WITH PROMISE OF `KAAMYAB & KHUSHAL PUNJAB’, CAPT AMARINDER SETS TONE FOR FUTURE AGENDA

EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE THAT PEOPLE WON’T GET CARRIED AWAY BY FALSE PROMISES & EUPHORIC CLAIMS OF LEADERS DETACHED FROM PUNJAB

Chandigarh, March 5-Promising all-out efforts to meet their aspirations, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday expressed the confidence that the people of the state will not be carried away by the “false promises and euphoric claims of some leaders who are completely detached from Punjab and Punjabiyat,” but would continue to repose confidence in his transparent, and responsive government.

Declaring that his was a “people’s government” which shall continue to be so for a ‘Kaamyab and Khushal Punjab’, the Chief Minister assured the people that his government would not let them down under any circumstances.

“We have noted every genuine concern expressed by the Members of this house, and would make every possible effort to meet aspirations of the people of Punjab,” he said. However, “this would need some more time, and I am sure that the people of Punjab are conscious of this,” he added, in his concluding remarks during his speech in response to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address in the Vidhan Sabha.

In his over two hour long speech, Captain Amarinder thanked the people of Punjab for showing faith in his government, as manifest in the sweeping mandate for the Congress in the recently concluded municipal election, with the party getting majority in 86 Municipalities out of 117 Municipalities, and winning in 1410 wards out of 2206 wards where elections were held. He assured the people that he, along with his team of Ministers and MLAs, would never let them down in meeting their aspirations in future as well.

He pointed out that of the 546 commitments/promises made to the people of Punjab in the manifest during the 2017 elections, his government had fulfilled 455, translating into success rate of 84.6% - a feat never achieved before by any political party. He assured the House that the remaining promises of his Government will also be fulfilled in the time left at its disposal.

Underlining his government’s commitment to continued welfare of the people of the state, the Chief Minister assured them, through the august House, that:

We would fully protect the Zarr and Zameen of the State at any cost;

We would ensure peaceful co-existence (Shantmayee Samaj) for all in the State;

We would save lives and livelihood (Jaan and Jahan) of all Punjabis against all odds or situations that may be thrust upon us;

We would reach out to every needy person (Zarrorat Mand) to alleviate his economic miseries, and provide them their due benefits under the socio-economic programmes of the government;

We would empower youths (Sashakt Naujawan) of the State by enabling them to stand on their own feet;

We would ensure adequate food, and shelter at affordable prices (Sasti Roti and Pakki Chhat) for all deserving populations of the State; and

We would develop every village, and town of the State in a manner that everybody gets an equal opportunity to live a quality life in the State.

Summing up the outcomes of his government’s pro-poor policies and programmes, he reiterated the benefits delivered to farmers, domestic and industrial consumers as a result of free/subsidized power, as well as debt relief to farmers and farm workers. He further spoke about free health insurance to 38 lakh families (nearly 68 % of the State's population), social security pensions to over 25 lakh old aged, widows and disabled persons, subsidized rations to 1.55 crore persons including 9 lakh persons funded by the State, coverage of about 7.5 lakh women headed households and 7 lakh persons with disabilities.

In addition, 1.74 lakh youth had benefitted as a result of the Free Smartphones scheme, said the Chief Minister, adding that, contextual and locally relevant infrastructure is being developed in almost all villages and towns of the State.

==============================

PUNJAB CM ANNOUNCES ESTABLISHMENT OF ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE UNDER SENIOR COP TO CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL MINING

  • VOWS TO ELIMINATE ILLEGAL MINING FROM STATE BY ENSURING STRINGENT ENFORCEMENT OF LAW

  • REITERATES RESOLVE TO BRING ALL INVOLVED IN SACRILEGE CASES TO BOOK ‘IRRESPECTIVE OF

  • POLITICAL AFFILIATION’

Chandigarh, March 5-Vowing to completely eliminate the scourge of illegal mining from the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday announced the constitution of an Enforcement Directorate, Mining, under the command of a senior Police officer with adequate police force at his command.

Slamming the previous SAD-BJP Government for not only patronizing illegal mining but actively promoting systemized loot of the state exchequer, the Chief Minister said his government had spent the last 4 years in setting in order the mining revenues, which the erstwhile regime had allowed to be frittered away, he was now “cracking down on the aspect of illegal mining” in a big way. When his government took over, the revenue from mining was as low as Rs.35 crore annually, which has been enhanced to Rs.250 crore - an increase of Rs.215 crore, said the Chief Minister, expressing shock over the loss of Rs 2150 crore by the Akali-BJP combine during their 10-year rule.

