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August, 2008



Chandigarh August 22, 2008

In a significant decision, the Union Water Resources Minister Mr.Saif- Ud-Din Soz today agreed in principle to pose projects of Rajasthan Canal and Sirhind Feeder worth Rs.261 crores to the World Bank for its up gradation and modernization to check the huge loss of water due to seepage which had resulted in large scale water logging in the Malwa Belt.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting between the Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal and Union Water Resources Minister Mr Soz here in his office at Shram Shakti Bhawan.

Mr.Badal said that since the state was not in a position to undertake up gradation of these projects due to paucity of funds it had already referred a comprehensive proposal to the Central Water Commission (CWC) which had now decided to take up with the World Bank for its timely execution.

Mr.Badal also demanded that Centre should treat Shahpur Kandi Dam as a "National Project"and bear 90% of its project cost as the Government of India had only agreed to give 20.9% of the total cost for irrigation component. Mr.Soz assured he Chief Minister to get this proposal thoroughly examined by the Ministry of Water Resources so that it could be executed within a stipulated time frame.

Responding to another demand raised by Mr. Badal , the Union Water Resources Minister agreed that the Center would bear the entire expenditure of Rs.30 crore to undertake the repair of 150 Kms stretch of damaged 'bandhs' on river Beas Sutlej and Ravi due to recent flood in the State.

Showing concern over the fast depletion of water table, Mr.Badal also urged Mr. Soz to increase the allocation of funds under Accelerated Irrigation Building Programme (AIBP) as Punjab was agrarian state depending substantially on canal irrigation. He stated that the state had not received any funds for the remodeling of Sirhind Feeder andBathinda Branch at a cost ofRs. 407.03 crore and Rs238.18 crore respectively.

Mr Soz informed the Chief Minister that the first installment of Rs 34.33 crore would be soon released after the revision of new guidelines under AIBP. Like wise projects worth Rs.552.crore relating to rehabilitation of major canals under AIBP would be soon appraised and approve by the CWC. He assured of full support and cooperation to the Chief Minister for expeditiously execution of the various irrigation projects in the state. He appreciated the concern of Mr.Badal about the scarcity of ground water and urged him to go for harvesting of rain water and recharge of ground water to maintain the level of water table.

Mr.Badal was accompanied by his Principal Secretary DS Guru,Principal Secretary Irrigation and Power Mr.Suresh Kumar, Special Principal Secretary KJS Cheema and Principal Resident Commissioner Punajb Bhawan New Delhi Mrs.Anjuly Chib Duggal .



Chandigarh August 22, 2008

Union Agriculture Minister Mr.Sharad Pawar today gave in principle assurance to the Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal that Government of India would soon announce an adequate hike in the MSP of paddy well before the start of procurement to compensate the expenses of farmers in remenumerative terms for high costs of agricultural inputs incurred by them.

An assurance to this effect was given by Mr.Pawar to the Punjab Chief Minister who called on the former in his office at Krishi Bhawan in New Delhi this afternoon. Mr.Badal demanded the fixation of MSP of common variety of Paddy and Grade A- Variety atRs.1400 and Rs.1500 per qtl respectively. It may be recalled the GoI had fixed Rs.850 per qtl for common variety and Rs880/- for Grade-A variety of paddy as the minimum support price for the Kharif Marketing Season 2008-09 against the MSP of Rs.1000/- per qtl recommended by Costs and Prices Commission for Agriculture.

Mr.Badal pointed out that the debt ridden farmers of Punjab deserved much needed support so that they continue to contribute food grains for the Central Pool to suitably augment the food security of the Country.

Responding to the demand of hike in paddy's MSP,Mr.Pawar also assured the Chief Minister that besides the likely upward revision of MSP, the Ministry of Agriculture was seriously contemplating to announce a suitable bonus over and above the enhanced MSP of paddy.

The Chief Minister also impressed upon Mr.Pawar to ensure timely arrangements for uninterrupted supply of 4.8 lac MT. of DAP to Punjab before the on set of Rabi season. Mr.Badal also sought the Union Agriculture Ministry's permission to export wheat and rice to the international Market as done by Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) and State Trading Corporation (STC) on behalf of GoI, because the state agencies like Markfed, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation & Punjab State Warehousing Corporation had adequate experience of exporting food grains.

