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Watch: BJP MLA threatens to sue media & opposition over alleged Jakhu water theft case



MLA Balbir Verma water theft case

Shimla: Balbir Verma, the elected MLA of Bhartiya Janata Party from Chopal constituency, on Monday appeared in a video posted by one Mast Ram Verma on social media challenging the opposition and media over the case related to the alleged illegal connection of water supply to the Verma Apartments located in Jakhu, Shimla.

Mr M.R. Verma made a call to party-workers to share the video as much as they could to prove that it was just propaganda of the opposition to defame the innocent MLA.

This video should be uploaded on social media from at least 50 Facebook accounts,

Verma wrote to the workers.

He had made headlines in several Hindi and English Dailies and online media portals. The ruling BJP is facing a backlash from not only the opposition but also from the people.

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The MLA took four days to come out of his shell and provide his first reaction to these serious allegations.  On Monday, Balbir Verma, in a 46 second-long video, said he would file a defamation case worth crores against those who termed him as a ‘water thief’, especially the opposition leaders. He also challenged that he would quite from the elected position of the MLA and would never fight elections again if it was proved that the connection was obtained on his name or it was an illegal connection.

However, the statement is shrouded by ambiguity as he is heard claiming that it was not illegal. It was hard to analyze what exactly the MLA wanted to convey. To clear these doubts, Himachal Watcher tried to reach the MLA multiple times but did not receive any response.

It wasn’t clear whether he wants to say that he was aware of the said connection and was confirming it was not illegal, or he was trying to distance himself from allegations.

The Deputy Commissioner of Shimla, Amit Kashyap, had ordered disconnecting a supply line in Jakhu locality on the complaint of some residents and photographs circulated on social media. The allegations said the apartment was constructed by the MLA, who is a contractor and builder by profession.

On May 31, 2018, the DC had found that a pipeline was connected to the main supply line of the Shimla MC. As per allegations, this pipeline, which was equal to the main line in terms of capacity, was leading to the Verma Apartments.

The residents had further alleged that this pipeline was illegally connected and was drawing their share of water.   

The DC has asked the Commissioner of Shimla MC to file a report regarding the same within 15 days.

Misc News/Press Release

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



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



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



Mushroom cultivation in himachal pradesh

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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