Monthly Archives: JUNE 2017
Punjab transfers 20 Police Officers
Punjab Government is in transfer spree mode these days. Today shifting of 12 IPS and 8 PPS Police Officers was ordered with immediate effect.
Official spokesman of Punjab Government informed that Dinkar Gupta has been posted and transferred as DGP, intelligence, Punjab, C.S.R Reddy as DGP, Investigation, Lokpal Punjab, M K Tiwari as DGP-MD, PPHC(on Promotion), V K Bhawra as DGP, Provisioning and modernization, Punjab (with additional Charge of IT & T Wing) (on Promotion), Harpreet Singh Sidhu as ADGP Special Task Force in the Chief Ministers Office and in addition ADGP Border, Dilbag Singh as DIG, training, Punjab, Chandigarh, (Current duty charge), Baljot Singh Rathore as DIG, GRP, Patiala (Current duty charge).
Likewise Parampal Singh is posted as SSP, Amritsar (Rural), Elanchezhian, as SSP, Hoshiarpur, Harcharan Singh Bhullar as AIG, Crime, BOI, Punjab, Opinderjit Singh Ghuman as SSP Batala, Deepak Hilori as Intelligence Wing, Punjab, Darshan Singh Mann has been posted and transferred as SSP Taran Tarn, Harjeet Singh as SSP Barnala, Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu as SSP Roopnagar, Mrs. Jagdale Nilambari Vijay as Comdtt. -cum- Deputy Director MRS PPA, Phillaur, Lakhwinder Pal Singh as AC 7th IRB Kapurthala, Bhupinder Singh as AIG Modernization Punjab Chandigarh, Naresh Kumar as Commdt. Cum Deputy Director (Outdoor) MRS PPA, Phillaur and Bhupinder Singh as Commdt., PRTC, Jahan Khelan
Punjab’s New Normal of Public Protest
IT IS INCONVENIENT to be unemployed; utterly so when you are faced with a dispensation that refuses to see the inconvenience of it. Hundreds of teachers in Punjab who find themselves either unemployed, or underemployed, have intermittently been climbing water tanks to protest.
Every age sees a new normal of display of public protest. The politics of resistance has always had iconic forms: from pre-Independence non-violent gatherings, morchas and jathas to post-Independence rallies at Delhi’s Boat Club, pad-yatras, and then a culture of burning effigies, destroying public property, damaging buses, blocking roads and railways, finally culminating in gherao of the Assembly building or the CM’s house. For some time now, the people in Punjab have been speaking to the state from rather commanding heights. Welcome to the Tank Top Protest. Every aggrieved group of citizens has been climbing water tanks across Punjab, a new normal of display of public protest.
Protesters climb water tanks after exhausting the standard set of tools: appeals to the babudom’s good sense, dharnas, sit-ins in front ministers’ houses, being hauled to the nearest police station. Finally, a time comes to take that step, reach for the sky, or at least the tank top.
Years after a 27-year-old Kiranjit Kaur of Kapurthala decided that the government needs to be shown some light and climbed atop a 100-feet high water tank, equipped with a bottle of kerosene, the form of protest continues to be the favourite of many with a grievance.
Kiranjit had ignited herself, but failed to ignite a debate over the paradigm of governance. Her last interface with the regime was a local police officer who had taunted her for indulging in drama. The theatre of the absurd is now a routine vaudeville act.
The ubiquitous water tank has now been permanently etched into the people’s collective memory as a launch pad for a thousand demands, and with hundreds of thousands having many bonafide demands, the state doesn’t have enough policemen to secure all the watertanks.
Across Punjab, administrators now pay special attention to deployment of cops to guard access to water tanks. Cops, the regime has calculated, cost less than good governance.
In each case, the government poses as if it has a justifiable defence, forgetting that at the end of the day, this is a failure to deliver the simplest of expectations: a job, some work. The people are speaking to the state in the grammar of violence, and the state is talking back in the same idiom. With thousands of cops, obviously the state will speak the language of violence louder. Pushed, the people are shrieking back, and climbing water tanks.
Iconic forms of protest keep evolving, each deadlier than the past forms. In Kashmir, they have stones. In the north-east, they have bandhs, towns under siege. The new normal of climbing atop water tanks will soon be, or already is, just staple news. With regimes of any political colour hardly listening, one shudders to think what the next form of public protest will be.
Free Dialysis service in all Punjab government hospitals from today: Brahm Mohindra
THE PUNJAB Government has decided to provide free dialysis service in all Government Hospitals and Medical Colleges and this decision has come to effect from today. The formal announcement in this regard was made by the Parliamentary Affairs and Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, today in the Vidhan Sabha.
Giving details, Brahm Mohindra said that state government is committed to provide free health services to the needy and poor people of Punjab. He said that free dialysis facility would available in all government health institutes in the state where dialysis treatment is already being provided to the patients. As per record of year 2016-17, total 11,596 dialysis sessions held in government hospitals and medical colleges.
The Health Minister said that even on perceiving that with the facility being extended free to all the citizen of Punjab, the government to bear this expense of about Rs. one crore for this year. He further said that now, all district hospitals, medical colleges and some sub-divisional hospitals (Abohar, Batala and Dahuya) would provide free dialysis facility. He said that the State Government will also plan to provide more dialysis unit as per requirement.