The Chief Minister said his government had, last year, strictly enforced the writ of the law irrespective of any suspected political affiliation, and he now proposed to make it even more stringent, with strict implementation of the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Punjab Minor Mineral Rules, 2013 against any violator. Illegal mining attracts a punishment of imprisonment for a term of 5 years or a fine of Rs.5 lakh per hectare under the Act.

The Enforcement Directorate would ensure strict implementation, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the move was prompted by the success of the STF constituted to contain drug abuse in the state.

The Chief Minister was responding to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address in the Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha. The Motion of Thanks, moved by Dr. Raj Kumar Verka on Tuesday, was unanimously passed by the House.

Asserting his resolve to bring to book all those involved in the sacrilege and police firing incidents of Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, Captain Amarinder informed the House that on the recommendations of the Commission, constituted by his government to investigate the cases, he informed the House that so far, 5 Police / Civil Officials had been identified / nominated for legal action, while 5 persons had been convicted up the courts. As per a resolution of the Vidhan Sabha, an SIT had been set up to carry out an independent probe and ensure justice, he disclosed. Further, his government had provided ncreased financial compensation of Rs 1 crore, along with jobs, to the members of families of deceased and the injured persons, he added. Hitting out at the previous government, he revealed that in the past 28 months, 57 out of 85 cases of sacrilege in the state had been traced, as against only 66 out of 132 cases of sacrileges under the SAD-BJP rule.

Besides the success in the war against drugs, with the drugs supply chain now effectively broken, the Chief Minister hailed the establishment of the rule of law, with complete communal harmony in the state, as a remarkable achievement of his government. There had been a perceptive decrease in crime despite the growing security threat from across the borders, he added. Referring to the drive to bring to book gangs of criminals, he disclosed that 2687 Gangsters/Members of various Criminal Gangs had been arrested/ neutralized including 227 Categorized Gangsters since his government took over. Besides, 37 Terrorist Modules had been busted, 221 Terrorists arrested, 10 drones seized, in addition to 1928 illegal weapons and 38 hand grenades. Further, 26 foreign handlers who were involved in hatching conspiracies have been identified, he added.

Listing some of the other key achievements of his government in the past nearly 4 years, the Chief Minister said the state’s battered economy had been revived through focused and prudent measures, and efforts to develop quality infrastructure had been redoubled. His government had constantly pursued all possible actions to protect Punjab’s territorial, and water rights, he said. Relentless promotion of job creation, as well as empowerment of youth, women, persons with disabilities and persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and other minorities & weaker sections of the society, were some of the other achievements listed by the Captain Amarinder.

The Chief Minister said Punjab was blessed during 2019-20 to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Ji, the 150th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi ji; 350th birth anniversary of the great Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji, the Birth centenary of Acharya Shri Mahapragya – 10th Head of Shwetambar Tera Panth and the 750th Birth Anniversary of Bhagat Namdev ji.

================================

FREE POWER TO FARMERS, SUBSIDIZED POWER TO INDUSTRY WILL CONTINUE, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

  • REITERATES COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE GIVING 200 FREE UNITS TO SC/BPL/BC HOUSEHOLDS &

  • FREEDOM FIGHTERS

Chandigarh, March 5-Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday announced that free power to farmers and subsidized power to the industry will continue, as will the 200 free units of power to SC/BPL/BC households and freedom fighters in the state.

Making it clear that these benefits would not be withdrawn by his government at any cost, the Chief Minister said his government was totally committed to the welfare of all sections of the people, with focus on the development of key sectors, including Agriculture and Industry.

There are approximately 14.23 lakh tube-wells in the State, and the total subsidy borne by the State is Rs.5733 crore for the year 2018-19, and Rs. 6060 crore for the year 2019-20, said Captain Amarinder, thus benefitting 14.23 lakh farmers. Besides, 1.36 lakh industries had so far received Rs. 6010 crore in power subsidiy, while 24.31 lakh domestic consumers were getting free power, he added.

