Monthly Archives: APRIL 2017
To facelift Amritsar; CM orders Planned and Sustainable Development
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered a series of initiatives to ensure planned, sustainable and holistic development of Amritsar, with special focus on the problem-stricken Walled City.
Presiding over a high level meeting to review the ongoing works in the city, the Chief Minister directed the concerned officials to follow total transparency in the execution of existing projects, such as the Smart City, AMRUT, HRIDAY, etc. He also advocated the need for pinning responsibility for all ill-conceived projects that had led to the state exchequer incurring huge losses.
Underlining the need to provide world class civic amenities to the residents of the holy city, the Chief Minister instructed the concerned officials to revisit the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project started by the previous Congress government (2002-2007) for the walled city, whose residents were living in a quagmire of problems. He directed the officials to initiate the process of replacement of the old water and sewerage pipes in the walled city.
The Chief Minister also gave the nod to the assessment of the viability of supplying surface water for drinking purpose to the city residents from Upper Bari Doab Canal. He said that this could, on the one hand, help save the precious ground water and, on the other, provide clean and potable drinking water to the city residents. Captain Amarinder said that the system of supplying surface water to cities for drinking could eventually also be replicated in other parts of the state.
The Chief Minister also asked the Chief Secretary to explore the feasibility of setting up an autonomous body for lifting and tackling of the garbage problem in the city. It was important to address this gigantic problem in a highly professional manner for the benefit of the state in general, and the holy city in particular, he stressed.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Chief Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal secretary to Chief Minister Tejveer Singh, Additional Chief Secretary DP Reddy, CEO Invest Punjab Anirudh Tiwari, Secretary Tourism Hussan Lal and Secretary Local government B Balamurghan.
Amarinder sets up expert group to explore ways to waive farm debt
The Captain Amarinder Singh government has set up an Expert Group to assess the quantum of agricultural debt, and suggests ways and means for its waiver.
Dr. T. Haque, Former Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, has been appointed Chairman of the Group, which has been tasked with submitting its report within 60 days.
The two other members of the Group are Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi, Director – South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, South Asia Regional Office; and Dr. B.S. Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, PAU, Ludhiana.
An official notification issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Development) said the Group would be assisted by the officers of the State Government, including Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Financial Commissioner (Development) and Principal Secretary Finance.
Dr. Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Commissioner and Director Agriculture, Punjab, shall assist the Group as Convener. He shall convene the meetings of the Group, which may associate officers from the banking sector, including Chief General Manager, NABARD, Chandigarh and Convener State Level Bankers’ Committee, Punjab, Chandigarh.
Besides assessing the total amount of credit including institutional and non-institutional credit availed by different categories of farmers, the Group will assess the quantum of bad loans or debt and suggest the methodology for remission of debt. It will also suggest ways and means to raise resources for the debt waiver, according to the notification.
The Expert Group may co-opt any other member, if so required, to achieve its objectives, in order to facilitate the state government’s efforts to ameliorate the sufferings of the farmers.
The Punjab Mandi Board shall provide both secretariat assistance and financial support including payment of allowance to the non-official members for effective and proper functioning of the Group, as per the notification.
CM Amarinder pays tributes to Dr. Ambedkar on 126th birth anniversary
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday paid sincere tributes to the legendary leader, Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Dr. BR Ambedkar, on his 126th birth anniversary, recalling his outstanding contribution to the uplift of the weaker sections of the society.
In his message to the people, Captain Amarinder described Dr. Ambedkar as a scholar, jurist, economist, social reformer and statesman par excellence. Though he hailed from a humble family, he went to join the league of top global leaders as a result of his dedicated commitment to the backward and weaker sections, said the Chief Minister, adding that the Indian Constitution was the result of Dr. Ambedkar’s hard work, dedication and far sightedness.
Amarinder exhorted the people to follow the path shown by the great social reformer, urging them to work towards the realization of Dr. Ambedkar’s vision and dream by carving out an egalitarian society for securing justice and equality for all the sections of society. Captain Amarinder called upon the people to follow the ideals of Dr. Ambedkar and rise above the petty considerations of caste, colour and creed to lead India on the path of holistic progress.
The Chief Minister regretted his inability to attend the state level function in honour of the legendary leader, who had played a remarkable role in shaping modern India, due to his indisposition.
CM blasts SAD, AAP, SGPC on the issue of his stand against radicalism
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has assailed what he described as the misleading propaganda of political and religious outfits against his stand on fundamentalism and radicalism, as manifested in his decision not to meet the Canadian defence minister during the latter’s forthcoming visit to India.
