Monthly Archives: MAY 2017


Amarinder gives go-ahead to bike taxis to generate employment for youth
26.05.17 - TEAM PT
Amarinder gives go-ahead to bike taxis to generate employment for youth



Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday announced his government’s decision to allow pillion or bike taxis as a means to generate employment for youth, to fulfill another key Congress poll manifesto promise.

The Chief Minister has given in-principle approval to the initiative, which will be launched under the umbrella of the `Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme as promised in the election manifesto, an official spokesperson disclosed here. 

Besides job creation, to which the Captain Amarinder government is committed, the initiative will encourage youth to engage in entrepreneurial business, while facilitating last-mile connectivity for commuters in areas not accessible by regular four-wheeler taxis. Both Uber and Ola have shown interest in the scheme, for which the government will soon issue the necessary notification, said the spokesperson.

Under the policy, currently in the process of finalisation by the Transport Department, existing and new motorcycle owners will be able to get commercial permits and licences to run two-wheelers as pillion taxis. Requiring minimal investment, the scheme is expected to create a major avenue for the unemployed youth to start their own business, the spokesperson explained.

As an additional advantage, the scheme, which is already running successfully in some other states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, Haryana, will also help reduce vehicular traffic pressure on the roads, besides controlling pollution.

The `Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme, as proposed in the Congress poll manifesto, envisages one lakh taxis, commercial LCVs and other vehicles to be provided to unemployed youth every year at subsidised rates, without collateral and with the government standing guarantee. The government proposes to tie up with major taxi operators, such as Ola and Uber, to ensure the success of the scheme, under which the youth will be expected to repay their loan in five years.

This is just one of the schemes planned by the government to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth by creating easy employment opportunities and avenues for them. Some of the other schemes which the government is working on include Yaari Enterprises and Harra Tractor.

Under the Harra Tractor scheme, at least 25000 tractors and other agricultural implements will be given to unemployed youth at subsidised rates to enable them to start their own agriculture services ventures. Like the Apni Gaddi scheme, this will also entail guarantee by the state government, with no requirement of collateral and loan repayment over five years in instalments.

Yaari Enterprises will be aimed at promote small enterprises started by two or more entrepreneurs, through subsidy of 30% up to a maximum investment of Rs. 5 lakh. The scheme envisages setting up of one lakh such enterprises every year from 2017 to 2022.




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Goverment tourist complexes to get a fresh lease of life: Navjot Sidhu
26.05.17 - TEAM PT
Goverment tourist complexes to get a fresh lease of life: Navjot Sidhu



The Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu today reiterated that the now closed tourist complexes owned by the Punjab Government would be given a fresh lease of life. These tourist complexes are situated on very apt and attractive locations in and outside Punjab.

In a high level meeting here at premises of Tourism and Cultural Department office, the minister brainstormed with the departmental officials as well as hotel industry representatives to evolve a strategy to run these complexes. The minister instructed the departmental officials to prepare a roadmap about the issue so as to take forward the plan on a fast track basis.

Sidhu further said that there are scores of places of tourist attraction in and outside Punjab which are owned by the Punjab Government but are rendered ineffective and cannot be used because of not being operational with only a few of the sites being used. He also revealed that Punjab has no dearth of places with potential to catch the fancy of tourists e.g. Pincassia Ropar, Amaltas Hotel Ludhiana, Kandba Tourist Complex Nangal, Silver Oak Tourist Complex Malout, Surajmukhi Tourist complex Khamanon, Champa Tourist Huts Sri Anandpur Sahib, Moulsri Aam Khas Bagh Sirhind, Tourist Oasis Ludhiana, Hotel Blue Bell Phagwara, Lajwanti Filling Station Hoshiarpur, Bougainvillea Floating restaurant Sirhind, Magnolia tourist complex Kartarpur, Tourist complex Chohal Dam Hoshiarpur, Ethnic Centre Chamkaur Sahib, Tourist reception centre Sri Anandpur Sahib, Thareti (Pathankot) and I.H.M. Boothgarh (Mohali). 

The minister also elaborated that Goa, Dharamshala, Manali, Mussourie and Jaipur also have Punjab Government owned tourist complexes which are not being used. He instructed the departmental officials to take concrete steps so as to make them useable for the tourists which would lead to the growth of coffers of the department by leaps and bounds. He underlined the running of Government tourist complexes as his top priority and said that he would leave no stone unturned in taking this mission to its logical conclusion.

Sidhu also exhorted the hotel industry representatives to formulate proposals in this regard and also evolve methods to run the scheme on PPP mode. He assured that Punjab is the best tourist destination to satiate the cultural and religious appetite of the tourists and to attract them, the department would frame a special policy.

On the occasion, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Jaspal Singh and Director Dr. Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa were also present.




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K.P.S. Gill, former Punjab police Chief dies at 82
26.05.17 - TEAM PT
K.P.S. Gill, former Punjab police Chief dies at 82



Former DGP Punjab, K.P.S. Gill died in a hospital in New Delhi on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest.
 
Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, also known as Supercop, was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi on May 18. He breathed his last at 2:55 pm.