Underlining his government’s commitment to ‘Khushaal Kissan and Kamyab Punjab (K3P)’, the Chief Minister also announced in the Vidhan Sabha that the remaining 1.13 lakh of the 5.64 lakh small and marginal farmers eligible for the state government’s debt waiver scheme, would be covered within the next fiscal year. Further, his government had decided to disburse Rs. 520 Crores to 2.85 Lakh landless Farm Labourers who are members of the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, he said. He said during their tenure, the Akalis did not give even a penny to the farmers as relief.

Disclosing that farmers’ incomes have increased through higher quantities purchased on MSP in the state, the Chief Minister said food grains purchased annually were 213.5 Lakh million tones (yearly average) during 2007-2017, and had increased to 285 Lakh million tones (yearly average) during 2017-21. He further disclosed that total remuneration of farmers from Government Procurement of food grains has gone up to to Rs 2.16 Lakh crore since April 2017 - an increase of about Rs. 90,668 crore over the earnings in the corresponding procurement seasons of the previous Government. Thus, the farmers' incomes through sale of food grains has increased by more than 72% ever since the Government took over in March 2017, said the Chief Minister, adding that all payments to farmers were done online bringing more transparency.

==================================

‘PUNJAB FARMERS ARE NOT ANTI-NATIONALS, THEY’RE PATRIOTS & ARE SAME PEOPLE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN GALWAN’, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

· TAKES ON BJP LEADERS OVER REPREHENSIBLE STATEMENTS AGAINST FARMERS, URGES CENTRE TO PUT A STOP TO IT

CHANDIGARH, MARCH 5-Launching a frontal attack against BJP leaders over their reprehensible statements against the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asserted that the famers and farm workers of Punjab are not anti-nationals but are the same patriotic and nationalistic people who gave their lives for the country in Galwan valley last year to protect India’s integrity and sovereignty.

Calling for an immediate end to attempts to defame the dynamic Punjabi farmers by branding them miscreants or ultras, the Chief Minister said in the Vidhan Sabha that “they have never done anything anti-national, they are not anti-national, and they will never do anything against the unity and integrity of this country.”

“They are patriotic and nationalistic – while one son ploughs the fields in the village, the other brother is busy guarding the country’s borders. These are the same people who gave their lives for the country, along with soldiers from other States too, in Galwan last year protecting the sovereignty of our country,” said the Chief Minister, urging the Government of India to ensure that this defamation campaign against farmers is immediately ended.

Pointing out that despite 11 rounds of discussions, the Government of India was unmoved and unconcerned about the protests of the farmers across the country, and had not taken any positive step to meet their demands, the Chief Minister said that “Instead, the statements and allegations of some of the leaders who are not familiar with the ground realities have aggravated the situation and have further anguished the farmers.”

Drawing the attention of the House to some of the most reprehensible statements of the BJP leaders, at the Centre and in Haryana, the Chief Minister said it was shameful that they were heading the governments at the national level and in the neighbouring states. Their statements raised the worries and apprehensions not only of the farmers and farm workers but also of our government as these do not augur well for our future, the Chief Minister strongly condemning the use of terms “anti-national and Khalistanis” against the farmers.

Taking strong exception to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal’s allegation of the Punjab government trying to mislead farmers, the Chief Minister said there was no reason for his government to interfere in the farmers’ agitation as they had always been peaceful. The Punjab Government has always supported the farmers, and shall continue to protect their interests in all circumstances, he asserted. He also slammed Goyal on the latter’s totally baseless and malicious claim that Maoists and anti-national elements have hijacked the farmers’ protest, advising him not to provoke the peaceful farmers. In any case, if Goyal has any information on anti-nationals being part of the agitation, why does his government not take action against them.

Reacting sharply to BJP National Secretary Tarun Chugh’s allegation of misleading and deceptive narrative being created on the agricultural bills and causing misunderstanding to spread among the farmers, the Chief Minister asked why the Government of India, with all the powers at its disposal, has failed to create a narrative favourable to the farmers.

Referring to disgraceful remarks of Haryana Agriculture Minister JP Dalal that the farmers who lost their lives during the agitation would in any case have died in their respective homes, the Chief Minister said he had believed that the duty of the Agriculture Minister is to speak of farmers’ welfare and their well-being and not undermine their hard work and sacrifice. He demanded an unconditional apology from Dalal for his insensitive conduct, pointing out that a more than 200 farmers (including 125 from Punjab) had so far died during the agitation.

