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Bali fires 30 HRTC striking employees (leaders), ESMA imposed to deter staff from striking in future

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6,500 employees are on contract. The contractual driver gets Rs 6,000 per month while conductor Rs 4,000. Employees were demanding Rs 8,310 for drivers and Rs 7,810 for conductors only while the state government has hiked salaries and perks of MLAs and ministers by 100 per cent at one go.

SHIMLA- The transport minister G.S. Bali yesterday dismissed 30 employees of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) for going on strike despite High Court orders and union leaders are specifically targeted. This is the first occasion when HP government has taken such a decision to sack large number of employees at one go. The government also invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act to deter HRTC staff from going on strike in future. Along with HRTC, ESMA was also imposed on 108 employees who were to go on strike from Friday.

It implies that in future HRTC employees neither could go on strike, nor could they force others to do so as ESMA provides punishment for three-year jail, said HRTC, Ashok Tiwari.

Bali said the action against the 30 employees has been taken in accordance with HC orders. The dismissed employees had gone on strike despite High Court restraining them from strike and did not join back at their place of work, he said. The employees refused to receive copy of HC orders during a meeting held on June 14, which was directly against court orders, he added.

The decision has sent waves of terror among employees, which appears to be the basic intention of taking such action.  The Honorable High Court didn’t hesitate a bit to announce contempt of court against striking employees, but it hadn’t spoken a word against the minister who had openly defied its orders to not park vehicles in core Shimla Mall area. Surprisingly, two traffic constables were immediately suspended when they tried to remind the minister of HC orders.  This partial strictness is quite puzzling.

List of Sacked HRTC Employees include

Shankar Singh Vidya Sagar, Laxmi Dutt, Brijlal,  Naanak Shandil, Kuldeep Thakur, Dalip Kumar, Khemender Gupta, Kushal, Jasmer Rana, Suresh Kumar, Gulab Singh, Subhash Verma, Satya Prakash,  Roshan Chauhan, Rajendra Singha, Roop Chand, Desraj, Devender kumar, Jeet Ram, Dalip Kumar, Hemant Kumar, Rajender Thakur, Devraj, Hardayaal Singh, Prithvi Raj, Yashpal, Pawan Kumar Guleria, Neel Kamal, and Jaspal Sultan

However, the employees said they haven’t yet received any orders of their dismissal. Employees also said if they are sacked, they will approach the high court saying they have full faith in the court.

What HRTC Employees Said

Though Bali claimed the HRTC had redressed and paid most of the arrears, including pension, to its retired employees till May 2016, he remained non-committal about the payment of HRTC liability worth Rs 150 crore for 2008-12 and blamed it on the previous BJP government.

HRTC employees alleged the HRTC management was trying to run the transport by hiring drivers and contractors on contract and 6,500 employees are on contract. The contractual driver gets Rs 6,000 per month while conductor Rs 4,000. We demand Rs 8,310 for drivers and Rs 7,810 for conductors only while the state government has hiked salaries and perks of MLAs and ministers by 100 per cent at one go.

Employee has also demanded the HRTC should be upgraded to roadways as was the case in Punjab and Haryana because Himachal followed neighbouring states in pay scale for all government employees and HRTC employees should be treated on a par with them, said JCC members.

What GS Bali Said

He said the HRTC had given financial benefits to the tune of Rs 560 crore to the employees.

Referring to the benefits given to the employees, Bali said that 1651 appointments were made during past three years, 1250 employees were promoted, 1846 regularized and 347 recruitments were made on compassionate grounds.

He said the drivers and conductors, who have completed 20 years of service were given two special increments and the employees were also given the benefit of 4-9-14, grade pay, over time, leave encashment, medical allowance and many other benefits.

 

Bali said in the meeting with the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) leaders of the HRTC unions, the HRTC management told them about the HC orders, but they still went on strike which was illegal

We have decided to impose ESMA in HRTC keeping with the attitude of the employees, who went on strike against the Court orders, the minister said.