The Chief Minister also demanded that administrative /establishment cost on both wheat and paddy should be reimbursed @Rs2.5% of MSP's from 2008-09. At present reimbursement of these charges @Rs 2.5% were only applicable in case of wheat and the state government had been consistently representing that 2.5 % of MSP is quite insufficient and did not fully cover the administrative expenses and demanded its reimbursement on both the crops wheat and paddy.Mr.Badal also impressed upon the Union Agriculture Minister to declare PUSA-1121 as Basmati as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had already forwarded its recommendation to Secretary(Agriculture and Cooperation) Govt. of India. Mr Badal mentioned that the area under this variety had more than doubled in Punjab due to better returns to the farmers during Kharif 2007(yield 18-22 quintals per acre and market price Rs.1900-200 per quintal). He requested Mr.Pawar that the notification regarding PUSA-1121 to be treated as 'evolved basmati' variety should be issued immediately.

Referring to the National Food Security Mission-Wheat, Mr.Badal asked the Agriculture Minister to adopt the remaining ten districts in view of Punjab's tremendous contribution towards the Central Pool as this initiative would further boost the prospects of high yield of wheat both qualitatively and quantitatively. He also solicited Agriculture ministry support for change in norms of Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Yojna (RKVY) to compensate for repairs and maintenances of the existing developed Irrigation infrastructure.

Mr.Pawar assured the Chief Minister that he would soon address all the pending issues of the Punjab Government relating to agriculture and also directed the Secretary Food Distribution and Consumer Affairs to immediately enhance the quota of food grains under Public Distribution System for APL (Above Poverty Line) families in Punjab.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by the Cooperation Minister Capt.Kanwaljit Singh,Food and Civil Supplies Minister Mr.Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, his Media Advisor Mr.Harcharan Bains, Principal Secretary,Mr.D.S.Guru, Principal Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Mr.R.P.S.Pawar, Spl.Principal Secretary Mr.K.J.S.Cheema besides the top senior functionaries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal today called on Union Home Minister Mr. Shivraj V.Patial at New Delhi to seek special package of Rs.530.36 crore for the rehabilitation of flood affected persons and restoration of damaged infrastructure due to recent floods in the state.

Mr.Badal urged the Union Home Minister to relax the stringent norms fixed for the eligibility criteria for entitlement under Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) and suggested that the relief in case of loss caused to crops should be hiked from Rs.4000/- to 15000/- per hectare, like wise in case of damaged household goods it should also be enhanced from Rs.1000/- to RS. 50,000/-. Giving the tentative breakup of the funds required for undertaking rehabilitation and restoration works in wake of the floods, Mr.Badal said that Rs.243.25 crore was required for the payment of relief on account of the damage caused to crops, houses, cattle and infrastructure besides Rs.287.18 crore for roads, dispensaries and school embankments.

Mr.Patil assured the Chief Minister that he would personally take up the matter with Ministry of Planning for the relaxation of norms of CRF and finally got it approved from the Union Cabinet. He said that a Central Team would visit the flood affected areas in the State tomorrow to access the quantum of damage caused to standing crops, property and loss of human lives.Mr Patil also assured the Chief Minister that the Government of India would soon announce a special package for Punjab after seeking a detailed report from the Central team.

Mr.Badal also impressed upon the Union Home Minister to personally visit the border areas of Punjab to have first hand information about the hardships faced by its residents. He urged Mr. Patil to immediately grant Rs.9.25 crore for compensation to farmers with fields across the international border @ Rs.5000 per acre. He also demanded Rs.160 crore for the construction of modern jails at Kapurthala and Faridkot as a one time grant besides Rs.140 crore for setting up Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police University as a capital grant. The Chief Minister also asked Mr.Patil to personally intervene to clear the state government's pending proposals relating to the grant of Rs.92.86 crore for the provision of drinking water and sewerage facilities in 11 towns of border districts in Punjab under Border Area Development Project (BADP).

The Chief Minister also requested Mr.Patil to provide adequate funds for the up gradation and modernization of spectators' galleries at Atari in Amritsar district and Hussainiwala in Ferozepur district. Referring to the modernization of State Forces Police, Mr.Badal asked the Home Minister to enhance the modernilisation plan for the year 2008-2009 from Rs.24 crore to Rs.100 crore out of which GOI's share of Rs.75 crore should be immediately approved as the Punjab Government was committed to give its share of Rs.25 crore to sustain and carry forward steps initiated during the current year, adding he said from the year 2009-2010 onwards the state plan be fixed at the original outlay of Rs.64.20 crores.

