Shimla: Opposition Congress staged a walk out from the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday, second consecutive day, on issue involving arrest of two aides of sitting Congress MLA Satpal Raijada even as Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur refused to concede their demand for acting against Superintendent of Police Una on the issue.The arrest of MLA’s driver and PSO was made by the police in MLA’s home district of Una in connecting with an alleging liquor smuggling case and their attempt to interfere in the investigations. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Una a district bordering Punjab is infamous for drug trafficking, liquor smuggling, illegal mining and forest offences. Leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, on Monday had given an adjournment motion to Speaker Dr Rajeev Bindal on the issue alleging that the issue involves dignity of the sitting member of the House, and excess done by the police in handcuffing the staff members of the opposition MLA. As the adjournment motion was rejected, the opposition MLAs including 85-year-old former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had raised slogans, entered well of the House and staged a walk-out. Today, there were again a replay of the similar protests in the House. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KChief Minister, instead, launched a fiercest attack against the opposition. “It’s so unfortunate that entire Congress has come to rescue of mafia. Infact, most regrettable thing is that mafia had managed to get the congress backing for its activities of drug trafficking as well as liquor smuggling. The investigations in the case is already underway. I can get it probed by Crime Wing or any other senior officer but will not compromise in my fight against the drug and liquor mafia”. He also claimed that his fight against the mafia has received a blow with the congress supporting the mafia. The leader of opposition, joined by rest of the Congress MLAs, reacted strongly to Chief Minister’s remarks and reaffirmed that the congress was not supporting any mafia. “Chief Minister must tender apology for branding the congress has supporter of mafia”, said Agnihotri before staging a walk-out. Meanwhile during a debate on recent rains, flash floods and landslides, Chief Minister said the state has suffered a loss of Rs 626 cr due to natural calamities and 30 people, out of 25 only during August 17 and 18 have lost their lives. Thakur told media persons later that noted Malayalam actress Manju Warrier and director Sanal Sasidharan, who were stranded in Spiti area of Lahaul-Spiti district after snowfall, rains and landslides resulting in complete disruption of road communications, were rescued on Tuesday and brought to Manali. Chief Minister said the district administration was taking all steps to rescue all stranded tourists from Spiti. Warrier had called her brother Madhu Warrier on Monday night informing about film’s crew — including director Sasidharan — stuck at Chatru in Himachal Pradesh.
OTTAWA – The federal Liberals are looking for answers after the government’s program to help workers in hard-hit economic regions of the country blew past budget expectations, with spending now topping $1.3 billion.The government figured that just 235,000 people would use extra weeks of employment insurance benefits when they unveiled the program last year to help workers in 15 regions of the country with stubborn unemployment rates.That was projected to cost the government $827.4 million between April 2016 and March 2019.But as of July 9, Employment and Social Development Canada said that it had spent just under $1.31 billion on the extra weeks of benefits for 317,261 claimants.The spending figure may yet change as officials pore over the last few claims that trickled in by last week’s deadline for program eligibility.A report will be coming out in September with a revised cost for the program.A spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said that the high cost for the program was one of the reasons it wasn’t renewed and that a review is underway to determine why costs exceeded estimates.Opposition critics argued the fault lay in the Liberals’ economic policy.Conservative critic Pierre Poilievre said the government’s moves to increase taxes had a negative effect on hiring, which meant more spending on employment insurance programs.“The government should, instead, cut payroll taxes so employers can afford to hire more and employees can enjoy the rewards of their labour.”NDP jobs critic Brigitte Sansoucy said the Liberals were right to extend EI benefits, but the numbers suggest Canadians are struggling more than the Liberals are willing to admit.She called on the government to make more permanent improvements to EI, suggesting the high spending and claimant figures show such changes are badly needed.The program was rolled out in 2016 for workers in 15 economic regions of the country that had seen a hard and sustained drop in employment as a result of the sharp downturn in energy prices.Eligible workers received an extra five weeks of regular benefits effective July 2016 but retroactive to January 2015.Long-tenured workers in the regions were also eligible for an extra 20 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 70 weeks — again, starting last July but retroactive to January 2015.