March 4, 2021 12:24:20 am
LAKHS OF Himachalis working inside and outside the state lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Theog MLA Rakesh Singha on Wednesday during the ongoing budget session of the state Legislative Assembly.
He claimed that 2.5 lakh workers returned home to Himachal from other states during the pandemic, while many others working in the state were left jobless due to massive retrenchment in various sectors, especially hospitality and private education. “811 people employed on an outsource basis in the state electricity board are now in the process of being retrenched. I beg you to stay this decision, or these people will fight back,” he said.
Singha further claimed that Covid-related medical supplies were being procured at exorbitant rates in Chamba district, and private educational institutions were unfairly charging regular fees during the pandemic, even to the point of harassing students who were unable to pay. He added that children without smartphones or network connectivity were mostly unable to study during the pandemic.
Singha, the lone member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the 67-member House, was speaking during the ongoing discussion on the address given by Governor Bandaru Dattatreya on the opening day of the session regarding the state government’s performance in the last one year.
With opposition Congress members absent during the sitting, he was the only member critical of the government’s yearly performance while the remaining members from BJP heaped praise on it.
Nagrota MLA Arun Kumar said that development activities in the state continued despite the pandemic and the state government has been working hard to provide tapped water connection in households, redress grievances at the grassroots level and take strict legal action in drug cases, among other things.
Sarkaghat MLA Inder Singh said during the pandemic, Covid warriors were saving human lives much like the anecdotal lone man throwing back a few fish into the sea which were being washed ashore in thousands. “Somebody asked him what difference did his limited rescue make since the fish were dying in huge numbers anyway? He replied that his action made no difference to himself, but for the few lucky fish, it came as the gift of life,” said the MLA.
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