Monthly Archives: DECEMBER 2017
Angry public embarrasses Akali Dal leader Gulzar Ranike, forces him to lift blockade
08.12.17 - PT Bureau (Watch video below)
BEAS, Dec 8: On a day when Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal declared victory and called off his party's dharnas against alleged high handedness of Amarinder government in local bodies' elections, former minister and SAD leader Gulzar Singh Ranika faced acute embarrassment as angry members of the public forced him to end the dharna at Beas bridge.
Ranike, along with a handful of his supporters, had blocked the national highway, bringing traffic to a halt for more than four hours. With the heavy police force remaining a moot spectator, a frustrated public decided to take matters into its own hands.
Loud and incessant sloganeering of Captain-Badal-Hai, Hai was soon followed by some pushing and jostling, and police personnel advised Ranike to save his skin by lifting the blockade. At one stage, police were worried lest the crowd manhandles and bashes up the bunch of Akali protesters.
Eventually, Ranike claimed he was offering himself for an arrest, and the group of protesters walked off, shouting slogans against Captain Amarinder Singh and his government.
All this while, media people kept shoving microphones into Ranike's face, asking him for his reaction to the people's rage. Many passersby said both Congress and Akali Dal leaders were hand in glove.
"It is alright to protest in a democratic fashion but what is the police doing when my right as a citizen is being trampled upon?" asked an angry young man, reflecting the sentiments of hundreds of people who had to wait at the Beas bridge for hours.
On his part, Sukhbir Singh Badal did apologise to the people of Punjab and said protests were necessary because the democratic right of fighting election was being trampled upon, but at least in Beas, his party lieutenant Ranike did not win any goodwill.
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34 MoUs WORTH RS. 2268 CR TO BE SIGNED AT PITEX
Will relook industrial policy, if needed, to ease processes: CM
Amritsar: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday inaugurated the 12th edition of Punjab International Trade Expos (PITEX-2017) with the promise of further steps by his government, including a review of the new industrial policy if needed, to ease the processes for facilitating business and industry in the state.
In his inaugural address, the Chief Minister said the exposition, a joint effort of Punjab government and PHD Chamber that was initiated by him during his previous tenure, would pave the way for giving impetus to international trade and commerce, thus helping the state grow and making the region a hub of industrial activity.
PITEX, which will see 34 MoUs worth Rs. 2268 Cr being signed to generate 13,370 jobs in the state, is expected to witness much higher footfall than last year’s 3 lakh – an indication of the new mood in the state, said Amarinder. He pointed out that since his government had taken over the state’s reins, MoUs worth Rs 50000 crore had already been signed, with many more in the pipeline.
Reacting to the concern raised by PHD Chamber president Anil Khaitan, that as many as 32 permissions were still needed to set up a factory in Punjab, while setting up a power plant required 50, the Chief Minister said he would surely look into the matter and, if needed, relook the industrial policy to make sure that the `Business First’ philosophy is not compromised.
Lamenting that the state lost its industrial hub at the time of its division in 1966, he said his government was committed to rebuilding the same and was keen on industrial development across the state.
Pointing out that the state’s agrarian advantage continues to exist, despite the problems faced by farmers, Captain said Punjab had contributed 51% to the country’s food stock even this year. It was time now to explore ways to expand the industry, which was essential for creating jobs and improving the lives of the people, he stressed.
Citing the incentives provided under the new industrial policy, launched recently by his government, Captain Amarinder said his government was ready to extend all help and cooperation to industrialists from India and abroad to invest in Punjab.
Noting that institutions like PHD Chamber were playing a significant role in promoting Punjab Government’s industrial development schemes, he further said his government would extend all support to ensure the success of PITEX-2017. Enterprising businessmen from India and other countries, visitors and buyers participating in this event would be greatly benefitted, he added.
His government, he said, understood the concerns of trade and industry and was continuously striving to address these issues to provide a conducive industrial environment not only in the State, but in the entire region.
Others present at the inaugural event including Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Member Parliament Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Media Advisor to Punjab CM Raveen Thukral, MLAs Sukhbinder Singh Sukh Sarkaria, OP Soni, Raj Kumar Verka, Tarsem Singh Attari, Sunil Datti, Harpratap Singh Ajnala, Inderbeer Singh Bolaria, Santokh Singh Baba Bakala and Sukhwinder Singh Danny Wadala besides Congress District President Amritsar (Urban) Jugal Kishore. Apart from these PHD Chamber Punjab Committee Chairman RS Sachdeva and co-chairman Karan Gilhotra, President Director Dr. Ranjit Mehta, President Anil Khetaan and Secretary General Saurabh Sanyal besides Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Secretary Industries Rakesh Verma and Director Industries DPS Kharbanda were also present.
