‘Pvt firms have to compulsorily allot 70% jobs to Himachalis’

While stating that attempts would be made to revive the special industrial package for Himachal Pradesh, state Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said stringent measures will be invoked to ensure all industrial units strictly follow the mandatory legal provision of allotting 70 per cent jobs to Himachalis.

"I have asked the industries department to provide me a status paper on the number and names of industries, which despite legal provisions, have not provided 70 per cent jobs to Himachalis," Agnihotri told The Indian Express after getting the Industries portfolio.

He, however, added that the government will maintain cordial relations with investors and will relax the norms if the 70 per cent job condition is not met due to non-availability of people with particular skills and training. " Yet, it will be enforced and monitored very strictly at my level. Those defying the provision will be dealt with as per the law," he said.

Agnihotri further said that the government will make serious efforts to provide quality infrastructure for the growth of the industrial sector in the state. While admitting that the Central Industrial Package had brought huge investment to the state between 2003 and 2012, the new Industries minister, however, said that the previous BJP government's inability to create infrastructure slowed down the growth of industry in Himachal Pradesh.

"Factors, which led to the slow down and reasons for the abrupt withdrawal of the industrial package, will have to be looked into. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh — only a few days before he took over had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding the revival of a package for Himachal Pradesh. The matter will be taken up more effectively," Agnihotri said. He added that soon a meeting with industrial associations and other stake holders will be convened to identify issues, that require the state government's immediate intervention.

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