A majority of the HR buses remained off the roads in Karnal, Kaithal, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Sirsa, Fatehabad and Ambala districts. While the strike evoked a poor response in Jhajjar, it the response was a mixed one in Panipat district.
Why the protest
Transport unions are opposing the addition of 650 buses to the Haryana Roadways fleet, arguing that it will open the public transport sector to private players. The Haryana Government had recently decided to add 650 buses to its fleet of around 4,100 buses by entering into an agreement with private parties on km basis.
The day in numbers
- Over 4,000 Haryana Roadways buses stay off roads
- Operators of over 1,000 private buses make a killing
- Good day for thousands of maxi-cabs, three-wheelers
- A total of 33 lakh passengers daily commuters in state
- HR buses, private buses cater to 12.5 lakh commuters
Is the roadways employees' strike is justified?
Woman among two held for blackmail
Had demanded Rs 1 cr from trader after honey trapping him
The local police have arrested two persons, including a woman, in connection with allegedly blackmailing a businessman with the threat of a rape case after honey trapping him.
The accused are part of a gang whose five members are absconding. The arrested members have admitted to blackmailing at least three victims and extorting over Rs 25 lakh from them after threatening them with registration of rape cases in the past nine months.
Two members had been arrested a few months ago. A Crime Branch team led by Inspector Navin Kumar managed to arrest one Rambir, a resident of Nangal Jat village of Palwal, on Monday and Hina (name changed), a resident of Gurugram on Tuesday.
The gang lured victims either on phone or through internet. Ramesh Kumar, a businessman from Hodal, fell into the trap when he was “abducted” after he agreed to meet a woman on October 16, 2017. Kumar was taken to a house in Sector 92 of Noida where he was told to shell Rs 1 crore for not lodging a rape complaint against him on basis of a clip prepared in an objectionable condition.
Kumar was reportedly “let off” after he gave Rs 16 lakh. He lodged a complaint on November 6, 2017, for blackmailing and extortion.
Are Honey Trap incidents increasing in Haryana?
No preference to BCs with income up to Rs3 lakh, says High Court
Exactly two years after the Haryana Government issued a notification, sub-classifying Backward Classes (BCs) for granting preference to those with annual income up to Rs 3 lakh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday set aside the same before ordering fresh counselling for MBBS courses.
The ruling came after the Bench of Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu was told that the impugned notification dated August 7, 2016, contemplated that children belonging to Backward Classes having gross annual income of up to Rs 3 lakh would get the benefit of reservation in services and admission in educational institutions first. The left-out quota would go to category of Backward Classes annually earning more than Rs 3 lakh, but up to Rs 6 lakh.
Taking up petitions by Nisha and other MBBS aspirants, the Bench asserted that social advancement of a caste or a group would have to be identified on empirical data. It could not be assumed straightway that those with income above Rs 3 lakh would have unshackled social backwardness. Such an exclusion from within the identified BCs could not stand the test of constitutional requirement.
The Bench asserted: “The end result is that the state has given a benefit with one hand only to take it away with the other. There is absolutely no established correlation between the socially backward and the economic deprived. We are of the opinion that the impugned notification has to be held bad in law and deserves to be set aside.”
The Bench asserted the state faltered in prescribing the criteria as it was not substantiated by any verifiable data to establish social backwardness of classes that stood to benefit. By virtue of an earlier notification, the state had quoted certain sections of the society as backward on the basis of their caste and occupation. It limited the benefit to creamy layer earning up to Rs 6 lakh. “This ostensibly was done on the basis of Government of India’s classification of economic criteria,” said the Bench.
The Bench added it would be difficult to say that one with an income of Rs 3 lakh was more favourably placed than the one with less than Rs 3 lakh income in terms of social status or vocation. Once it was accepted that certain categories, though identified as backward, would be treated as creamy layer with income exceeding Rs 6 lakh, further sub-classification without inputs could be termed as arbitrary, ensuring reverse discrimination which closed doors of equitable distribution.
Is this decision right?
Eye on elections, govt allows illegal buildings’ regularisation
In yet another sop to residents of municipal areas across the state ahead of next year’s parliamentary and Assembly elections, Manohar Lal Khattar government has allowed regularisation of illegal residential and commercial buildings.
However, the regularisation of illegal constructions will come at a price. The residents concerned will have to shell out scrutiny fee of Rs 10 per square metre, besides compounding fee and development charges.
There is a rider that “regularisation of unauthorised construction shall be permitted only for 10 years and within this period, the applicant has to construct or rectify his building as per building bylaws”.
“The applicant will have to give an undertaking to rectify non-compoundable construction in accordance with parameters specified in the Haryana Building Code within 10 years,” read a notification issued by Anand Mohan Sharan, Principal Secretary, Urban Local Bodies.
“In case he does not meet building plan norms, the municipality has the right to take all action to bring building as per law and no immunity shall be claimed from the any court,” stated the notification.
The notification made it clear that “no charge is to be levied on unauthorised construction beyond compoundable limit as it is to be rectified or demolished by the applicant in 10 years”.
Officials said broadly three types of buildings would come in the unauthorised category which could be regularised. First, buildings constructed as per norms of the Haryana Building Code for which permission from the municipality had not been taken were included.
Secondly, buildings for which permission from municipality was taken but construction not done as per approved building plans (beyond compoundable limits) found mention. Lastly were buildings for which permission from municipality was not taken and construction done beyond compoundable limits.
Should the government give such a discount?
CPCB closure notice to 7 more industrial units; Will the decision of the Pollution Control Board improve?
CPCB has served a show-cause notice to a handloom industry for violating emission norms.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has served closure notice to seven more industrial units, including two big automobile showrooms, and also served a show-cause notice to a handloom industry for violating emission norms.
The CPCB teams raided 126 industrial units in May and June and started sending closure order to the units which failed the analysis reports.
The CPCB has directed the UHBVN to disconnect power connections to these units. The units will not be allowed to resume operations until permission is obtained from the CPCB.
According to information available, a team of the CPCB carried out an inspection at Aadit motors (Ford showroom), Sector 8 near toll plaza on May 15 and observed that effluent treatment plant (ETP) was non-operational and untreated effluents were discharged on the land leading to a nearby drain.
The CPCB team inspected Lally Automobiles on May 28 and observed that the ETP was found non-operational during the inspection and the unit was discharging untreated effluents into an adjacent plot by a flexible pipeline.
The team inspected Gupta International on the Pasina Khurd road at Sewah on May 28 and found that the unit was dumping waste material on the adjacent plot, which might cause the degradation of the groundwater of the area. The CPCB served a show-cause notice to the unit and directed to lift all the hazardous wastes dumped on the adjacent land and to dispose it in a scientific manner with proper records.
The CPCB team inspected Nile Overseas at Pardhana village on June 7 and found the unit non-operational; Metro Agri industries on May 31 and found the unit non-operational; Satish Steel Industries in Samalkha on May 21, but the unit was found closed during inspection.
Besides, the CPCB team raided Jagriti Drapers on May 28 and found that the ETP was non-operational. The team also inspected Kanodia Global Private Limited on the Pasina Khurd road and found the unit operational. The team collected samples of the inlet and outlet of the ETP and the outlet samples were exceeding the prescribed limit.
Bhupender Singh Chahal, Regional Officer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), said, “Twelve closure notices have been received here and three units in Panipat have been closed in compliance with the orders of the CPCB.”