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Punjab Govt
May 19, 2008




The Punjab Government has geared up the security and law & order machinery in the state to ensure peaceful conduct of ensuing Panchayat elections and bye-election for Amritsar (South) Assembly Constituency in a free and fair manner.

Reviewing the security arrangements in a high level meeting Sh. R.I. Singh, Chief Secretary said that conducting elections in more than 12 thousand panchayats peacefully was a gigantic task and a major challenge for Punjab Police. He expressed confidence that the Punjab Police would stand up to the challenge. He further said that the resources of the state police should be optimally utilized to ensure conduct of these elections in a way that it should become an example for other states to emulate.

Briefing the security arrangements for these elections, Punjab DGP Sh. N.P.S. Aulakh informed that elaborate security arrangement have been made through out the state with a special emphasis on sensitive areas. He said that he had already convened a meeting of Zonal IGs, Range DIGs and SSsP to review the security arrangement and directed them to maintain law and order at every cost for ensuring the completion of this democratic process in a most orderly and fair manner.

He further said that besides general elections duties the field officers have been directed to strengthen patrolling and laying of nakas on important and vulnerable points.

He assured the Chief Secretary for undertaking effective security and preventive measures for smooth, fair and peaceful conduct of these elections.


Chandigarh May 19, 2008

The State Election Commission has suspended two Returning Officers (ROs) and an Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) and directed the respective District Electoral Officers to initiate action for imposition of major penalty as they have acted in an extremely negligent and careless manner and obstructed the conduct of polls. Due to the missing of nomination paper files of candidates in two Gram Panchayats under these ROs, the Commission has ordered to postpone the polls to these Panchayats.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the Election Commission Punjab said that Mr. Satpal RO Block Mamdot and SDE of Water Supply and Sanitation Department and Mr. Avtar Singh, ADO Veterinary Hospital Machhiwara and Mr. Jagdish Kumar were appointed as Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officer respectively of Pawat (Cluster) have failed miserably in the performance of their duties. They have been extremely negligent and careless and have resulted in loss of the nomination paper files and they have, thus, obstructed the conduct of polls.

The Election Commission has ordered the respective appointing authorities to immediately put them under suspension and initiate action for imposition of major penalty. District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepur and Addl. Deputy Commissioner (Dev.), Ludhiana would ensure that the competent authorities of the officials to be intimated to take action and send a report to the Commission on action taken.

The District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepur had reported that Mr. Satpal SDE-cum-RO, Block Mamdot received two nomination files relating to Mr. Sukhwant Singh Village Theh Gujar and Mr. Ramesh that were found missing. Mr. Satpal on 16.05.2008, had received 226 nomination papers till late in the night and having no place for proper and safe custody of the files, he left the same on the table. Further, on 17.05.2008 on checking it was found that the above mentioned two nomination paper files were missing. Both the files were related to Gram Panchayat Teh Gujjar Block Mamdot.

The Station House Officer, Police Station Mamdot, had been asked to register a complaint. Since the nomination paper files of two candidates of Gram Panchayat Teh Gujjar were missing, therefore, there was no alternative except to countermand and postpone the polls. Fresh date for poll would be intimated separately.

In another case the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Samrala had reported that the concerned Returning Officer, Mr. Avtar Singh and Mr. Jagdish Kumar Assistant Returning Officer of Village Pawat (Cluster) were receiving nomination papers on 16.05.2008 which was the last date for filing nomination papers. They have intimated the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Machhiwara on 17.05.2008 that the nomination files related to Gram Panchayat Ratipur and in respect of Mr. Ajit Singh, Lachhman Singh, Harpreet Singh and Smt. Manjit Kaur were found missing at the time of counting the files in the evening. They have also approached the police on 18.05.2008 for filing a FIR.

On the recommendations of concerned officers, the Election Commission has ordered that as the nomination paper files of four candidates of Gram Panchayat Ratipur Block Machhiwara Tehsil Samrala have also been found missing therefore, there was no alternative except to countermand and postpone the poll. Fresh date for poll would be intimated separately.


Chandigarh May 19, 2008

Shiromani Akali Dal president and Member of Parliament Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to pass on to Punjab farmers the benefit of Rs. 13000 crore saved in foreign exchange as a result of the record wheat procurement for the central pool from the state. This amount, he said, was the difference between the procurement price paid to the Punjab farmers and the amount that the centre was ready to spend on importing wheat.

"This is no presumptive figure either. The Union Minister for Agriculture Mr. Sharad Pawar had actually announced the government's intention to buy wheat from the international market to ensure food security for the country as the centre apprehended a drop in production and procurement in the country," said Mr. Sukhbir Singh in a letter to the Prime Minister, adding that it was also high time the country had a national policy on agriculture

Backing his demand with substantive figures, Mr. Badal said that wheat procurement from the state this year had already crossed the Ten Million Metric Ton mark and the final figure could be even more than thirteen crore quintals. For this, the government had paid the Punjab farmers only Rs. 11, 5000 crores. This works out to a saving of over Rs. 13000 crores for the Government of India at the prevailing international prices. It may be recalled that India had imported wheat for Southern states earlier this year at Rs 1800 per quintal. Accounting for the usual overheads, the price actually translated into Rs. 2000 per quintal whereas Punjab farmers have been paid half that price for the wheat contributed by them to the national kitty, said Mr. Badal.

The SAD president further said that the Punjab farmers had a legitimate claim on the money saved through bumper crop and procurement in the face of adverse agricultural ecology, including depletion in the land and water resources. "The Punjab farmers have surprised everyone by coming out with unprecedented production. But this," said Mr. Badal, "cannot go on for ever. Punjab needs to replenish and rejuvenate its irrigation system and preserve the fast dwindling health of its soil. Massive in puts are also needed for agricultural research for evolving new techniques to improving production without putting any extra burden on arable land." For all these reasons, said Mr. Badal, it is imperative that the money saved through the sweat and toil of the farmers be used only for the betterment of the farming profession.



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