Mr.Patil assured the Chief Minister that he would soon convene a separate meeting of the Ministry of Home Affairs to clear all the pending proposals of the Punjab Government relating to issues raised by Mr.Badal.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Media Advisor Mr. Harcharan Bains, Principal Secretary,Mr.D.S.Guru, Mrs.Anjuly Chib Dugal Principal Resident Commissioner Punjab Bhawan New Delhi and Special Priincipal to Chief Minister Mr K.J.S.Cheema.The Ministry of Home Affairs was representative by Secretary Border Management Mr.Jarnail Singh,Joint Secretary.Border Management Mr. Sada Nand, Joint Secretary Disaster Management Mr. Prabhanshu Dass and Joint Secretary Central State Relations Mr.N.S.Kalsi.

National Knowledge Commission suggests Punjab to accredit education institutions

Chandigarh, August 22, 2008

National Knowledge Commission (NKC) today suggested Punjab Government to introduce compulsory accreditation of Education Institutions including Institutes of Higher Education to bring uniformity, standardisation and transparency in their working.

Mr. S. Raghunathan, IAS (retd.) Advisor to National Knowledge Commission (NKC) and his team today gave a presentation to Chief Secretary Mr. R.I.Singh and Senior Civil Officers of Labour, Education, Industries, I.T., Employment Generation Department to deliberate upon recommendations of NKC. The Commission also suggested constituting a board of higher education on the pattern of CBSE to stop proliferation of various institutes of dubious character and also too lower load on State Universities.

In a brain storming session, the commission also suggested that while going ahead with bill on private universities, the recommendation of NKC be kept in mind.

Suggesting for a sustained campaign for globalization of education, the NKC team suggested state government to create a think tank consisting of Chief Minister and Chief Secretary to monitor the progress of higher education institution. It also suggested providing digital infrastructure to the institutions and constituting a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for this purpose.

The State Government had set up two Working Groups last year, viz. on Business Process Reengineering in Government and Improving Access to Language and Higher Education. These were based upon the deliberations held with a team of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) led by Sh. S. Reghunathan, Advisor. Both the groups had submitted reports to the state government and the state had constituted task force with a steering committee headed by Chief Secretary.

Today NKC also submitted its knowledge related report to the state government on higher education, Health Care, School Education.

Besides Chief Secretary Principal Secretary Labour Mr. P.Ram, Director General MGSIPA Mr. B.K.Srivastava, Financial Commissioner Cooperation Ms. Kusumjit Sidhu, Principle Secretary Mr. S.S.Channy, Secretary Co-ordination Mr. Ashok Goyal, Secretary Higher Education Mrs. Anjali Bhawra, Secretary I.T. Mr. Narinderjit Singh; Director, Public Relation Mr. Tejveer Singh; Special Secretary Irrigation Mr. A.K.Shekhar; Director General School Education Mr. Krishan Kumar, Director General Employment Generation Mr. A.S.Mahajan; Executive Director Punjab State Council of Science & Technology Mr. N.S.Tiwana were also present in the meeting.

Ms. Sukhman Randhawa, Research Associate KNC also gave a presentation.



In a major relief to the poor families in the state, the Punjab Government had decided to allot the ownership of pre-occupied part of Shamlat land to the Scheduled Castes and Vimakut Jatis including Bajigars, who had constructed their houses before August 15, 2008.

Disclosing this here today S. Ranjit singh Brahampura, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Punjab said that the poor families, who have already constructed their dwelling houses on Shamlat land in the villages, were suffering from humiliation as they were facing eviction threats under the Punjab Panchayats Raj Act 1994. Besides such families were also debarred from contesting the panchayt at elections due to the unathorised/illegal possession on the Shamlat land under the Panchayat Act, thus not enjoying their fundamental rights in contesting the elections.

