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Open letter to Deputy Speaker Himachal Jagat Negi on siding with private companies, mocking at labor laws




My Dear Jagat Negi Ji,

For quite sometime, certain issues have been agitating my mind, therefore this letter to you. I, also choose to make it public.

You are well aware, under the Parliamentary form of democracy adopted by us, the office of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of a Legislative Assembly is a honorable position. They are given to those who are not partisan in their conduct. In public discourse, a person holding this high position is expected to be judicious, fair and must direct his conduct clear above any narrow partisan interest.

I do not know what were the compelling circumstances which forced you to side with the Patel Engineering company in an industrial dispute with its workers. This dispute has a background of more than 120 days strike since 17th March, 2016. Remember the genesis of the dispute has a longer history. It goes back to September 2013. You would recall in early 2013, the workers of Patel Engineering had built up courage to demand the enforcement of the law of your govt.

The law of payment of minimum wages declared and notified by your govt, the law to provide earned wages before the 7th day of each month, the law to provide the wages in presence of an officer of the principal employer to be counter signed by him accompanied by a documentary evidence of a wage slip, the law of providing a weekly off, the law of providing the social benefits attached to the Provident Fund Act, the law of providing accommodation and living conditions as per the various provisions of the contract labour (regulation and abolition) Act etc.

Just examine how justice was done with the workers. Instead of directing the company to implement law, the leadership of the workers was terminated from service. The management in order to ensure that the workers do not raise the demands again, terminated Jeet Negi the president of the union, Rajvansh the secretary, Baldev the vice president, Soam Dev an active member of the union along with two other activists. Their only crime was to organise the workers so that the labor laws could be implemented.

I am grateful to the judicial system of this country, those who knocked on its door against this unjust act were provided justice. The labor court ordered in the month of May 2016 that the termination of Jeet Negi, Rajvansh and Baldev was illegal and directed their reinstatement. Soam Dev Negi did not have money to fight a legal battle and after having faced humiliation by the sub-contractors he decided to end his life. He committed suicide on 18th Nov 2013 by jumping into the Satluj river. His body was recovered six months later on 24th April 2014. The painful death of Soam Dev the only earning hand of the family, becomes even more painful when one learns that the cause of his death has not been investigated till date.

I want to know from you, are you the MLA of only the Rich, the Patel’s, the JP’s, the Jindal’s, the contractors etc. How long will the poor have to suffer and die like Soam Dev died.

Is the version of the people correct? They say in order to protect the pecuniary interest of your brother Mohinder Negi who is a big contractor under the Patel Company, you have become totally intoxicated by the ill-gotten money. Is it correct the stone crusher belongs to your brother? Is it correct people have complaint against the illegal mining being done for this stone crusher? Is it correct that he is illegally operating it by violating the condition attached to its operation? You may be correct to state why your brother and relatives are not allowed to make money when the others are doing so.

You and your brother want to treat the police as your personal army. Do you know in an industrial dispute the police cannot take sides, either with the industrialists or with the workers. But you desire that they should stand with the exploiters. Are you not ashamed you ordered a few days back to arrest 95 workers under a false and fabricated case of attempt to murder. Once the workers were in police custody you ordered their home to be raised to the ground by plying of a bulldozer. They have become homeless with all their lifelong savings having been destroyed, their bedding, their clothes, their utensils and all the little savings they had made in their life time, all have been buried under the mud. Even tyrants do not carry out such inhumane acts. The bulldozer has buried their life long earnings, but it cannot burry their history.

I can assure you, you have broken their homes, but you and your government cannot break their courage to fight back the ruthless exploitation. The fight will continue till they get justice.

With Regards

Rakesh Singha

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Himachal Watcher.

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Campus Watch

Bahra University and Siemens to run engineering course jointly




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




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.


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.


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.

“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.


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




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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