Haryana agriculture minister gives clean chit to rice millers
Even as hundreds of government officials along with police personnel are conducting physical verification of paddy stock at rice mills of the state, Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal gave a clean chit to rice millers, saying that there was no scam and allegations of the opposition parties were baseless.
At the time when the opposition parties are terming the investigation a ‘cover up’ and government is being criticised for working under a ‘strong lobby’ of rice millers and commission agents, Dalal’s statement has raised question mark over credibility of the verification, which is yet to be completed.
“Kaun kehta hai ghotala hua hai ? Haryana pradesh ka dhaan godaam me rakha hua hai (Who says there is a scam? Haryana’s paddy is stocked in warehouses),” Dalal said while interacting with mediapersons during his visit to Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Karnal’s Gharaunda on Monday.
“The government has a right to inspect the stock of paddy procured by its agencies. It does not prove that there was a scam in the procurement. So far, no irregularity has been detected by the inspection teams,” he said.
‘Bring cheap labour from Orissa’
Earlier during his visit, he advised the centre’s officials to bring labourers at cheaper rates from Orissa and other states. He even told them that there were labourers at his farm who work at ₹100 per day. “Why are you paying higher wages to labourers while we pay only ₹100 per labourer at our farm. You should call labourers from Orissa,” he told the officials. However, the officials said this was a government-run centre and workers cannot be paid less than the daily wages fixed by the government.
BKU leaders protest, seek probe in bogus billing
Meanwhile, members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) have accused the government of not taking action against the people involved in the paddy scam. They alleged that officials of the Haryana agriculture marketing board, food and supply department and commission agents were also involved in the scam along with rice millers. BKU Haryana president Ratan Mann said, “Erring officials have been tasked with the physical verification. We want a judicial inquiry in this scam so that stern action can be taken against the culprits.”
Himachal Pradesh cabinet has given the nod for setting up 76 model health wellness centres. The state cabinet met on Saturday evening wherein it decided to open patwar circle Spilo in Pooh tehsil of Kinnaur district to facilitate the people of the area. It also decided to create patwar circle Shikroha under Sadar Bilaspur tehsil. It gave its approval to create Kanungo circle Kelodhar under Chachiot tehsil of Mandi district.
Sanyukt Kisan Manch, an umbrella organisation of different farmers' unions, have rejected the prices announced by Adani Agri Fresh – a company that imports fruit. Sourced from farmers in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir. The fruit supply chains in Himachal have announced a marginal increase in the opening price for A-grade premium apples for Rs 76 per kilogram against Rs 72 it offered last year.
A gunfight erupted between militants and security forces in Kandra Hill area of Rajouri, officials said on Sunday. Defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said, “Today, around 7.30pm, an operational contact was established by troops of Indian Army, Rashtriya Rifles and SOG with terrorists at Kandra Hill in Rajouri.” A senior police officer said that a team of police and army launched a cordon and search operation in Kandra Hill on a specific input.
Come September and film aficionados in Kashmir will be able to watch the latest movies on the big screen as the Valley's first multiplex is set to open in the Sonawar area here. The multiplex, being developed in collaboration with leading theatre chain INOX, will have three movie halls with a total capacity of 520 seats, its owner Vijay Dhar told PTI. It will house several food courts, where Dhar plans to promote local cuisine.
A walkathon was organised on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday in which Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, along with many senior civil, security officials and hundreds of security personnel, besides people marched holding Tricolour in hands. The walkathon, a part of the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign, was organised by the Border Security Force from the Lalit Ghat to the Botanical Garden.