Bali said if these demands were accepted, the state would be put under high financial burden of Rs 1,000 crore.

There isn’t doubt that state failed to find reach any conclusion by its on regarding the unrest among HRTC employees who have been protesting since past 2-3 years over various issues including regularization and release of monetary benefits. The role of the transport minister is questionable because he could provide any direction to HRTC or its employees during this time.  HRTC is consistently facing financial losses due to lack of vision.

Campus Watch

Bahra University and Siemens to run engineering course jointly

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SHIMLA- Solan based privately owned Bahra University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with industrial giant Siemens Industry Software India Private Limited (SISW). The tie up will enable University to set up Siemens Certified Professional Learning Center at its campus.

Suman Bose, Managing Director & CEO for Siemens and Dr. SK Bansal, Vice-Chancellor Bahra University signed the MoU at University campus.

Elaborating on the benefits of the MoU Dr. Bansal said the University will start a new batch of 4-year integrated B.Tech, Mechanical with specialization in Design and Development program at their campus.

Dr. Bansal said the above course will be driven to produce industry ready engineers around broad specializations in industry 4.0 and Smart Factory, design and development, manufacturing and computer aided analysis. He said

Students successfully completing the course per stipulated guidelines will be awarded B.Tech Mechanical degree through the University and Certificate of Merit for the opted specialization in Design and Development through Siemens Industry Software India Private Limited,

Suman Bose assured to provide assistance to arrange for internship for students of University and also promised to assist in arranging industry projects for the students and endeavor to conduct conference and seminars in the University.

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Creative Corner

Himachal’s award winning filmmaker Ajay Saklani shares his journey with Himachal Watcher

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SHIMLA- It is often said, every great dream begins with a dreamer. One must always remember that one has within self the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

Keeping in mind the same talented Ajay Saklani hailing from a remote village Sihan, district Mandi of Himachal Pradesh, made the state proud not at national but even at international level by bagging two international awards during screening of his film Saanjh – a Himachali feature film at THE BORREGO SPRINGS FILM FESTIVAL (held in California, USA) where it was chosen as the Best Feature Film among 750 other entries from around the globe was and “Award of merit” at Accolade Global Film Competition.

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Ajay hails from a very humble background and showed people that one should be the flame and not the moth as having passed out from a government school his dream to achieve recognition not just for self but even for state and country.

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Sharing his journey to fame he with Himachal Watcher’s Community Member, Ritanjali Hastir, Ajay said,

My father was in army and he dreamt about me too following his footsteps. However, I was more inclined towards filmmaking that led me to taste the magic of theatre world.

As they say follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams so without any knowledge and guidance on filmmaking, Ajay shifted to Delhi in 2005.

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There he joined RGB 4:3 Productions and learned the basics of filmmaking from Surender Sagar. He started his career as an editor and worked with some more production houses and few TV channels like Shakti TV, MH One Music, PTC Punjabi, Day & Night News to name.

His first documentary ‘Dyalee – a fading glory’ in 2006 in my village which helped him learn filmmaking basics. His second documentary ‘Upaasmar – The Taste of Hunger’ in 2011 was shot in the tribal areas of Maharashtra raising the issue of Malnutrition deaths in India and finally in 2014 after coming back to Himachal his own production company Silent Hills Studio in Hamirpur came into existence.
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“With ‘Saanjh’ production I wanted to make a technical sound film that can compete with other films in the cinema halls. I hope that my work can inspire other filmmakers too and together we can promote Himachali cinema by providing with the quality work in future,” he shared.

“I feel that it was a film that fell in Art as well as Entertainment genre that made it touch hearts at the international level. As normally if we talk about Himachali Cinema, there is no such Cinema as of today in Himachal. Only a few films were produced till now and because of poor technical and creative work, those films could not make it to cinema halls or any film festivals around the country or world”, he expresses.