'NO CONVENTION IN CONGRESS FOR DEPUTY CM'
Cabinet expansion after Dec 18: CM Amarinder
Amritsar : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he would go in for cabinet expansion after the declaration of the Gujarat poll results, on December 18, but ruled out appointment of a deputy chief minister, for which the Congress has no convention.
The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference at the launch of the Congress Vision Document for the state’s urban development.
Flanked by PPCC president Sunil Jakhar and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder rejected the suggestion that his government had failed to implement many of its poll promises, which could affect the Congress party’s performance in the MC elections. It was not possible to implement all promises in eight months, especially given the financial crisis inherited from the erstwhile Sad-BJP government, he said, adding that the state is struggling to generate its own resources, including loans, to fulfill its responsibilities and meet its promises.
The process of farm loan waiver would begin after the elections and distribution of smart phones would also begin soon, said the Chief Minister, adding that, unfortunately, all things are dependent on resources, which takes time to manage. The influx of industry would help boost the resource generation for the state, he said, disclosing that his government had signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 50000 crore since taking over in March this year.
On the GST issue, he said the problem was with its implementation, which had been done without the entire issue being properly thought through by the central government.
He disclosed that his government was mulling a change in the Excise Policy to make it more lucrative for the state. The policies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan were being examined, he added.
Regarding the forthcoming MC elections in Punjab, Captain rejected outright the allegation of 'parivarwaad' in ticket allocation, saying deserving MLAs and other individuals were being chosen, based on the feedback received, by the committee set up for this purpose.
Asked about the Congress prospects in the Gujarat elections, Amarinder said his information, received from senior party colleagues, was that it was going neck-and-neck at the moment, with a strong possibility of silent voters swinging the mood. The chief minister, who had to cancel his proposed visit to Gujarat because of the cyclone alert, said Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would definitely have a positive impact on the polls.
To a question about the recent attempts by radical forces to disturb Punjab’s peace and stability, he said his government was working closely with central agencies to crack down on such elements, working at the behest of the ISI. Pakistan’s ISI was working via various other countries, including Canada, US, UK and Germany, he said, adding that the recent arrests had proved this.
Asked about gangsters operating from prisons to facilitate the radical groups, he said all steps were being taken to block communication, including replacement of 2G jammers with 4G jammers.
On the issue of cable rights in the state, the Chief Minister reiterated that his government would not be selective and would ensure level playing ground for all in the interest of the freedom of the Press.
Prominent amongst those who were present on the occasion Gurjeet Singh Aujla Member Parliament, Sukhbinder Singh Sukh Sarkaria, OP Soni, Raj Kumar Verka, Tarsem Singh Attari, Sunil Datti, Harpratap Singh Ajnala, Inderbeer Singh Bolaria, Santokh Singh Baba Bakala, Sukhwinder Singh Danny Wadala (All MLAs) and Congress District President Amritsar (Urban) Jugal Kishore.
MEMORANDUM DEMANDING DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN AMRITSAR AND LONDON SUBMITTED
Amarinder welcomes London mayor's suggestion that UK govt apologises for Jallianwala
Amritsar: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed the reported suggestion of the Mayor of London that the UK government should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Talking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said he had heard about Sadiq Khan’s remarks on the Jallianwala incident and was happy to know about the Mayor’s feelings in the matter. The suggestion, coming from a British government functionary, was good and, if implemented, would go a long way in further strengthening ties between India and UK, and perhaps, to some extent, assuaging the wounds of Indians who suffered the pain of the independence struggle, he added.
Earlier, the two leaders met here on Tuesday night at a dinner hosted by the Chief Minister for the visiting dignitary.
Various issues of mutual interest were discussed at the meeting, during which Sadiq Khan underscored the close and emotional ties between London and Punjab. Pointing out that there was a large Punjabi diaspora in London, Amarinder said the two sides shared a strong connect, which they were continuously striving to further strengthen.
In a token gesture, symbolizing the shared interest of Punjab and Britain in cricket, the London Mayor presented embossed cricket balls to the Captain Amarinder and Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also represents Amritsar in the state assembly.
Meanwhile, MLAs from Amritsar district submitted a memorandum to the Mayor of London, seeking direct British Airways flights between the holy city of Punjab and London, to facilitate personal and business travel.
With more than 35 million pilgrims visiting Amritsar every year to obeisance at the famous Golden Temple, Amritsar had emerged as the preferred destination for the Punjabi diaspora and foreign tourists, the MLAs said in the memorandum.
