Monthly Archives: APRIL 2017


Amarinder failed to make use of Niti Aayog meeting to press for Punjab’s Demands: SAD
24.04.17 - TEAM PT
Amarinder failed to make use of Niti Aayog meeting to press for Punjab’s Demands: SAD



The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it was unfortunate that Punjab had failed to use the Niti Aayog meeting presided over by the Prime Minister to make a claim for special funds for the State as well as an action plan to take its farm economy out of the red.

In a statement here, MP and SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said all except three chief ministers, including Capt Amarinder Singh, attended the meeting of the Niti Aayog which was held yesterday to set goals for 2022. He said it was unfortunate that at a time when a vision document for the next fifteen years was being discussed the Punjab CM was absent due to unspecified reasons. "We must jettison this casual approach and engage actively with the centre to continue the development narrative initiated by the SAD-BJP government”, he advised.

Dhindsa said other chief ministers had used the occasion to highlight the problems being faced by the State as well as focus on their future demands before the members of the Niti Aayog as well as the PM. "Mehbooba Mufti even used the occasion to highlight the problems being faced by Kashmiri students in various educational institutions outside Jammu and Kashmir and the PM immediately asked all CMs to look into the issue. "Punjab could have also used this occasion to find an immediate solution to the farm crisis in the State with suicides increasing manifold. Issues concerning the youth and industry could also have been taken up for immediate redressal but Capt Amarinder’s inability to attend the meeting robbed the State of this opportunity”.
 

The senior Akali leader also reminded the Chief Minister that there was a lot of difference between speaking before such an august gathering too put across the State’s view  point and submitting a memorandum which was deemed to the read. "The chief minister should have told Punjabi's as to why he could not attend the meeting instead of making vague excuses even though he was stated to be in Delhi at the time of the meeting. It is unfortunate that the Congress government has chosen to put its  faith in a PR hand out to list its demands instead of putting the points across in the meeting by attending the same”, he added.

Stating that the people wanted results and expected the new Congress government to deliver, Dhindsa said the government should put its act together and start delivering instead of submitting memorandums. "For starters the government should announce a complete loan waiver as promised to farmers. It should also increase all social welfare pensions to Rs 2,000 per month as promised and give an unemployment dole of Rs 2,500 per month to youth. If the government takes these preliminary steps Punjabi's will have reason to believe that it  will fulfill all its  promises. But if the new government continues to delay implementation of these promises by submitting memorandums to the centre and making committees it will become clear that it does not have any intention to deliver on them”, he added.




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Rajnath meets Captain; agrees to relook Sikh blacklists
22.04.17 - TEAM PT
Rajnath meets Captain; agrees to relook Sikh blacklists



In a major step towards getting the blacklisted Sikh youth back into the mainstream of the society, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday suggested doing away with the system of making such lists on religious lines.

Accepting that the current system was damaging to the psyche of Sikh youth, many of whom are on such backlists for the past several years, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh agreed to relook the same, while also agreeing to consider the Chief Minister’s request to allow at least the descendants of the blacklisted Sikhs to visit India.

This was disclosed here by a Punjab government spokesperson after a meeting between Captain Amarinder and the Home Minister.

The Punjab CM had on Friday also raised the issue of blacklisted Sikh youth with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a courtesy call.

Alleging a serious conspiracy to disrupt the communal harmony in the state, Captain Amarinder also urged the Union Home Minister to direct CBI and other central agencies to expedite their investigations into the cases of sacrilege and targeted killings in Punjab.

He also sought five additional BSF companies to strengthen the Indo-Pak border and also stressed the need to set up a second line of defence. The BSF deployment was needed to be strengthened on the pattern of J&K, as against the current one BSF battalion for about 32 kms in Punjab, the Chief Minister stressed, citing the Fidayeen attacks at PS Dinanagar in 2015 and IAF Station Pathankot in 2016 as reasons for force augmentation.

On the issue of the second line of defence, he said it was necessitated by the fact that the Punjab border becomes vulnerable to terrorist attacks, as well as infiltration of terrorists, arms & ammunition, and drugs from across the border in view of the heavy security at the J&K border. Raising the second line of defence would require immediate funding of about Rs. 206 crore in infrastructure, capacity building and manpower, said Captain Amarinder, seeking the Home Minister’s support in financing the same in national interest.

The Chief Minister also urged the home ministry to provide necessary funds to meet the recurring annual costs of the 2 IRB Batallions for which it had recently sanctioned Rs. 51.19 crore each.

Referring to the targeted killings of RSS, Hindu and Shiv Sena leaders in Punjab since January 2016, the Chief Minister said despite the best efforts and cooperation between CBI, central agencies and the State Police, it has not been possible to identify the group/individuals or apprehend the killers so far. Considering the recent inputs received from the central agencies that indicate plans of militant/radical organizations/individuals to target RSS Shakhas, DSS Naam Charcha Kendras, religious places, and targeted individuals, Amarinder stressed the need for the various agencies to augment their efforts to solve the pending cases.

Another issue that came for discussion related to security at the high-profile Punjab jails, which have recently witnessed a spare of troublesome incidents, including the Nabha jailbreak and several cases of gang war. Noting that many top terrorists lodged in various Punjab jails had a nexus with gangsters in the prisons, the Chief Minister urged Rajnath Singh to provide additional CISF/CRPF forces to secure the high-profile prisons in the state.

These companies would need to be deployed for at least six months at high security/sensitive Jails in Punjab where hardcore terrorists and dreaded gangsters are lodged, to ensure effective security arrangements, Captain said, noting that though recruitment of about 8000 police personnel had been carried out recently, it would take more than a year to train these personnel and deploy them for field duties.