The reactions showed that these outfits, including the SGPC, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), were completely lacking in national pride, said the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder asserted that the state government was regularly tracking and monitoring the activities of Khalistani sympathizers and others having any kind of links to extremist forces inimical to India. Our assessments and decisions are based on these reports, he said, reiterated that while he was ready to provide security and protocol treatment to Harjit Singh Sajjan, during his proposed visit to India later this month, there was no question of meeting the Canadian minister.
Captain Amarinder made it clear that the security and protocol treatment to be provided to Sajjan, when he visits Punjab, would be at par with what would be accorded to the Indian defence minister on a visit to Canada. It will be neither more nor less, while keeping in view the threat perceptions against Sajjan.
Captain Amarinder came down heavily on the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) for their criticism of his stance, saying the religious body, which claims to protect the interests of Sikhs and the ethos of Sikhism, seemed to have forgotten the treatment meted out to its leaders by hardliners in Canada. Do they have no sense of pride, he asked, adding that those opposing his principled stand on the issue were encouraging Khalistani sympathizers, thus fanning the possibility of the revival of Sikh extremism.
Countering SAD leader Sukhbir Badal’s statement dubbing him as ‘anti-Sikh’, the Chief Minister said the former deputy chief minister was trying to mislead the people by spreading false propaganda. Captain pointed out that he had not expressed antagonism towards all Sikhs settled in Canada but only towards a miniscule population which is sympathetic to the Khalistani cause. He had always been proud of the achievements of Sikhs settled abroad and held them in high esteem.
Vigilance probe in Sangrur case hogwash to bail out robbers in uniform: Bir Devinder
14.04.17 - Bir Devinder Singh
Vigilance probe ordered by the Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh in the infamous Sangrur extortion case is a mere hogwash to bail out the robbers in uniform. The vigilance bureau of investigations, Punjab has completely lost its credibility over a period of time. The super cops at the helm of the vigilance bureau are no less disgraced ‘caged parrots’ than that of the CBI.
Till recently the vigilance bureau of Punjab was seen, on indecent spree to file cancellations of FIR’s registered in the various mega corruption cases, against the political bigwigs of both the major political parties of Punjab, including the incumbent Chief Minister. It speaks volume of the investigational competence of the Vigilance bureau that in certain cases of mega corruption, this premier investigation agency took more than ten years, to request the trial court for the framing of the charges against the alleged accused. And eventually demolishing their own investigation theories, ironically they concluded that nothing tangible has been found in the FIR, registered at the behest of Punjab Vidhan Sabha and thus eventually filed the request for cancellation of the FIR, before the trial court.
Even in one of very infamous case of corruption against the Badal family investigated by the same vigilance bureau, the IO (investigation officer) and the Supervisory officer, (Both IPS) refuse to identify their own signature on the investigation diary filed in form of the Chalaan in the trial court at Mohali. The court was so infuriated on the despicable conduct of these two Vigilance bureau officers, that the court was constrained to order perjury proceedings against both the IPS officers, who colossally carried out the investigation at the hustling. Its pertinent to mention here, that both these officers were cherry-picked by the then CM Capt. Amarinder Singh, Intriguingly enough; one of them is heading the ‘Punjab Vigilance Bureau’ today.
So in the wake of the above, I’m of the firm view that the vigilance probe in the matter would unnecessarily delay the matter, inordinately. It would be appropriate that the report submitted by SSP Sangrur, Mr. Mandeep Singh Sidhu to IG Zonal Patiala Mr. A.S Rai, should be taken in to account at once and the DGP, Punjab police must order the registration of an FIR under the relevant provisions of the IPC, besides placing all of them, found guilty in the report, under suspension, forthwith.
The DGP and the Home department should also simultaneously initiate dismissal proceedings against the guilty police officials, under Article 311 (2)(b) of the constitution of India. This kind of exemplary action would help in restoring the confidence of the general public in the investigational uprightness of the police.
I would also like to warn the present dispensation of the State with a caveat that attempts by the high ups of the State’s administration, to cover up the crime in order to save the skin of the police officials, allegedly involved in the brutal extortions, would reflect very poorly on the integrity of the Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.
I would also invite the intervention of the Chief Minister, to take all possible measure to first ensure the return of the entire extorted money Rs. 19,50.000/- as referred to in the enquiry report, to the poor farmers namely; Dhanwant Singh resident of village Kotrha Amru and Harjinder Singh resident of village Dugga. And thus enabling them to liberate themselves from the hefty debt which they had to undertake to suffice the monstrous greed of the police officials in question.
(The writer is the Former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.)