Amritsar Airport, and the overall Punjab region, account for large international traffic to and from North America, Europe (including UK, Germany and Milan) and Australia but at present the airport lacks any non-stop flights to these destinations. As a result, thousands of people travel by road to take direct non-stop flights between Delhi-London or Delhi-Birmingham. All this traffic can travel direct with a non-stop British Airways flight between London-Amritsar, said the memorandum, adding that this would lead to a major increase in business apart from making British Airways more popular among the large Punjabi population settled all over the world.
The addition of direct Amritsar-London flight will also enable British Airways to earn two fold businesses, one with the flights to European cities and another from Amritsar to North American sector, the memorandum further said, pointing out that a large population from Punjab is settled in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, San Francisco, New York, Detroit, Birmingham, London, Frankfurt, Milan, and other international destinations served by British Airways.
In the memorandum, the MLAs further pointed out that more than 6 million Punjabis settled in North America, Europe, Australia, South East Asia and Middle East countries are from the cities served by Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, Amritsar (ATQ), which is North India’s second largest airport after the Delhi airport. With runway length of 12000 ft. and all high-end equipment needed to handle wide range of international flight operations and wide bodied aircraft, it has also been used as an alternative to Delhi Airport especially during fog season in winter.
Pointing out that the airport had all the world class facilities available in its integrated terminal building, they further said that the Amritsar airport is currently connected to many international destinations by Qatar airways, Air India, SpiceJet, Malindoair, FlyScoot, Turkmenistan and Uzbek airlines.
Further, it provides a big load of transit traffic to Delhi Airport with Indian carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Vistara etc. British Airways also has codeshare with Jet Airways, Vistara and other Indian carriers to connect passengers from Amritsar Airport to Delhi for onward journey on its flights to London and other international destinations. In fact, Delhi is Amritsar’s Airport primary domestic destination accounting for more than three fourth of its total domestic passengers (803,693 out of 996,227, 80% in the year 2016).
Prominent amongst other who were present on the occasion included; Member Parliament from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, CM's Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, MLAs Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Tarsem Singh DC, OP Soni, Raj Kumar Verka and Inderbir Singh Bolaria (all MLAs) and President District Congress (Urban) Yugal Kishore besides all MLAs from assembly segments of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts also attended the function.
TO IMPLEMENT NABL STANDARDS IN ALL GOVT MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS
Amarinder orders high level probe into 3 medical skill development centres
Chandigarh: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered a high-level probe into the functioning of the three Skill Development Centres set up in the medical colleges of Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot, after he was informed that these facilities, set up at a whopping Rs 18 crores, were lying idle.
A three-member committee, headed by Principal Secretary Medical Education and Research, Sanjay Kumar, has been tasked with conducting a thorough enquiry into the functioning of these centres, said an official spokesperson. The others members of the committee are Secretary Skill Development Mission Bhawna Garg, and Director Research Medical Education Avnish Kumar.
The probe, aimed at ensuring accountability and improving efficiencies in medical training institutions, was necessitated by complaints that the facilities were lying vacant and there were no students, while the private companies to whom prime government land had been provided to run skill development centres were violating their contract conditions. PIMS had already invested Rs. 6 Crores each at GMC Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot for creation of infrastructure, Health Minister Brahm Mohindra earlier informed the Chief Minister at the 36th Governing Body Meeting of Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).
Chairing the meeting, Amarinder also accepted the suggestion for implementing NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) standards in all government medical colleges and hospitals in the state.
Chief Minister said the state government was duty-bound to provide students with quality medical education to facilitate their gainful employment and nobody would be allowed to jeopardize their future. Captain agreed that the PIMS and PMEC issues needed urgent redressal and said his government was committed to finding a viable solution. The government would further strengthen the mechanism to ensure quality skill education to medical students, he added.
On the issues of relaxation being sought by PIMS Medical & Education Charitable (PMEC) Society in the concession agreement, Chief Minister directed the steering committee to relook the issue in the light of fresh recommendations by the Vijay Kelkar Committee on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model before seeking a legal opinion.
He also referred the matter of refund of electricity charges by PMEC Society Jalandhar to the steering committee headed by the Chief Secretary.
In other decisions taken at the meeting, ex-post facto approval was given to the appointment of Dr. Vimal Sikri as Director of PIMS Society, besides confirmation of the minutes of the 35th Governing Body meeting, and ratification of proceedings of the 20th, 21st and 22nd steering committee meetings.
Prominent among others who attended the meeting were Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Special Secretary Finance T P S Phoolka, Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar Varinder Sharma, Director PIMS Vimal Sikri, Director Research Medical Education Avnish Kumar, and Member Governing Council PIMS S P S Grewal.