The Chief Minister also pitched for notifying Punjab as a Category-A state for financial assistance to modernize its police forces, on 90:10 Centre-State sharing basis, on the lines of J&K and North-East states. He pointed out that Punjab was a sensitive border state, with rampant cross-border smuggling of drugs, narcotics and arms, requiring special treatment on this count.

Further, to empower its police force to meet the growing security challenges, the Chief Minister also sought the Ministry of Home Affair’s permission for setting up a Joint Working Group with Israel on Homeland Security. The JWG would train police personnel in dignitary protection, counter-terror operations, and border protection etc., he explained, urging the Home Minister to consider the request on priority.

The meeting was attended by Media Advisor to Punjab CM, Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to CM, Suresh Kumar, and DGP, Suresh Arora.




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Oye, Bas Kar Yaar! Inne RTI?- SIC
21.04.17 - TEAM PT
Oye, Bas Kar Yaar! Inne RTI?-  SIC



The State Information Commission, Punjab during the hearing of a case directed Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana to ignore the RTI applications filed by Amarjit Singh Dhamotia of Ludhiana, who has filed more than 500 applications under RTI act and disrupted the routine work of the MC, Ludhiana office.

Disclosing this here, an official Spokesperson of the State Information Commission, Punjab said that Amarjit Singh Dhamotia resident of House No. 60/35-P/376/1, Street No 8, Maha Singh Nagar, Daba Lohara Road, Post office Dhandari Kalan has filed 500 application under RTI act to seek voluminous information, which cannot be provided. It was held that the RTI applications filed by this person have drastically hampered the routine work of the MC, Ludhiana. Many of the officers of the MC office are all-day busy in dealing with his RTI information, whereas other officers have to visit State Information Commission to file reply in the commission on the appeal filed by Amarjit Singh Dhamotia.

While disposing of the appeals filed by Amarjit Singh Dhamotia, State Information Commissioner Yashvir Mahajan held that "the duty of the commission to see that such blatant act of misuse of RTI act should not be allowed further and such situation needs to be appropriately dealt with to secure the faith of the public in the ‘Sun Shine Act’ and remove obstacles in functioning of public authority, which would eventually prevent public authority from focusing on transparency. His act of running riot with filing repeated application seeking inane and voluminous information has become counter-productive of public interest. The commission cannot allow such fishing operations of the appellant. We see his act as misuse rather abuse of the RTI act with unsavory motives. The commission accordingly disposes all the appeals in hand in terms of section 7 (9) of RTI Act and allows the public authority to ignore his applications in future.”




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Another Passport Office to come up in Nawanshahr
21.04.17 - TEAM PT
Another Passport Office to come up in Nawanshahr



External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today agreed to a demand by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for opening up another passport office in Punjab to facilitate NRIs, the state government said today. 

During a meeting with Singh, Swaraj also assured to look into the issue of blacklisted Sikhs settled abroad.
 
The issues came up for discussion when Amarinder called on Swaraj here to inquire about her health after her recent kidney transplant. 

During the brief courtesy call, Swaraj, in response to the Chief Minister's concern on the issue, also promised all possible efforts by the central government to ensure the safety and security of Punjabis and Sikhs living abroad. 

The proposed passport office in Nawanshahr will be in addition to the recently sanctioned passport office in Patiala which is set to be inaugurated soon, a spokesperson of the Punjab government disclosed after the meeting. 

The Chief Minister expressed concern over the delay in removing the names of Sikh youth enumerated in government's blacklist for their alleged involvement in "subversive or anti-India activities" in the past. 

These Indian-origin Sikh youth are barred from visiting India on account of being blacklisted. Swaraj said she would take up the issue with the Home Ministry, which was in the process of gradually pruning the list. 

The matter of racist attacks on Punjabis and Sikhs settled in various countries also came up during discussions, with Amarinder urging Swaraj to take up the matter at the international level to protect victims of such assaults. 

Swaraj said her ministry was apprised of the issue and she had been personally pursuing the matter to ensure that Sikhs and Punjabis settled abroad are provided security by the respective governments of those countries. 

The Chief Minister also raised the issue of setting up of Punjab-Israel working groups to boost cooperation for mutual benefit in the areas of security, agriculture and trade. 

The proposal to set up such groups had been made by Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon at his meeting with Amarinder earlier today, the spokesperson said. 

The Chief Minister, at his meeting with the External Affairs Minister, underlined the importance of such groups in the broader national interest.




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Punjab Govt enhances OBC quota in Educational institutions from 5% to 10%
19.04.17 - TEAM PT
Punjab Govt enhances OBC quota in Educational institutions from 5% to 10%



Implementing another of its poll promises, the Punjab government has announced increase in reservation of OBCs in educational institutions from 5% to 10%.
             
The reservation quota for members of the backward classes has also been similarly enhanced in technical and professional institutions in the state, an official spokesperson disclosed here on Wednesday.
 
The enhancement in quota comes into immediate effect as the Welfare Department has already issued a notification to this effect. 
 
The move is aimed at uplift of the Dalits and other backward classes, which have been suffered extreme suppression and victimization in the past 10 years of the SAD-BJP misrule, the spokesperson said. The Captain Amarinder government had, in its election manifesto, promised several measures for the uplift of the OBCs/Dalits, including reservation in educational institutions and jobs.
 
The spokesperson, however, clarified that the decision does not impact the reservation quota/percentage for scheduled castes/scheduled tribes, which remains unchanged at 25%.
 
The Punjab government had in March 1964 notified reservation quota of 20% and 2% seats for the members of scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and backward classes in education, technical and professional institutions. These norms were revised in 1974, when the state government enhanced the quota by 5%, taking it to 25% in case of members of scheduled castes, and to 5% in case of members of backward classes.




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