PUNJAB ISSUES FRESH INSTRUCTIONS ON ELECTION
CHANDIGARH JUNE 06, 2008
The Punjab Government today followed up the Chief Minster Mr.
Parkash Singh Badal's categorical declaration about not disturbing
the status of reserved seats in the Panchayats elections by issuing
fresh orders on the election of the Sarpanches of the village
Panchayats with regard to the reservation of posts for scheduled
castes and women panches, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister
Mr. Harcharan Bains said here today.
Under the fresh instructions, there will be no change allowed
in a reserved panchayats where the post of a Sarpanch is reserved
for Scheduled Caste (SC) woman and a SC woman panch refuses to
contest elections. The post cannot be offered to another SC candidate
or another woman candidate. Similarly, there will be no change
in status of a reserved seat even if someone belonging to SC sarpanch
and a SC panch refuses to contest elections. These seats will
remain strictly for reserved categories under all circumstances.
Thirdly, in case the post of sarpanch is reserved for a woman
panch and a woman panch refuses to contest elections, the post
can not be declared open for all other panch candidates.
A circular had already been issued to all the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District
Electoral Officer for strict compliance of these instructions,
BADAL DEMANDS WHEAT BONUS RS. 100 P.Q'
Start agricultural development fund'
CHANDIGARH JUNE 06, 2008
Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today urged the
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to immediately announces a bonus
of Rs. 100/- per quintal of wheat procurement to partly offset
the potential loss suffered by farmers of Punjab for not being
allowed to export their marketable surplus.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Badal said that the need
to sustain and increase domestic food grain production levels
and boost farmers' morale could never be over-emphasized given
the strong possibility that international prices were unlikely
to register any significant fall in the next few years.
Mr. Badal assured the Prime Minister that in case the Government
of India came forward to assist the State and recognized the contribution
of its beleaguered farmers at this juncture, "an equally
vigorous and enthusiastic response from the farmers of Punjab
would ensure enhanced food grain production to offset the volatility
of the international market and to preserve the nation's food
and nutrition security".
The Chief Minister reminded Dr. Singh that Punjab had once again
risen to the nation's call though a record procurement of wheat
in the country. Till date, a record 105 lakh MT wheat had been
procured in the State. "This comes at a most crucial time
for the country as serious questions were being raised in public
regarding the country's food security following steep escalation
in international prices of food grain in general and of wheat
in particular. We had substantially surpassed the target of 80
lakh MT that the Union Food & Agriculture Minister had set
for Punjab as against the last year's procurement of 67.81 lakh
MT" mentioned Mr. Badal.
The Chief Minister highlighted the importance of sustaining high
domestic food grain production at this juncture which could be
illustrated through these simple statistics. The country, he said,
spent about Rs. 8000 crore on import of 73 lakh MT wheat during
the last two years and the price of wheat had nearly doubled in
the international market since then. "In case the country
were to import 30 lakh MT of wheat in the current year, it would
cost the national exchequer around Rs. 5800 crore. By ensuring
substantially higher procurement of over 30 lakh MT this year,
Punjab had saved the country this additional cost. However, in
the process, Punjab farmers have lost a possible Rs.. 4800 crore,
the differential of 100 lakh MT in the buoyant international market.
The international price of wheat was about Rs. 15000 per MT against
the procurement price of Rs.10,000 per MT," said the Chief
Minister quoting Government of India data.
Mr. Badal said that it was against this backdrop of high international
food grain prices and concomitant need to augment food grain production
in the country that he sought to focus the Center's attention
on the urgent need for the Union Government to provide more substantial
budgetary support to the State's agricultural infrastructure.
The Chief Minster pointed out that the State was facing severe
problems in the farm sector like alarming depletion of ground
water with 112 out of 141 blocks being declared as "dark
zones", depletion of soil productivity and other environmental
problems, agricultural indebtedness and falling real farm incomes
and dilapidated canal irrigation system working at sub-optimal
levels.. All this was on account of the intensive farming regime.
"Our success in the farming sector was on account of substantial
public investment made by the State Government from time to time
in agricultural research and extension, irrigation and power.
However, these old assets were in dire need of renewal, remodeling,
up-gradation and expansion for which we have been repeatedly requesting
Central Government's assistance. This was necessary if we have
to sustain and enhance our agricultural production," he said.