The Minister added that the village panchayats had already been empowered to pass a resolution in a general meeting of Gram Sabha to provide a portion of land out of Shamlat for a dwelling house to the poor families of their villages but this process was so complex and cumbersome that was creating hurdles in conferring the title of land to the poor families. In order to bring more transparency and simplify the process of sanctions, it had been decided to empower the Deputy Commissioners to take such decisions at their own, he said.

S. Brahampura added that the Block Development and Panchayat Officers ( BDPOs) after examining the unanimous resolution of a Gram Panchayat in this regard, would send the recommendations to the DDPOs who in turn would submit the cases to the concerned Deputy Commissioners for final approval. Under this plan only those, Scheduled Castes and Vimukat Jatis, including Bajigars, families could avail the benefits who were residing in the same Gram Sabha area as a landless worker and were registered as a voter in the village voter list having age more than 45 years.

The Panchayat Minister said that the Gram Panchayats would ensure transparency and nondiscrimination decision while recommending the poor beneficiaries to avail this benefit. The beneficiaries must have constructed his/her house before August 15, 2008 and the allotted land/house could not be transferred, sold or mortgazed. But in case of securing a housing loan, the land/house could be mortgazed to the landing institution.

The Minister added that Deputy Commissioners would ensure the eligibility and genuinity of the beneficiary while disposing of the cases and would report back to the Rural Development and Panchayats Department. He clarified that the land reserved for religious places, cremation/burial grounds, toilets etc could not be allotted at any cost under this scheme.


CHANDIGARH, 22 August, 2008

The Irrigation Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational Programme for irrigation for the Kharif Season through Canal water from 25 August to 1 September, 2008. The channels of Sirhind Canal System would run on priority basis from Bist Doab Canal, Sidhwan Branch, Bhatinda Branch, Patiala feeder and Abohar Branch respectively.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman of the Irrigation department said that direct distributaries of Bhakra Main Line, in Group 'A' being in the first preference would run to their indent. Balance water supplies would be utilised in Ghaggar link and its off taking channels i.e. Ghaggar Branch and Patiala Minor in Group 'B' respectively.

The spokesman further said that the Punjab channels off taking from Harika and Ferozepur Head Works & Branches i.e. all the direct distributaries of Sirhind Feeder in-group "A" being in the first preference would run to their indent. Balance water supplies would be utilised in Abohar Branch off taking from Sirhind Feeder and its distributaries/minors in-group "B".

The spokesman also said that the channels off taking from upper Bari Doab Canal i.e. Lahore Branch with its distributaries being in first Preference would run to their indent. Balance Surplus water available would be utilised in Main Branch Lower, Kasur Branch Lower, Sabraon Branch and with its distributaries.



Chandigarh, August 22: The Punjab Government today notified a new transparent purchase policy, allowing Principals of Medical, Dental, Ayurvedic & Homeopathic Colleges in the state to purchase machinery & equipment as per rate contract of PGI, Govt. Medical College & Hospital Sector 32, Chandigarh, Health & Family Welfare Department Punjab and Punjab Health System Corporation which ever is the lowest.

According to Mr. Tikshan Sud, Medical Education & Research Minister this decision has been taken to avoid delay in process of making purchase of Machinery and equipment for the Medical Institutions in the State. He said that Director Medical Education & Research would quarterly request the above government sources to provide information regarding changes, if any, in the items covered under rate contract and informed the Principles accordingly.

The Medical Education & Research Minister informed that for items not covered under above rate contract and 11 members Central Committees headed by Secretary Medical Education & Research with Director Medical Education & Research , Punjab, Director Research & Medical Education, Punjab (AYUSH), Representative of Finance Department, Representative of Controller of Stores, Punjab, Principal of Medical College, Principal Dental College, Principal government Ayurvedic College, Representative of Punjab Health System Corporation, Representative of Health and Family Welfare Department, Punjab, Representative of Director, PGI, Chandigarh and Representative of Director Vigilance Department, Punjab has been constituted.

Similarly for purchases below 1 lac a five members committee of the institute under the Chairmanship of Head of Institution have been constituted.

The Minister said that this policy has been framed to cut red tappism besides also keeping in view emergent need of equipments and machinery in the medical institutions


CHANDIGARH, AUGUST 22: A Punjab cadre dentist Dr. Randeep Singh Mann B.D.S, PCMS-I presently on deputation with UT Administration, Chandigarh has got the rare US award on Dental Implants.

