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Punjab News: 2010

Badal, Sukhbir, Kalia pay glowing tributes to Shekhawat

Will attend cremation in Jaipur tomorrow


" Lent dignity to any office he held": Sukhbir

"Icon of principled politics": says Kalia

Chandigarh, May 17:

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash SIngh Badal, his Deputy Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal and  senior cabinet colleague Manoranjan Kalia would attend the cremation of former Vice President of India, Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in Jaipur tomorrow.

Meanwhile , the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues have paid glowing tributes to the departed leader. In a statement here, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal described Mr. Shekhawat as "one of the tallest statesmen that the country had produced in the past century or more. He brought the influence of a unique mix of  sobriety, charisma and gentlemanliness to bear on our national polity. He lent dignity and grace to any office he held. Mr. Shekhawat will continue to be an icon of honesty, integrity and commitment for the coming generations.," said the Chief Minister, recalling Mr. Shekhawat's  outstanding role during the SAD's Morcha against the draconian Internal Emergency clamped by the then Prime Minister Late Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

Mr. Badal and Mr. Shekhawat enjoyed close and warm personal and family ties in an association lasting over 60 years. "I have lost a great personal friend even as the country has lost a visionary and a champion of moral values in politics."

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minster  Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior Punjab Minister from the BJP Mr. Manoranjan Kalia also joined the Chief Minister in lauding the contribution of Mr. Shekhawat to the national polity."  He was the grand icon of democratic values and personal and political integrity. In a career spanning more than six decades, Mr. Shekhawat maintained a spotless image and every one, regardless of his or her political affiliations, respected him and his opinion on sensitive national issues. Striking a personal note, Mr. Sukhbir Singh said that he; had always turned to Mr. Shekhawat for advice on personal and political issues during the periods when my father had to undergo long terms in imprisonment because of his political convictions. "

The Punjab BJP leader and Local Bodies Minister in the Parkash Singh Badal Cabinet, Mr. Kalia also paid rich tributes to the departed leader, describing him as one of the " most outstanding sons of Mother India. He taught us commitment, sobriety and the values of political integrity and commitment to the welfare of the people. He was a common man's hero and he never flinched from standing out for their sake even when it meant facing long and vicious political vendetta. His fierce opposition to any attempts at undercutting democratic values through the introduction of  draconian measures like the Emergency of 1974 would always continue to inspire all of us as well as future generations."


Sukhbir condoles the death of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat

Chandigarh, May 17

Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Punjab today expressed shock at the demise of Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, former Vice President of India, who expired at Sawai Man Singh Hospital, Jaipur ,today after a brief illness.

In a condolence message the Deputy Chief Minister described Mr. Shekhawt as a statesman politician who believed in the politics of consensus.  Mr. Badal said that he would be fondly remembered by the people for the major development initiatives taken by him during his three stints as Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

The Deputy Chief Minister expressed heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed to God to give peace to the departed soul and strength to them to bear this irreparable loss.




The Punjab Government today gave approval to transfer 32 acres land of Home Affairs & Justice Department to the Punjab Dyers Association, Ludhiana on long lease basis for setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at Tajpur Road.

A decision to this effect was taken by the Chief Minister, Punjab Mr. Parkash Singh Badal during a meeting with the Industrilists here at Punjab Bhawan this evening. The Chief Minister also approved that Industrial Department of Punjab would fully facilitate the Association for setting up of this 100 MLD Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) and asked to install it with in 18 months in the greater interest of general public.

Mr. Badal also assured the members of the association that two power Grids of 66 KV capacity each would also be setup at Tajpur and Bhadurke   Roads for power supply for Dyer’s Industry.  For this he directed the PSEB to take appropriate immediate action and setup these grids within next four months.

Mr. Inderjit Singh, Chairman, Small Industries Development Board on behalf of the Punjab Dyers Association, Ludhiana thanked the Chief Minister for showing personal concern in order to tackle the problem of effluent disposal of Dyeing Industry of Ludhiana and rehabilitating it.

Prominent amongst though who were present in the meeting including Revenue, Rehabilitation Minister Mr. Ajit Singh Kohar, Jails, Tourism & Cultural Affairs Minister Mr. Hira Singh Gabria, Chief Secretary Punjab Mr. SC Agrawal, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. D.S. Guru, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. KJS Cheema, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce Mr. SS Channy Commissioner, Secretary Science, Tech. & Environment Mr. Viswajeet Khanna, Municipal Corporation Ludhiana Mr. AK Sinha, and Deputy Commissioner Ludhana.No. CMO-10/158




The Punjab Government today approved Rs. 320 crore proposed plan for the construction of new hospitals and up-gradation of existing hospitals throughout the state to provide modern health care facilities to the public with special emphasis on the people of rural areas. A decision to this effect was taken by the Chief Minister S. Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, while presiding over a review meeting of the health and Family Welfare department, here at his residence.

Taking part in the deliberations, the Chief Minister asked the Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation (HSCC), New Delhi to submit their final design and concept report for various hospitals within three months, so that work on this project could be allotted by the end of September, positively.