Terming Haryana Chief ML Khattar’s conduct “most regrettable”, Captain Amarinder said the Government of the neighbouring state had gone against the established norms of democratic functioning by using force against the agitators and also digging roads and putting barricades etc in their way. He also lashed out at Khattar’s claim on his government having “inputs” on presence of Khalistani separatists in the ongoing farmers’ agitation, and also that “the Punjab Chief Minister is fanning this protest and office bearers of the Punjab Chief Minister’s office are leading the protest”. If the Haryana Chief Minister has any firm information on separatist, why does he not give such information to his party’s government in Delhi, instead of defaming the Punjabi farmers, asked Captain Amarinder, adding that Punjab does not instigate agitations, but refuses to interfere in most peaceful agitation of farmers being carried on in a democratic manner.

The Chief Minister also lambasted other BJP leaders like Ashwani Sharma, Harjit Singh Grewal and Surjit Singh Jiyani for their shameful comments and statements on the farmers’ agitation, terming their behaviour as disgraceful.

==============================

PUNJAB CM LEADS ASSEMBLY IN DEMANDING UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL OF FARM LAWS BY CENTRE

AS HOUSE PASSES RESOLUTION, CAPT AMARINDER ASKS 10 QUESTIONS TO EXPOSE TRUE INTENT BEHIND THE LAWS

APPEALS TO GoI TO WITHDRAW ALL CASES AGAINST AGITATING FARMERS

CHANDIGARH, MARCH 5-Even as he led the State Assembly in seeking unconditional withdrawal of the Farm Laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asked 10 questions from the nation to expose the true intent of the Centre behind the legislations, which he said were unacceptable to the farmers and the state under any circumstances.

He also appealed to the Government of India to withdraw all cases and notices against the agitating farmers to build a congenial environment for an amicable solution.

Introducing a resolution calling for repeal of the Farm Laws by the Centre, the Chief Minister declared in the Vidhan Sabha that these laws cannot be accepted and allowed to remain on the statute book to the detriment of the farmers, as not only are they against the principles of cooperative federalism but their objectives are apparently preposterous.

The Resolution, which was later passed unanimously by those present in the House, expressed the angst of the members against the “inconsiderate and unresponsive attitude” of the Government of India, which has aggravated the situation and enhanced unrest and anguish amongst the farmers. It demanded the unconditional withdrawal of the Farm Laws in the interest of the farmers and the State, and to continue with the existing system of MSP-based government procurement of food grains.

While SAD MLAs were suspended by the Speaker over unruly behaviour while the Chief Minister was speaking on the issue, AAP members had staged a walk-out before it was put to vote.

Ostensibly, these laws are aimed to achieve the objective of doubling the income of farmers, but it does not appear to be so, Captain Amarinder said while tabling the Resolution, pointing out that the farmers consider these a threat to their livelihood, and as a result, they started agitation against these laws, demanding that these may be withdrawn. Pointing out that his government had right from the beginning, since 5th June 2020 when the three Ordinances on the issue were promulgated by the Centre, had opposed the laws, he termed as unfortunate the fact that the three Bills passed unanimously by Punjab Assembly to counter the ill-effects of the Farm Laws had still not been grated the Presidential assent required to enforce them under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution of India has still not been granted.

Underlining the need to immediately repeal the central Farm Laws, the Chief Minister raised 10 vital questions to the nation, exposing the lacunae that make the legislations unacceptable under any circumstances. He went on to ask:

1. Who benefits from completely Unregulated Private Mandis?

2. Who benefits from 100% waiver of Mandi Fees, Cess, and taxes in a Private Mandi?

3. Who benefits by debarring Government Officials from offering MSP to farmers in a Private Mandi?

4. Who benefits when we abolish the institution of Arhtiyas, who are mandated by law to provide Mandi Services of cleaning of grains, unloading and loading of bags and stitching of bags strictly at rates fixed by the Government?

5. Who benefits when Mandi Fees/charges, currently mandated to be paid by the purchaser, are deregulated with a liberty to charge these from the farmers?

6. Who benefits when Private Mandis are given a liberty to fix services charges for any activity undertaken in such a Mandi?

7. Who benefits when farmers are debarred from approaching civil courts for any dispute related to an Agreement signed with the Corporates?

8. Who benefits when the Government is rendered ineligible to intervene into any dispute between the farmer and a corporate?

9. Who benefits when Stock Limits on storage of food grains by private persons/corporates are abolished?

10. Who benefits when the specifications of seeds and fertilizers are totally deregulated and the Government is rendered ineligible to specify any parameters for them?

