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Kotkhai Police Probe: Women Commission not convinced either, suspects a cover-up

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Kotkhao Probe National Commisson For Women

Shimla – In the Kotkhai rape and murder case, the National Commission for Women member, Sushma Sahu, came down heavily on the Himachal Pradesh Police, State Government, and the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in a press conference held in Shimla on Saturday.

The doubts among people have further deepened as the NCW member, too, expressed serious doubts over the police investigation and the attitude of the State Government toward the case.

She rounded up the State Government for highly careless acts such as revealing the identity of the minor victim by naming a school after her real name. Despite prohibition under legal provisions, the name of the victim was mentioned in the official notification issued by the government in this regards, which should invite legal action against it, she said.

Sahu, who is in Shimla regarding the investigation of the rape and murder of a 16-years-old school going girl in Kotkhai Tehsil of Shimla district, has upheld the allegation of locals that the police and the government are trying to shield real culprits, who hail from influential families. She showered several questions over the probe and pointed out several loopholes and the missing links in the police investigation.

Sahu had sent for the Director General of the Police to take stock of the entire investigation. However, the DGP didn’t show up. Instead, another official (ADGP) appeared who wasn’t even aware of the names of the accused and hardly had any idea about the investigation, she said. The ADGP had no answer when he was asked where the DGP was.

On the basis of her interaction, she asked the State Government to provide security to the victim’s family and immediate financial assistance to the wife of Suraj, the Nepalese accused killed in the police custody.

She questioned the government over its inaction and investigation regarding upload and deletion of photos of four persons on the Chief Minister’s official Facebook page on the night of July 11. The government hasn’t given any explanation from where those photos appeared and who was responsible for uploading them on CM’s official FB page, she remarked. She said no FIR was lodged in this regard despite the fact that this faux pas had fueled the chaos in public.

Sahu said during her visit to the family of the victim, she discovered that the wife of the Chief Minister, Pratibha Singh, had insisted the family to not push for the CBI inquiry in the case. However, Pratibha Singh, in a reply to these remarks, said her statement was twisted. She denied allegations of pressing the family to not ask for a CBI inquiry. She said the family was satisfied with the police investigation at that time.

The NCW member raised questions over the post-mortem report and the sequence of the crime given by the police in its probe. She further said that according to the report of the post-mortem conducted on Jul 7, the victim had eaten rice a few hours before her death, but the police probe report establishes July 4 as the date of her death, which is contradictory.

The parents who had seen the body at the spot reported fresh marks on her neck and the body. The father also claimed her leg and arm was fractured, she said. The father also told her that there was no sign of a struggle at the muddy spot and there was no mud on nails of the victim, which goes against the police claim that the crime was committed on the very spot where the victim’s body was found on July 6.

Further, in a sarcastic tone, she asked the police department what the staff was doing when the Nepalese accused Suraj was killed in the police lockup. She further questioned why the two suspects were kept in the same lockup. She said the suspension of the police staff over the killing of accused in the custody is just eyewash.

Mamata, the wife of the killed accused said her husband was detained by the police for questioning. When he returned home at evening, he was in a miserable shape. He told her that he was badly beaten by the policemen who were allegedly drinking while question him, saiid Sahu. Mamata, Sahu added, claimed her husband was working in the orchards with her on July 4 and 5, but police did not verify this fact. Similarly, Raju, another accused, had taken his mother to hospital on July 5, which can be verified through hospital authorities and CCTV footages, she said.

The NCW member also questioned the overall working of the government in the case.

She said the report of the investigation conducted by her will be submitted to the Central Bureau of Investigation so that they could include these facts in the investigation.

Photo: Statesman News Service

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MIS for processing grade mangoes approved, would open 34 fruit collection centres: Govt

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HP Mango MIS approved 2

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government has given approval for implementation of the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for Mango procurement of processing grade mangoes in the State during the year 2018.