"The Punjab Health department also strengthened its radiography wing with the new recruitment of 58 radiographers and 2 E.C.G. technicians were also appointed,” added Brahm Mohindra.
Veteran journalist Hukum Chand Sharma is no more, but the tales will never end
20.06.17 - PT Media Critic
HUKUM CHAND Sharma, always seen sporting his trademark green turban and a flowing silver beard, never without a smile but with experience of decades reflected in his wrinkled face, is no more.
The veteran journalist, who remained the Chief of Bureau of mass-circulation Punjabi daily, Ajit, was 69. He passed away this evening, his death mourned by media baron and prime editorial force behind the Ajit Group of Newspapers, S. Barjinder Singh Hamdard as well as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Sharma had not been keeping well for some time. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.
The cremation will take place on June 21, Wednesday, at 2 pm at Ram Baag Paras Ram Nagar, his son, Harwinder Sharma, informed.
Well known Punjabi poet and writer Gurbhajan Gill said he had a 30 years long association with the journalist who always stood up for the causes he believed in.
Hukum Chand Sharma -- thanks to his long innings in the world of pen pushers that saw a sea change from the time when news used to be sent via bus conductors in envelopes meant to be dropped in letter boxes of specific newspapers, to the advent of the fax and then its demise as computers took over -- was an encyclopaedia of Punjab's who's who and would regale anyone with umpteen interesting anecdotes.
His brush with the brutal power of the state in 1984 in the wake of Operation Bluestar when he had to deal with particularly brusque army officers is the stuff of journalistic folklore.
When an army officer asked his surname and pointed out to his flowing beard and a turban - a little unusual combination, Sharma had given a response that generations of journalists later narrated to each other with a chuckle. The Tribune's Chief of Bureau, Sarbjit Dhaliwal, himself a journalist of immense standing, is fond of narrating several Hukum Chand Sharma tales.
Readers of Ajit will remember his byline for a long time.
At Punjab Today, we mourn the death of Hukum Chand Sharma, and refrain from sharing that response in the firm belief that your curiosity to know what the late journalist said to the army officer will trigger many a conversation and will be yet another excuse for us to remember someone who was an intrinsic part of journalism in Bathinda, the cotton belt of Punjab rich with a thousand news stories in its womb even today.
Photo caption: Hukam Chand Sharma receiving Shiromani Punjabi Pattarkar award from Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (A file photo)
DESIGNED STANCE OR SHODDY DECISION MAKING?
Amarinder govt completely leaves out agri labourers from loan waiver gift basket
IN A HUGE POLITICAL GAMBLE, Punjab's Amarinder Singh government today completely left out the entire farm labourer category, which comprises a large number of Dalits, from its loan waiver announcements, a move that is likely to incense the poorest of the poor in Punjab's villages.
Coming after days of speculation and near daily suicides in Punjab, the Congress government's decision was focussed only on farmers, whether it was about total crop loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers, or Rs 2 lakh relief for farmers with loans above that amount.
So much so that even the families of landless agricultural labourers, or khetmazdoors, whose earning member committed suicide, will not gain a single paisa as a result of the Chief Minister's exertions to help suicide-affected households.
An average agriculture labourer's family earns a mere Rs 81,452 in a year, with more than 90% of it coming from hiring out labour in agriculture.
Amarinder Singh said the government will take over the "crop loans from institutional sources" of the families of those farmers who have committed suicide but his entire speech in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha made no reference to any plans of his government for the families of those labourers in villages who committed suicide.
Since Amarinder Singh claimed the decision about loan waiver and other aspects was based on the interim report of the Expert Group led by agricultural economist Dr T Haque, it was not clear if the entire demographic of agricultural labourers was left out by the Expert Group, too, though those privy to the Expert Group's deliberations said that could not be the case.
Incidentally, and ironically, the oversight is all the more glaring as the government's loan waiver decision came within hours of the latest field survey on the issue – Indebtedness Among Farmers and Agricultural Labourers – conducted by renowned economist Prof Gian Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala, alongwith other researchers.
The survey underlined that a shocking 80.07 percent of farm labourers in Punjab are living below the poverty line. While the average annual income of a farmer's family is Rs 2.92 lakh – ranging from Rs 12.03 lakh for large farm-size owner farmer's family to Rs 1.39 lakh for marginal farmer's family – an average agriculture labourer's family earns a mere Rs 81,452 in a year, with more than 90% of it coming from hiring out labour in agriculture.
The survey underlined that a shocking 80.07 percent of farm labourers in Punjab are living below the poverty line.
At a time when the Congress is trying to consolidate the Dalit vote bank, and on a day when the BJP made an almost surgical strike on the Dalit vote bank by nominating Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit face, as its presidential candidate, Amarinder's move to leave out agricultural labourers altogether from his speech and decision seemed a particularly brave political step.
Most of the debt of agricultural labourers, who are being considered even more vulnerable than small farmers in many cases, is owed to non-institutional sources, a category completely left out in Amarinder Singh’s speech.
In fact, an official press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) did not even mention the word "labour” or "labourers.”
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