Monthly Archives: OCTOBER 2017
CM constitutes state-level committee for 550th Prakash utsav celebration of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji
Chandigarh: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has constituted a State-level Committee to prepare for the 550th anniversary celebration of the Prakash Utsav of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 2019.
Dr Manmohan Singh has been requested to be the Patron-in-Chief of the 36-member Committee, chaired by the Chief Minister and entrusted with the task of planning and making the necessary arrangements to celebrate the historic occasion in a befitting manner.
All Ministers of the Punjab Government, presidents of the state units of all the major political parties (Congress, SAD, BJP and AAP), some MPs and MLAs, besides the President SGPC are members of the Committee, which will oversee and monitor arrangements to prepare and execute the schedule of celebrations, events and activities to be undertaken to mark the important occasion.
Chief Minister has also decided to request the Prime Minister to constitute and chair a National Level Organizing Committee under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, to coordinate and work in collaboration with the State government to make the event a success, according to an official spokesperson.
Besides the MPs from Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar, the Committee would have, as its members, MPs Ambika Soni, Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Naresh Gujral, along with MLAs Navtej Singh Cheema, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Rana Gurmit Singh.
Other members of the Committee include former Union Minister Preneet Kaur, Ajit Chief Editor Barjinder Singh Hamdard, eminent historians JS Grewal, Kirpal Singh and BN Goswamy. Brig (Retd.) Sukhjit Singh, MVC of Kapurthala; Prof. Surjit Patar, Chairman, Punjab Arts Council; eminent environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal; The Anhad Foundation chairman Bhai Baldeep Singh; Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab; Chief Principal Secretary to Chief Minister; Financial Commissioner, Department of Revenue; Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Secretary, Department of Information & Public Relations; Divisional Commissioner, Jalandhar Division; Vice-Chancellor of GNDU, Amritsar and Punjabi University, Patiala; Deputy Commissioners of Kapurthala and Gurdaspur districts. Director, Tourism & Cultural Affairs, will be the Convener of the Committee.
CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF SWAMINATHAN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
Capt Amarinder dubs MSP hike by centre as inadequate & mere `tokenism’
Chandigarh: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has termed the increase in MSP announced by the central government as `inadequate’ and demanded a review in line with the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister said the increase of Rs 110 a quintal in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat and Rs. 200 per quintal in that of pulses would not help achieve the objective of boosting the output of these crops and checking prices. The move would also not, in any way, provide much relief to the distressed farmers of the country, reeling under huge debt burdens and struggling to make both ends meet, he added.
Amarinder said if the Centre was serious about uplifting agriculture in the country and alleviating the woes of the farmers, it would need to go beyond such tokenism to announce far-reaching changes in the MSP and other welfare initiatives, including debt waiver, in the interest of the farming community.
The Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations on MSP need to be implemented urgently, in toto, if the country’s agricultural system has to survive and prosper, he said. Citing the Swaminathan Commission report, Captain Amarinder said the only long-term solution to the crisis faced by the farming community lay in giving attractive remuneration to the farmers through pricing and procurement based on total cost of production plus 50%, as recommended by the Commission.
The Centre, by continuing to ignore the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission, was worsening the situation instead of finding solutions, Amarinder warned.
Captain urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and order a review of the MSP to ensure a proper remunerative pricing policy for the farmers, as per the Commission’s report. He also requested the Prime Minister to take cognizance of the demand of the Punjab government for incorporation of stubble burning compensation at Rs. 100 per quintal in the MSP for paddy.
The central and state governments need to collaborate to resolve the agrarian crisis in the country, said the Chief Minister, adding that it was their joint responsibility to protect the interests of the farmers, who were responsible for feeding the entire nation and who had made India self-sufficient in foodgrain production.
ADVISES PATIENTS AND CHILDREN TO AVOID VENTURING OUT
PPCB appeals to farmers not to burn paddy straw in larger public interest
Chandigarh: The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today urged the farmers for conserving the Paddy straw in a scientific manner rather than recklessly burning this precious source.
Disclosing this here today, Roshan Sunkaria, Principal Secretary, Science & Technology said that the unprecedented increase of pollution levels in the air was health hazardous for vulnerable sections of the society such as children, students, senior citizens and the patients. He further requested the farmers who always pray for welfare of the whole humanity to take care of their families and Punjabis thereby avoiding the burning of paddy stubble.
Showing deep concern at the increased pollution level, he pointed out that the board has issued an advisory asking the senior citizens, patients and children to avoid venturing out in the open for few days and similarly the management of the schools should ensure that children are not allowed to undertake outdoor activities for the coming days.
The Air Quality Index has deteriorated mainly on account of the fact that the farmers of Punjab have been burning paddy straw at large scale. During the last 4-5 days, the level of pollution has increased tremendously. He also revealed that the situation has further worsened now. The burning of fire crackers on the day of Diwali, although comparatively much lesser than the last year, and the spurt in stubble burning fires has released particulate matter of PM 10 and PM 2.5 kind in the air which has raised pollution of air to dangerous level.