Construction of one new District Hospital at Nawanshahr, 4 new Sub-Divisional Hospitals at Khadoor Sahib (Dist. Tarn Taran), Bholath (Dist. Kapurthala), Moonak (Dist. Sangrur), Tapa (Dist. Barnala) and 29 Community Health Centres (CHCs) have been approved to be taken up.

A decision was also taken to upgrade the existing District Hospitals at Muktsar (from the existing 50 bed capacity to 100 bed capacity) and Tarn Taran (from the existing 60 to 100 beds). The Sub-Divisional Hospitals at Dera Bassi (Dist. Mohali) and Budhlada (Dist. Mansa) would also be upgraded from an existing bed capacity of 30 each to 50-bedded institutions. The CHCs at Ballianwali (Dist. Bathinda), Naushera Majha Singh (Gurdaspur) and Dhudhan Sadhan (Patiala) would also be upgraded. Further, 204 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) would also be upgraded. Major repair of 13 District Hospitals, 22 Sub-Divisional Hospitals and 31 CHCs will also be undertaken.

New equipment for District Hospitals, Sub-Divisional Hospitals, CHCs and PHCs at a total cost of Rs 70 crores approximately, will also be provided. These included, dialysis units, mammography machines, Colour Dopplers, Ultrasound machines, Digital X- ray machines, Phaco-emulsification machines, C-Arm Image Intensifiers, Laparoscopes, ECG machines, Auto-analyzers, Operation Theatre equipment and other hospital furniture.

During the meeting, purchase of medicines was also reviewed. While a major chunk of the medicines are being purchased from Central PSUs, it was decided to revise the eligibility criteria of minimum turnover from Rs 5 crores to Rs 15 crores to bring more reputed companies into the bidding process. More stringent testing criteria have also been approved to further ensure quality of procured medicines.

The Chief Minister while reviewing the Human Resources Position across different levels in the Department expressed satisfaction over the constitution of a high-level committee for recruitment of doctors in the Health Department. This Committee will comprise experts from PGIMER and other institutions. The existing gap of 404 doctors will thus be filled very soon. He also directed that the committee should hold a recruitment exercise on a quarterly basis, in order to fill up the gaps arising out of retirements and other contingencies. The Health Department will further require 349 doctors to man the newly upgraded and newly built institutions. 1333 paramedics and 389 ministerial staff would also be needed. The Chief Minister directed that the process for sanctioning of these posts should be expeditiously initiated.

The Chief Minister further reviewed the monitoring mechanisms being used by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, viz. daily monitoring of OPD of doctors, performance of equipment and the proposed 24x7 Control Rooms for feedback and complaints from users and stakeholders. He reviewed the bio-metric attendance system installed in selected PHCs and further asked the Department to introduce bio-metric attendance system, universally in health institutions across the state, in order to improve the attendance levels of employees. He directed that the senior functionaries of the Department should tour more frequently to get the real picture of ground realities.  

The total funding requirements for these initiatives were pegged at Rs. 320 crores, the amount which is proposed to be funded through the State Plan, Local Bodies, Rural Development Fund, PIDB and NRHM.

Prominent amongst those present during the meeting were Prof. Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health & Family Welfare Minister, Punjab; Sh. Tikshan Sud, Medical Education and Research Minister; Sh. Avinash Chander, Chief Parliamentary Secretary; S. Jasjit Singh Thiara, Chairman, Punjab Health Systems Corporation; Sh. D.S. Guru, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister,  Sh. Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare; Sh. KJS Cheema, Spl. Principal Secretary to Chief Minister; Smt. Raji P. Srivastva, MD. PHSC;  Smt. Manisha Trighatia, Mission Director NRHM; Dr SPS Sohal, Director Health Services and Dr JP Singh Director Family Welfare.



  • Six Ombudsman selected to take up complaints in districts

Chandigarh May 17: Punjab has become the only state that has appointed Ombudsman, a grievance redressal mechanism, to take up complaints against the poverty alleviation programme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) being implemented actively in the State.

Disclosing this Mr. Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Rural Development and Panchayats Department Punjab said that new initiatives under MNREGA would ensure transparency and accountability in the process making it an effective instrument of poverty alleviation so that benefit of the scheme reaches out to the rural poor job card holders across the state.

The Minister added that the Ombudsman would be an agency independent of the central or state government under Section 27 of MGNREG Act. He could receive complaints from MGNREGA workers and others on any matters. After consideration of such complaints he would facilitate their disposal in accordance with law at the earliest, he said.

Mr Brahmpura categorically said that there exists a need for an independent authority to expeditiously redress the grievances in regard to the implementation of MGNREGA and schemes. Effective grievance redressal was the key to the empowerment of the people and the enjoyment of their rights. Besides, existing administrative machinery for the disposal of grievances needs to be strengthened to secure the ends of justice for the poor ruralites, he added.