Though nobody dares speak out aloud, the response to these questions is clear, said the Chief Minister, adding that his government was fully conscious that the Government of India” has no choice but to withdraw these legislations, and allow the time-tested existing agriculture marketing systems to continue, ensuring socio-economic security of the farmers and farm workers.”

RESOLUTION:

“This House regrets to note that the Government of India has neither resolved the present crisis emanating from the agitation of farmers against the new farm laws namely, (a) The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (b) The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and (c) The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, nor have they conveyed assent of Hon’ble President under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution to the three amendment bills namely, (a) the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020; (b) the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020; and ‘The Code of Civil Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020, passed on 20th October 2020. Copies of the State Amendment Bills are attached.

“This inconsiderate and unresponsive attitude has aggravated the situation and enhanced unrest and anguish amongst the farmers, who have been continuing with their peaceful agitation against the new Central farm laws. In the process, not only the livelihood of a large number of farmers, and farmworkers have been adversely affected, but substantial loss has also been caused to trade, business, and industry in the State. Even the precious human lives of 125 farmers and farmworkers have so far been lost. As a consequence of the unfair and unjust attitude of the Government of India, the farmers are persisting with their demand to repeal these new Central laws.

The House resolves to once again urge upon the Government of India to withdraw these laws unconditionally in the larger interest of the farmers, and the State and continue with the existing system of MSP-based government procurement of food grains.”

==============================

SHOCKING & SHAMEFUL, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER ON AKALIS’ UNRULY CONDUCT IN HOUSE

· SLAMS SUKHBIR & HARSIMRAT OVER BRAZEN U-TURNS & DOUBLE-SPEAK ON FARM LAWS

Chandigarh, March 5-Amid continued ruckus and unruly behaviour by them in the House, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday slammed the Akalis for their shocking conduct, including their shameful U-turn on the Farm Laws.

As they continued to disrupt the proceedings of the House despite his repeated appeals, the Speaker suspended all the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLAs for the rest of the Budget Session. Adjourning the House for 15 minutes, the Speaker also asked the Marshals to remove the Akalis members from the House over their disorderly behaviour.

Amid cries of `Shame, Shame’ from the Treasury Benches, the Chief Minister, speaking on the farmers’ agitation during his speech in response to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address in the Vidhan Sabha, said both Sukhbir Badal and Harsimrat Badal had brazenly cheated the people of Punjab with their double-speak on the Farm Laws.

Pointing out that Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president had initially accused his government of misleading the farmers, and claimed that the Farm Laws were in favour of the farmers, the Chief Minister said it was later that Sukhbir completely and shamelessly backtracked to oppose the legislations. He read out from an extract of a letter of June 25, 2020, in which Sukhbir had brazenly backed the Farm Laws, emphasising that “there is nothing in these Ordinances which is either against the Federal structure or against the farmers.” In case the Government is unclear on this, then as and when the Bill is presented in Parliament, we will, at that time, assure the farmers of the country about MSP and Procurement from inside the Parliament itself, Sukhbir had then stated in the said letter.

The Chief Minister further pointed out that the Akali president, terming it a clear enunciation of the opinion of SAD on the issue, had also claimed that the interpretation of the Farm Laws suggesting that they will spell doom for MSP and Procurement was “wrong.” It was much later that the Akalis, when faced with the wrath of the farmers and the threat of political oblivion over the issue, decided to renege on their earlier stand, Captain Amarinder pointed out.

As for Harsimrat, she had actually put out a video on Facebook categorically supporting the Farm Ordinances, which she called pro-farmer, said the Chief Minister. In fact, the Akalis supported the resolution moved by his government in the Vidhan Sabha against the central legislations and even went along to Governor’s House to submit the same before taking a U-turn, he added, as slogans of `Shame’ reverberated in the Treasury Benches.

Captain Amarinder recalled that union ministers Hardeep Puri and Som Prakash had categorically stated that Harsimrat was part of the cabinet meeting that approved the Farm Ordinances and raised no objection.

Calling the Akali leaders as `double-faced’, the Chief Minister said “they say something here, and something there.” They had even made a mockery of the august House of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha with their double-speak, he said, adding that “they keep changing their stance and are now claiming to be pro-farmer.”

=================================

PUNJAB CM SAYS COVID CURBS TO CONTINUE WITH MEASURES TO ENSURE MINIMUM, IF ANY, LOSS OF LIVELIHOOD

CHANDIGARH, MARCH 5-Underlining the need to continue Covid appropriate behaviour, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday made it clear that safety restrictions and norms in the state shall continue, while ensuring minimum, if any, loss of livelihood to the citizens of the state.