DIRECTS POWER SECY, PSPCL CHAIRMAN TO ISSUE NECESSARY ADVISORY
Capt Amarider assures of industrial power at Rs. 5/unit
Chandigarh: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has assured that his government will provide power at Rs 5 per unit to industry, as approved by the state cabinet, notwithstanding the two-part tariff announced today by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC).
The Chief Minister has directed the Power Secretary and Chairman of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to examine the implications of the two-part tariff and issue an advisory to the concerned department to freeze industrial power tariff at Rs. 5/unit from Nov 1, as already approved by the state cabinet.
CM reiterated his commitment to provide tariff for the industry at Rs 5 per unit for five years under the "Industrial and Business Development Policy 2017" notified on October 17, and said his government will work to ensure that it meets its promise in this regard.
While it was the prerogative of the Commission to fix power tariff in all categories under the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, the government will ensure that it meets its commitment to power users in the state, Amarinder said in the wake of the notification of the PSERC Tariff Order for the year 2017-18. He promised that his government would provide the necessary subsidy to PSPCL accordingly, to meet its commitments for providing free/affordable power to various categories of consumers including agriculture, industry, scheduled castes, backward classes and below poverty-line domestic consumers.
The government will ensure that power is provided to small consumers at part with the existing tariff of Rs.4.99 per KWH - a move that will benefit 85,000 small industrial consumers, while keeping the overall tariff to Rs. 5.00 per unit in the new scenario of a two-part tariff, for industrial consumers in the medium and large category, said Captain Amarinder.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to provide quality power on 24 x 7 basis to all the domestic, commercial and industrial consumers in the state, he said free power to agriculture consumers would continue, as would up to 200 units per month to Scheduled Caste (SC), Backward Class (BC) & Non-SC BPL domestic consumers, and up to 300 units per month to Freedom Fighter Domestic Consumers.
On the hike announced by PSERC in domestic tariff, he said the nominal increase was necessitated by the increasing cost of power generation and distribution and pointed out that the domestic power tariff had been static for the past three years. He further noted that despite the hike, the domestic power rate in Punjab continues to be lower than all neighbouring states, except Himachal Pradesh.
govt has played fraud with industrial consumers
Sukhbir Badal demands immediate withdrawal of 'draconian' power tariff hike
Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today demanded immediate withdrawal of the draconian power tariff hike, saying the Congress government had yet again deceived the people by increasing tariff for both domestic and industrial supply even as it was making promises of supplying cheap power to all categories including the industrial sector at Rs five per unit.
In a statement here, the former deputy CM said chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had made an announcement one month after assuming power that all consumers would be supplied power at the rate of Rs 5 per unit. "However the government did not communicate this decision to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC). Instead the State electricity utility – PSPCL asked for an increase in power tariff. The same has been approved by the PSERC today”.
Asking the Congress government to explain why it was lying and deceiving the people by saying one thing and doing the exact opposite, Badal said the Sate cabinet had approved power supply for industrial sector at Rs 5 per unit only one week back and now the entire industry had been burdened with an unbearable increase between 8.50 to 11.88 per cent. "What is tragic is that the power tariff increase is the most for small industrial units (11.88) percent. This will effectively kill the small industrial sector which is already passing through a challenging phase”, he added.
The SAD president said domestic consumers who had been promised cheaper power both before and after the assembly elections by the Congress had also been betrayed today. "Power tariff for domestic consumers has been hiked by an unprecedented 12 per cent today. Besides this the government has already implemented a municipal tax equivalent to two per cent of power bills in municipal areas. All this has hit and common man who has also been hit by other charges including increase in external development charges”. He also pointed out that if the electricity duty of 18 per cent was also taken into consideration, the power tariff hike would increase further across all categories.
Asking if anything was sacrosanct for the Congress government, including its own cabinet decisions, Jr. Badal asked it to tell Punjabis why it had failed to bring down all power tariffs to the promised Rs five per unit. "It is better you tell the people if you deliberately delayed the tariff order till the completion of the Gurdaspur by poll or the people themselves will confront you in the streets and ask why you have given them this ‘diwali’ gift”, he added.
The former Deputy CM said in stark contrast the SAD-BJP government did not raise power tariff for two consecutive years in 2015-16 and 2016-17. He said in fact the government slashed the energy rates for industrial users to promote growth in 2016. Small scale industry consumption rates were slashed by 38 paisa per unit, medium scale by 36 paisa per unit and large scale by 11 paisa per unit. "Besides this peak load hour restrictions were also removed”, he added.
Telling the government that it could no longer deceive Punjabis with new statements every day, Badal said "now you have been exposed. It is better you mend your ways and fulfill your solemn commitments or face the anger of Punjabis who will not forgive you for these blatant acts of betrayal”, he added.