"He had been recovering from Peritonitis but died of sudden cardiac arrest due to cardiac arrhythmia," said Dr DS Rana, Chairman, Department of Nephrology and Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
 
Gill, a 1957-batch Assam-cadre IPS officer, had served as DGP of Punjab from 1988 to 1990 and then from 1991 till his retirement in 1995. He is blamed for massacre of thousands of innocent Sikh youths in Punjab as he had allowed the Punjab police officers to freely abduct and kill Sikh youths in fake encounters.

Besides killing the innocent Sikh youths in fake encounters, Gill is also notorious for his corruptive approach in his duties. He was convicted for sexual harassment at a party in 1988. After allegations of corruption within the IHF in 2008, the Indian Olympic Association suspended the IHF indefinitely.
 
The outspoken police officer was a recipient of the Padma Shri award in 1989 for his contribution in the civil service.

Gill is credited with rooting out pro-Khalistan uprising in Punjab during the eighties. In 1988, Gill commanded the Operation Black Thunder to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple.
 
He had retired from the Indian Police Service in 1995 but was often called to help state governments control difficult situations. As Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002, Narendra Modi had appointed him as security adviser in 2002 to end the post-Godhra riots in the state and restore confidence in the administration. Many years later, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh also leaned on KPS Gill's experience to control the expansion of Maoists in the state. Gill was also approached by Sri Lankan government in 2000 to device a counter-terrorism strategy against the LTTE.




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No stakes in Sand mining, neither family nor employees linked to mining business: Rana Gurjeet
25.05.17 - TEAM PT
No stakes in Sand mining, neither family nor employees linked to mining business: Rana Gurjeet



Categorically rejecting media reports to the contrary, Punjab Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh on Thursday clarified that neither he nor his company - Rana Sugars Limited, has any direct or indirect stakes, financial or otherwise, in the sand mining business. 

The Minister categorically denied any links of his family members or employees with the sand mining business. 

Rana termed as incorrect the reports in a section of the media claiming that two of his company employees had successfully bid for sand mines. The employees in question had left their jobs a long time ago, which can be verified from the company's records, Rana Gurjeet said.
 
Though he was personally not involved in the day-to-day functioning of his companies for the last about two decades, he could say "with command and confidence that neither any of the employees working in these companies nor any of my family members has any interest or stake in sand mining business in Punjab,” Rana Gurjeet asserted.

The fact that some of his former employees reportedly bid for the mines does not in any way imply that he has interests or stakes in the business, said the minister. "There are thousands of employees who have worked with me and left from time to time and I cannot be held accountable for what they do after leaving my companies," he added.

Pointing out that his businesses had an annual turnover of more than thousand crores, Rana Gurjeet asked, "With an already running business in hundreds of crores of rupees, does it make any sense to indulge in a business of a few crores of rupees?"




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Brazen conflict of interest in the auction of sand mines, warrants immediate sacking of Minister: Bir Devinder
25.05.17 - Bir Devinder Singh*
Brazen conflict of interest in the auction of sand mines, warrants immediate sacking of Minister: Bir Devinder



If the politically monitored and tampered e-auction of the sand and gravel mines in Punjab is any indication of the mindset of the present dispensation, lead by Capt. Amarinder Singh than people of Punjab should completely forget to expect any good thing to happen in the public interest, during their regime in Punjab.
 
Media has thoroughly exposed, beyond an iota of doubt the conflict of interest of a cabinet Minister, who also happens to be the richest politician of the State. The profundity of his business empire could be measured from the fact that even one of the cook of Rana Sugars, Amit Bahadur has emerged as successful bidder of one of the most expensive Sand and Gravel mines in the State. It is also pertinent to mention here that besides Amit Bahadur at least three more employees of Rana Sugars, the company owned by Punjab’s IPM (Minister for Irrigation & Power) Rana Gurjit Singh have got the mining contract in the allegedly tampered e-auction of 89 sand and gravel mining sites on May 19 and 20. If a cook of the Minister, a person with meager means could successfully bid for a Rs. 26-Crore quarry, do we still need to give any proof to prove the farcical pretence of the Minister in question, having no conflict of interest in the 'sand mafia' operation in Punjab.
 
Such a brazen and clearly made out example of conflict of interest warrants immediate sacking of the Minister; if the Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh is consciously committed and serious to give, cleaner and transparent Governance in Punjab, leaving aside his deep indulgence in extracurricular activities mostly focused on fun and the frolic.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence ( Ministry of Finance, Government of India ) and Income Tax Department is expected to take immediate suo moto notice of the proceeds of this murky and highly questionable and fraudulent e-auctioning of the sand and gravel mines in Punjab, allegedly tempered by the ‘highly placed’ vested interests. The prices of the sand and gravel in Punjab are already at the ‘rocket height’ and much beyond the realm of affordability of the common man. People were expecting some respite from the ‘Mafia Rule’ after the new government has been voted to power. But the way nuances are taking despicable shape in the ‘corridors of power’  it discerns much worst rule ahead.

*Writer is Former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.




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