Under the scheme, 250 metric tonne fruit of seedling, 200 metric tonnes of grafted and 50 metric tonnes of unripe Achari varieties of mangoes will be procured at the rate of Rs. 6.00 per kg Rs. 7.00 per kg. and Rs. 6.00 per kg. respectively.

A Spokesman of the State Government today said that procurement would be done through HPMC and HIMFED in crates and these agencies would be allowed handling charges at Rs. 1.30 per kg. Like the previous year, average sale returns from the fruits have been assessed as Rs. 2000, Rs. 3000, Rs. 2000 per metric tonnes for fruits of seedling, grafted and unripe Achari mango varieties respectively.

He said that 34 fruit collection centres will be opened under the scheme for which HPMC and HIMFED would coordinate on the basis of procurement data for the last three to five years.

These centres would be opened by the procurement agencies in case of need and would be manned and operative by HPMC and HIMFED with their own staff.

Under the scheme, 2.5% extra fruit (by weight) will be procured from those farmers/orchardists who possess horticulture cards and who own ten bighas or less land under mango cultivation. As such, no fruit would be procured from the contractors.

He said that this scheme would be implemented in the State with immediate effect till August 15, 2018.

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Industrial units seeking expansion will have to employ 80% Himachalis: Govt

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Employment to himachalis in industries

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government today said it has made amendments in the provisions of Rules regarding grant of incentives, concession, and facilities to the industrial units of the state.

As per the new notification of the State government, all existing industrial units (as on April 1, 2018) set up in the state which seek to undertake expansion will have to employ at least 80 percent bonafide Himachalis, informed a spokesperson of the Industries department.

The hiring could be undertaken on regular/contractual/Sub-contractual/daily basis or any other mode of employment including the persons hired through a contractor or through outsourcing agencies against the additional manpower which may be generated as a result of the substantial expansion, it was informed.

This condition would also apply to the new units to be established in the State after 1 April 2018.

Only those industries, which undertake substantial expansion, have to abide by this Rule. Hence, the existing industries, which are not going to undertake substantial expansion, are not bound by the amended/notified provision of this Rule.

He said there is no shortage of trained technical manpower in the State now, therefore, the condition of 80 percent employment of Himachalis has been incorporated in the Rules.

There are around 250 ITIs, 30 Polytechnics Institutes and around 40 Engineering Colleges and Universities in the State and thousands of technically qualified persons are completing their courses and coming out from these institutes in search of jobs.

New trades as per the demand of the industries are also being included in the courses of ITIs, Polytechnics and Engineering Colleges, the spokesperson said.

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Rs. 423 crore HP Mushroom Development project will help in women empowerment: Govt

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Mushroom cultivation in himachal pradesh


Shimla:
The Indian Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance has approved Rs. 1131.87 crore projects for Himachal Pradesh.

These include Rs. 708.87 crore for Water Conservation Project for the Department of Irrigation and Public Health and Rs. 423 crore Himachal Pradesh Integrated Mushroom Development project for the Department of Horticulture.

As per the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, an Rs. 423 crore integrated mushroom development project would help to double the income of farmers and provide employment and self-employment opportunities to youth.

The government also expects the project would boost mushroom cultivation in the State. All varieties of mushroom would be cultivated under the project besides importing technical knowledge for cultivating mushroom, which would give a fillip in increasing the income of the farmers, said the government.

The Chief Minister said that this project would also provide an opportunity to the growers of the state to diversify their farming pattern and go for viable and profitable farming avocation.

The mushroom cultivation would also help in women empowerment as more and more women would be motivated to go for mushroom cultivation for increasing their income, thereby making them self-dependent since mushroom cultivation is an indoor activity.

He said the demand for mushrooms is increasing within the state as well as outside the state including export, and it offers better prospects for enterprising growers to take up cultivation on large scale. He announced that modern infrastructure will be developed under the proposed project for controlled cultivation of mushroom round the year.

Further, it was informed that the first phase of the Rs. 4751.24 crore water conservation project worth Rs 708.87 crore will include construction of check dams, ponds, Kuhl’s and other water harvesting structures.

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