Mr. Badal put forth some suggestions for the consideration of
the Union Government to mitigate the problems plaguing our farm
sector. " First, it is imperative to consider the State's
demand for creation of an Agricultural Development Fund (ADF),
an issue that had also articulated before the National Development
Council in its 54th meeting by me in December 2007. The Fund was
proposed to be raised through payment of Rs. 100 for every quintal
of food-grain procured which would be used for rejuvenation of
agricultural and irrigation infrastructure as well as for funding
research and extension activities in the respective States. Our
State needed Rs. 3200 crore to remodel and rejuvenate its old
canal irrigation system that services only 27% of the State's
irrigated area, he said, adding that the remaining 97% of the
total cultivable area was under tube well irrigation.
The Chief Minister said that Rs.3200 crore required by the State,
Rs. 1700 crore are needed for remodeling of the existing canal
network and Rs. 950 crore for lining of Sirhind Feeder and Rajasthan
Canal and for other anti-water-logging operations. Likewise, Rs.3500
crore is required in the power sector for up gradation of the
State's transmission and distribution system in rural areas, which
in this present mode was causing substantial losses on this account.
The Chief Minister reiterated that both these inputs were critical
for the success of agricultural production system. The proposed
ADF would help to ensure a steady financial input to facilitate
the State to undertake these planned projects.
FUEL PRICE HIKE: BADAL DEMANDS ROLL BACK
Punjab farmers to be the worst hit : CM writes to PM
CHANDIGARH JUNE 6, 2008
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today asked
the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh "to roll back the
steep and unbearable" hike in fuel prices announced by Government
of India the other day. " This exorbitant hike comes at a
time when our economy is already beginning to choke under the
severe impact of inflationary pressures. The decision would break
the back of the poor and the middle classes in general and the
farmers in particular, " the Chief Minister pointed out.
In his letter to Dr. Singh today, Mr. Badal said. "The
combined effect of all these factors would be to increase inflationary
pressures, slow down the pace of growth and development and increase
the general cost of living for the common man," said Mr.
Releasing the contents of the letter to newsmen this evening,
CM's Media Advisor Mr. Harcharn Bains said that Mr. Badal was
also likely top press for this in a meeting he proposes to have
with the Prime Minister on the issue.
In his letter the Chief Minister said that he had been "anguished"
by the decision of the Union Government especially as it came
at a time when the prices of the all essential goods 'had already
shot through the roof and inflation was spiralling out of control,
threatening to break the dreaded 9% barrier'.
Expressing grave concern over the fall-out of this decision on
the economic health of states, Mr. Badal said, "The negative
economic spin-off of the decision would seriously affect developmental
activity in states by causing sudden and unbearable price escalation
in project costs which, in turn, would slow down growth-rate and
push up the rate of inflation."
The Chief Minister also pointed out that the worst-hit as a result
of this hike would be the farmers of Punjab who would face the
double-menace of rise in the costs of agricultural production
as well as in the general cost of living. "Farm production
would become its first casualty, putting a question mark over
the country's food security," said Mr. Badal, adding that
this would badly hit both the producers and the consumers of food
grain in the country. Diesel, he said, was a major input in farm
operations. In addition to that, the hike was also certain to
impact prices of fertilizers, pesticides etc.
The Chief Minister said that the untimely decision would result
in the over all slow-down of the economy in the country in general,
especially in states like Punjab. "Trade and Industry in
Punjab, which were already facing severe constraints as a result
of the Government of India's refusal to extend to the State the
same concessions which were given to its neighboring states, would
suffer a further blow. The impact of the hike on these two sectors,
along with the Transport Sector, was certain to be felt in almost
every sphere of economic activity" said Mr. Badal.
TWO AGRICULTURE OFFICERS SUSPENDED
Chandigarh June 6, 2008
Two Agriculture officers Mr. Surjit Singh and Mr. Inderjit Singh
posted at Jalandhar District were suspended due to dereliction
of duty .
Giving this information Agriculture Minister Punjab Mr. Sucha
Singh Langah said that both the officers went to village Cheema
near Kartarpur in district Jalandhar to plough the fields of Rattan
Singh farmer who planted 10 acres of paddy before June 10.
Besides getting the paddy fields tilled the officers just clicked
the photograph with the tractor ploughing the fields and gave
false news in the papers that they had ploughed the fields.
Mr. Langah said that the Chief Agriculutrue officer Punjab visited
the village cheema and found that not even a single acre was tilled.
On the recommendation of Chief Agriculture officer both the
erring officers were suspended.