Growing differences between transport minister GS Bali and chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday became more apparent on Tuesday when the latter not only snubbed his cabinet colleague for making "unconfirmed" claims about the number of jobless in the state but affirmed his government was "unshakable and solid like a rock."
"I won't allow anyone to pressurize me as I haven't pressurized anybody," Virbhadra said here in an informal chat with reporters. He also underplayed Bali's visit to Delhi. "I don't give much importance to his Delhi tour. There is nothing to be sought. Bali's statements at his press conference were only half truths. As far as the press meet is concerned, I think he has given half facts. I think he held Press conference in a huff. The facts he has quoted regarding employment, unemployment it is not correct," Virbhadra said.
Replying guardedly to Bali's claim on unemployment, the chief minister said: "He's an experienced person, I think, when sensitive matters like unemployment are discussed. He should discuss it with facts and figures in a serious manner. I've utmost respect for all my ministers and MLAs. I also treat everybody fairly."
"I think Bali seems to be perturbed about a certain appointments made by his department (transport). The appointments have landed up in courts. It's for him to seek out the matter. We've given posts and we expect the department concerned doing the recruitments does it impartially and as per the prescribed norms. Controversy which is coming out of it is for the department concerned to look into it," said Virbhadra. Describing Bali's "outburst" as the "result of his emotions", he added: "He's a very emotional man and whenever he's hurt he tries to hurt others. If you make a mountain out of a molehill over small grudges I can't do anything about it."
The government on the other hand released new figures on unemployment to counter Bali's claims on increasing joblessness in the state, which has added fuel to the opposition BJP's campaign against the Congress party led government. The government claimed during the past two and a quarter years more than 25,500 posts have been created in the filled in the government sector alone. In addition, about 25,000 youngsters have been provided jobs in the new industrial units approved by the Single Window Clearance & Monitoring Authority in the state.
Virbhadra said the government had provided jobs to more than 27,000 young people through 30 'rozgar melas' organized by the state labour & employment department in various areas of the state. "The state government is sensitive towards the unemployment problem being faced by residents of the state and a large number of positions in various categories were being created at every cabinet meeting. The government has reduced the period of minimum service for regularization of contractual employees from six to five years and for daily wagers from 8 to 7 years. The unemployment scenario as is being projected is far from reality and the figures of unemployed youth being circulated are exaggerated and motivated," he added.
The total number of state residents registered in employment exchanges was 892,988 in March 2015, whereas the total number of registrants in March 2013 was 861,314. According to a survey conducted by the state economic & statistics department, only about 34 per cent of the registrants in the live registers are actually unemployed, which works out to about 303,000.