Adding further Mr Brahmpura said that Mr Ramesh Kumar from Ludhiana has been appointed as Ombudsman for Ludhiana, Sangrur and Barnala Districts, Mr Deshbir Sharma from Hoshiarpur would oversee Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Tarn and Hoshiarpur districts and Mr Jinderpal Singh Cheema from Patiala has been assigned the work of Ombudsman for Fathegarh Sahib, Patiala, SAS Nagar and Roopnagar districts. Mr Dalbir Singh of Faridkot would be Ombudsman for Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot districts and Mr Brij Lal Nagpal of Muktsar would oversee Moga, Ferozpur and Muktsar whereas Mr Parkash Singh Lamey from Jalandhar has been appointed as ombudsman for Jalandhar, SBS Nagar and Kapurthala districts.

With the objective to provide every rural household a guarantee of at least 100 days of employment during a financial year by providing unskilled manual work in rural areas to those members of the rural household who volunteer to do such work, the Rural Development & Panchayat Department has undertaken several measures to streamline the implementation of the MNREGA in the State, he informed.

He clarified that the Ombudsmen have been appointed for a tenure of 2 years extendable by one year based on their performance appraisal or till the incumbents attains the age of 65 years, whichever was earlier but there would be no reappointment. They would be allowed a compensation of Rs.500/- per sittings.

The Minister further added that the Ombudsman would report his findings to the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary Rural Development and Panchayats for appropriate legal action against erring persons. On receipt of the complaint, Ombudsman could issue directions for conducting spot investigation, lodge FIRs against the erring parties, initiate proceedings suo motu and could direct redressal, disciplinary and punitive actions. The award passed by the Ombudsman would be a speaking order consisting of direction to the concerned NREGA authority and there would be no appeal against the award, which would be final and binding on the parties he said.



Rs. 62.88 crore to be spent on additional classrooms and other facilities

Chandigarh May 17: With a view to achieve the goal of universalisation of secondary education (USE) in the state, The Punjab Government is ahead in the implementation of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan scheme (RSMA) aimed at expanding and improving the standards of secondary education for classes VIII to X by ensuring a secondary school within a radius of 5 km for every neighbourhood.

Disclosing this here today, Dr. Upinderjit Kaur Education Minister Punjab said that under the RMSA, the Education department has upgraded 70 middle schools to secondary schools in deficit areas of the state with a vision to make good quality education available, accessible and affordable to all young persons in the age group of 14-18 years. “This project is for the bright future and careers of the children visualizing attainment of 75% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by 2011-12 and 100% GER by 2016-17 ensuring universal access of secondary education by 2017 and universal retention by 2020”, she added.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur said that the Punjab State was included in the four states approved by the Central Government for the year 2009-2010 to implement RMSA. “For this the state government would spend Rs. 62.88 crore to provide inputs in terms of additional classrooms, teachers and other facilities in the upgraded schools to meet the challenges. Besides this, the department had already recruited seven teachers per school under RMSA,” she said.

The Minister expressed said that after successful implementation of this centrally sponsored scheme by seven years, the State Government would continue all the upgraded schools in the state. Allying the apprehension of privatization of RMSA schools, she categorically said that it was the responsibility of the State to provide education to the educationally backward and economically weaker sections including other marginalized categories of the society especially the girls and disabled children residing in rural areas.

The Education Minister emphasized that in order to meet the challenge of universalisation of secondary education (USE), there was a need for a paradigm shift in the conceptual design of secondary education. “The scheme would initially cover up to class X. Subsequently, the higher secondary stage would also be taken up, preferably within two years of the implementation”, she said.

Elaborating further she said that the Central Government would bear 75 percent of the cost and the State Government would bear 25 percent of the cost to implement all the components of RMSA during the 11th Five Year Plan but for the 12th Plan, the sharing pattern between Central and States could change to 50:50 which was unjustified as the states were already burdened to execute various development and welfare schemes.

The education minister emphasized the need for the co-operation of all the sections of the society including the public, civil society organizations in making the project a grand success because Secondary Education is a crucial stage in the educational hierarchy as it prepares the students for higher education and also for the world of work. “With the successful implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the State, a large number of students are passing out from upper primary classes creating a huge demand for secondary education,” Dr Upinderjit Kaur said.

She emphasized that the scheme was aimed at removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers besides improving the quality of secondary education, and the concept of ‘common school’ would be encouraged. “To ensure that no child is deprived of secondary education of satisfactory quality, inclusive education would be the hallmark of all the activities, she added.

She further added that to meet the norm of nine subject teachers per school, well qualified teachers would be appointed of on merit to achieve the pupil teacher ratio as 30:1. Besides, four non-teaching staff members viz. Lab Attendant, Librarian, Clerk & Sweeper-cum-Chowkidar would also be provided. "Adequate scholarships to meritorious students coming from under privileged social and economic backgrounds at the secondary level would also be offered", she said.

To lay better focus on the underprivileged she told that all the girls and SC students upto class XII were exempted from tuition fees. "Besides this, text books, free bus/train pass facility and scholarships for SCs and meritorious children upto secondary level were also being provided", the Minister added.





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