Pointing to the state’s success in managing and containing the pandemic, the Chief Minister said in the Vidhan Sabha that a year since the pandemic broke out, he could say with satisfaction that “we have done well, thanks to the hard work of all the health and frontline workers, district and police administration, NGOs, local representatives, and above all, the people.”

Punjab was thought to be potentially a high-risk State given its international airports, and a large diaspora, but despite being over 2.5% of India’s population, the cases reported in Punjab have been relatively much less @ 1.6% of the country’s 1.1 crore cases, said the Chief Minister, disclosing that 5887 persons have unfortunately lost their lives in Punjab, with a current positivity rate of 2.3% percent, “which is otherwise low but should give us no cause for complacency.” “It appears that India is experiencing a second wave so we have to be prepared for it,” he warned.

Noting that the state was among the first to use Plasma, and to set up Plasma banks, the first to use steroids in Covid management, Captain Amarinder said his government had been truthful and transparent in its reporting, and had been constantly trying to improve based upon the state’s experiences. “Our efforts at containment and response have been recognized, and the Health Response Team has collaborated with experts, including those working overseas, to bring the best cutting-edge practices to the State,” he said.

The Chief Minister listed out various measures taken by his government to strengthen health care facilities to treat the persons affected by the virus as also to track and trace others to prevent its spread, including ramping up of testing capacity from NIL in March 2020 to around 30000 individual tests per day, among other initiatives. He also cited the success of Mission Fateh in generating awareness, besides launch of Helplines and apps for providing support to the people.

Lauding the role of the farmers in ensuring successful procurement even during the pandemic, the Chief Minister said a total of Rs 62000 crore had been paid to the farmers for the two crops procured during this period. Around 10 lakh farmers had come to the Mandis to sell their produce, he disclosed.

Referring the migrants’ problems amid the pandemic, Captain Amarinder said his government had paid 100 percent of the cost, amounting to Rs. 35 crore, to transport over 5 lakh migrant workers to their homes in 375 trains. Over 21,000 migrant workers were also transported to their homes through 725 special buses. The Government provided special buses to bring back the people of the State who were stuck in different parts of the country due to lockdown, including about 4000 pilgrims from Nanded and more than 2000 students from Kota, he added.

The Chief Minister also listed out the effective measures undertaken by his government to alleviate socio-economic miseries, and stress of distressed populations. These included special measures with respect to distribution of food and medicines, empowerment of panchayats and municipalities, advance pensions, enhanced MGNREGA works, relief to construction workers, hassle-free procurement of wheat and paddy, ex-gratia for government employees, in addition to ensuring continuity in school education.

Besides, said the Chief Minister, recovery of taxes and bills had been deferred, while various taxes and penalties had been waived off. The State Power Corporation (PSPCL) had also given various reliefs to its consumers, at a cost of about Rs 500 crore. These included deferment of payment of Electricity Bills, one percent rebate on current Energy Bills, deferment of Fixed Charges, waiver of Extension Charges, and non-revision of Security for the electricity consumers, among others, he added.

Relief to the real estate sector, in addition to legislative reforms, had also played a vital role in mitigating the woes of the citizens of Punjab amid the Covid pandemic, said Captain Amarinder. He further listed out initiatives taken to revive the economy and mobilise resources as the state fights back to return to normalcy in the post-Covid environment.

=================================

CEO, Punjab Dr. Raju takes corrective steps for the removal of unconstitutional and derogatory words such as ‘Harijan’ in the Photo Electoral Roll

Chandigarh, March 5:-Taking cognizance of the complaint received from one of the electors highlighting the prevalence of unconstitutional and darogatory words such as ‘Harijan’ and ‘Girijan’ in the Photo Electoral Roll, Dr. S. Karuna Raju, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab directed all the 22 Deputy Commissioners – cum – District Election Officers and 117 Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) to take corrective measures.

Dr. Raju further said that Matter was also brought to the attention of Chief Secretary Punjab who also passed necessary directions to concerned authorities for take the necessary action to ensure compliance of the extant instructions of Government of Punjab as well as Government of India in this regard.

He said this exercise required replacement of unconstitutional and derogatory words such as ‘Harijan Basti’ with the proper name of the village/name of the habitation/name of the part village and needed ascribing new names wherever it was required.