Dr. Mann is the first doctor of Punjab and Chandigarh to receive this illustrious Fellowship of International Congress of Oral Implantology. The award is bestowed by the Congress after scrutinizing Oral Implants received from all over the World. Dr. Mann has been invited by the International congress to receive the award at a special ceremony to be held at 11th Implant Prosthetic Symposium being held at Chicago Illinois on August 24, 2008.

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today congratulated Dr. Mann for achieving this global distinction.

Dr. Mann was recently honoured by Punjab Government with the State Award on Independence Day at Ludhiana. He was also been decorated by UT Administration Chandigarh on 26th January, 2008 for meritorious services.

Dr. Mann has also been appointed as Visiting Oberver Faculty in the department of Dentistry at Yale-New-Haven Hospital and Department of Surgery (Dental) Yale School of Medicine.

Manmohan's response positive: Badal

Chandigarh August 22, 2008

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to "intervene effectively and immediately to save Punjab from being turned into another Kashmir by the Congress party's highly ill-advised and ill-conceived move of setting up a separate Gurdwara panel" in Haryana.
Mr. Badal's remarks came after the Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal led a delegation to the Prime Minister in the latter's South Block office here this morning. The delegation comprised, apart from the Chief Minister, senior Akali leaders Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Captain Kanwaljit Singh. The delegation also submitted a memorandum to the PM on this sensitive religious issue.

"I hope the centre would realize the gravity of the situation and stop the Haryana government from going ahead with its attempts to break up the supreme and elected Sikh religious institution, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)," said Mr. Badal.

Referring to the serious implications of the Congress move, the Chief Minister said, "We are a peace loving community and we are hoping that the attempts to open a fresh festering wound in the country in Punjab would be dropped. The whole of the country is already up in flames and it can easily do without another trouble spot in Punjab along the lines of Jammu and Kashmir."

The Chief Minister told waiting media persons that the SAD's demand seemed to have struck a sympathetic chord with the Prime Minister who assured the delegation that he would direct the Union Home Minister Mr. Shiv Raj Patil to take up the matter with the Haryana government. "The Prime Minister informed us that he could understand the seriousness of the problem and the sensitivities of the Sikh masses on the issue as his own father had courted arrest in the struggle for the formation of the SGPC before Independence of the country," said the Chief Minister.
Mr. Badal said that Punjab today was one of the few oases of peace in the country and the Congress party's move to ride roughshod over the sentiments of the Sikh community would seriously impact the situation in the entire region. "We have already paid a very heavy price for similar misadventures of the Congress in trying to divide the Sikhs. We are hoping that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi would draw correct lessons from Punjab's and country's traumatic experience of the eighties and not persist with her party's dangerous adventurism in Haryana and Punjab," said Mr. Badal.

Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also addressed the media after the meeting with the PM, described the Congress party's move as "a blunder of the Himalayan magnitude." He said that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and the government of India must realize that even a small issue like the transfer of a few acres of land to a religious shrine could blow into a major national calamity, as it had done in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The enormity of the blunder being committed by the Congress with regard to the SGPC is many times more dangerous and that party must not be allowed to play havoc with national interests for its petty political gains," said an emotionally charged Akali president.

Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal also submitted a memorandum on behalf of his party to the Prime Minister. The memorandum warned that the situation in the country in general and in Punjab in particular "could take a serious and explosive turn" if the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh did not intervene both with Sonia Gandhi and the Haryana government to stop the Haryana government from its dangerous move which could turn the Sikh issue into a major national crisis. The Memorandum traced the history of the "Mini Parliament of the Sikhs, the SGPC" since the days of the Jaitau Morcha. Mahatma Gandhi had described the success of that Morcha which culminated in the setting of this democratic religious Sikh institution as the "first victory of the struggle for freedom.

Later, the first Prime Minister of the country, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru reached a pact with the Sikh stalwart, Master Tara Singh which said that no state or Union government would ever interfere with the Sikh religious affairs and any decision concerning the religious issues of the community would be taken only after the prior consent of the overwhelming majority of the SGPC, said the resolution. "Not only is the glory of the struggle, which was hailed by Mahatma Gandhi as a national milestone, being undermined but an effort is being made to undo the proud history of the Sikhs and the country through this highly explosive move," the resolution further said.



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