“Many people outside the state felt embarrassed considering the sad quality of music videos which fail to ravish visual or hearing senses; as they are also judged with the same rod. Recently some singers have given a ray of hope as they came forward with different music and quality videos. Many other singers from the state but they are all focused on Hindi and Punjabi music”, Ajay added as he contemplated on the situations one has to face considering the previous track records.

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He further feels, “Cinema on the other hand is still untouched. As in 2011 Sanjeev Rattan’s ‘Dil Ch Vaseya Koi’ even won the National Award but due to the technical issues, the film failed to make it to cinema halls.Some filmmakers are coming up with great ideas for short films but again they are also focused on Hindi language. I believe until all these people don’t start making Pahari(Himachali)language films, there is no support for any kind of cinematic development in Himachal. Recently Siddarth Chauhan made a mark with his latest work and I feel happy that his next project is in Himachali language. It seems like a beginning of a new era for Himachali Cinema that has been neglected from a long time.”

“There is a great potential in Himachal and I receive a lots of calls everyday where people want to enter into acting or filmmaking and looking for guidance. But to their eagerness alone won’t do wonders we do need government support as well like in other states. The only exciting announcement is the financial support upto 10 lakh for filmmakers but only for short films and documentaries which again needs running from pillar to post and I can say is a herculean task. Exempting new cinema halls from tax for first three years is not taking filmmakers anywhere but support for film production in the state is better option which will also help in generating more and more tourism revenue.”

“Talking about my experience while making ‘Saanjh’ was a very difficult journey. Finding a producer or financier for a film in Himachali dialect was most difficult part. On the other hand our Himachal government doesn’t provide any kind of support for filmmaking in the state but expect a lot for the youth. Making people believe in me our project wasn’t easy,” shared Ajay as he keeps his view on talent promotion.

“As per his message he says My upbringing gave me deep insight into our culture and after coming back I realized a drastic change people in my village were trying to talk to in Hindi and the kids were being taught the Hindi and English words and were given punishment for talking in their own language. All our festivals were in disappearing stage and people had surrendered their traditions in the name of development. Actors feel ashamed to work in a Himachali film so very few actors turned out for auditions and they are happy to become part of crowd when a director from Mumbai.”

“I feel that as we don’t have a recognized language and we don’t have our own script to preserve the sounds of our language so there seems no way for the development of literature in our state. But yes, Cinema and Music can help in development of language & culture and it can take forward our traditional heritage. So this is very much important for us to have our own cinema and quality music. In all these years I learned the cinema, music and literature play a significant role in the development of language and culture and so we need to come forward and give Himachal its due respect,” he concludes.

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Himachal now ahead of Kerala in quality education in Govt schools: ASE Report 2016

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SHIMLA- Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-2016 in its 11th Annual Report released in New Delhi confirmed that Himachal Pradesh now stood ahead of Kerala in the field of quality education in schools. The survey indicated that government schools of the state were leading and doing better than other states in terms of learning outcomes.

State Project Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan,Ghanshyam Chand said that ASER was the largest annual household survey of the children in India that focused on status of schooling and basic learning. ASER visited almost 15,630 government schools in rural India. In Himachal Pradesh 283 schools were visited during the survey. As many as 15 organizations participated in ASER-2016 across the state.

The report ASER-2016 found enrolment rate of students in the age group 6 to 14 in Himachal Pradesh to be 99.8 per cent. The State secured first rank in achieving learning outcomes in basic reading and mathematics across the country.

In language category the achievement level of government schools of Himachal Pradesh was 65.3 per cent as compared to the national level of 41.6 per cent. In mathematics the achievement level of the state was 47.4 per cent as compared to the national level of 21.1 per cent. The government schools have performed better than private schools throughout the state in mathematics.

In learning of English language, significant improvement was observed in the State. At national level the achievement status is 15.3 per cent whereas it is 44 per cent in case of Himachal Pradesh. In English the State stands at 5th position.

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