After the instructions of Dr. Raju District Electoral officer Gurdaspur taken corrective measures by replacing name of the polling station “Harijan Colony” in the Dinanagar Assembly Constituency of Gurdaspur district to “Part No. 108, Sec No 7, Ward No 5, Dinanagar. Likewise, the polling station “Government Elementary School, Harijan Basti” in Nabha, Patiala district was changed as “Government Elementary School, Borha Gate”. This constitution based approach to democracy with feedback from enlightened citizenry helps strengthen democracy.

Appreciating District Authorities prompt action..CEO Dr Raju appealed to the all Voters, political parties, NGOs Civil Societiey Organaisations, to bring any such names if existing to the notice of the Office of Chief Electoral officer, Punjab.

CEO office will ensure prompt corrective measures he further added.

=====================================

AAP AGAIN EXPOSED ITS ANTI-FARMER AGENDA BY WALKING OUT BEFORE VOTE ON RESOLUTION ON FARM LAWS, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

Chandigarh, March 5:Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for once again exposing its true colours on the issue of the Farm Laws and the farmers’ agitation by walking out of the House before the Resolution seeking repeal of the legislations was put to vote.

In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister said the party had never been truly concerned about protecting the farmers or their interests, and its leadership again proved itself to be an agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with whom AAP national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was colluding against the agitating farmers.

Captain Amarinder, who had earlier in the House shown to the members a copy of the Delhi Gazette notification implementing one of the three Farm Laws, reiterated that the party was cheating the farmers with its false propaganda in their support. The fact is that they have repeatedly backstabbed the farmers, and have done so ago, he said, recalling AAP’s earlier U-turns also on the issue in Punjab.

In the House earlier, AAP MLAs had rushed into the well before staging a walk-out, alleging that the Chief Minister was a member of the High-Powered Committee set up by the Centre on agricultural reforms and hence party to the decision on the Farm Laws. Even though the Chief Minister himself made it clear that he was not present at any meeting of the committee, where Manpreet Badal had attended one meeting while another was participated by an officer, and Manpreet also categorically stated that the state government was not aware of the Ordinances, AAP chose to create a ruckus in the House on the issue.

It was evident, Captain Amarinder said later, that AAP was not interested in the truth but wanted to continue with its malicious agenda of spreading misinformation on the issue. As pointed out by Manpreet in the House, the Chief Minister said all the minutes of the Committee meetings were available as the state government had placed them in the House. Further, at both the meetings held after Punjab was included in the Committee following his letter to the Centre, his government had categorically cautioned the Centre against tinkering with MSP in any way, he added.

================================

PUNJAB CM TRASHES BJP’S CHARGE ON REJECTION OF COVAXIN BY STATE AS `COMPLETE LIE & POLITICAL PROPGANDA’

SAYS FEELING FINE AFTER TAKING FIRST SHOT OF COVID VACCINE, DESCRIBES IT AS `CHARDI KALAN’

Mohali, March 5:Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday trashed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s allegation of Congress-ruled states rejecting Covaxin as a complete lie and part of the ruling party’s false and politically motivated propaganda.

The Chief Minister was responding to a question during an informal media interaction after taking the first shot of the Covid Vaccine at Civil Hospital Mohali. When asked how he was feeling after the Covid jab, the minister said he was in `Chardi Kalan’ and was feeling absolutely fine. The dose was administered to him by ANM (Auxilary Nurse and Midwife) Manpreet.

Categorically denying the charge on Covaxin, the Chief Minister slammed BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s claim that Punjab, along with other Opposition-ruled states, had expressed doubts and refused to accept the vaccination. It was not at all true, he added.

An official of the Punjab Health Ministry later disclosed that the state had received 1.34 lakh Covaxin doses, of which 2500 had already been administered.

The Chief Minister, in response to another question on slow pace of vaccination in the state, said the Media was contributing to scaring the people. He urged the Media to spread awareness about the importance and efficacy about the vaccines.

Admitting that cases of Covid in Punjab were on the rise, having crossed 1000 after more than a month, Captain Amarinder said it was a matter of concern. His government was keeping a close watch on the situation, he said, blaming the casual and carefree attitude of Punjabis for the resurgence in cases. He appealed to the people to strictly adhere to all Covid safety norms, including wearing of masks and social distancing, and not let their guard down, as the Coronavirus had not gone yet.