Chandigarh, June 18: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgent intervention for permission to construct 20 LMT capacity covered godowns in the state for scientific storage of foodgrains, to address the acute shortage of covered storage space.

In a letter to the prime minister, Captain Amarinder Singh has urged him to direct the Ministry of Food, Government of India, to “allow construction of 20 LMT capacity covered godowns, under 7 Year Guarantee by GOI/FCI, so that foodgrains may be scientifically stored in the State.”

The Chief Minister pointed out that bumper crops during the last few seasons, coupled with slow pace of evacuation of foodgrains from the State of Punjab, had resulted in acute shortage of covered storage space. As a result, more than 100 LMT of wheat, out of 280 LMT of foodgrain stocked in the State, is currently stored in the open, he said, adding that the situation had worsened this year because of unseasonal rains, resulting in the purchase of certain quantities of wheat under relaxed specifications (URS).

Though FCI had approved the construction of additional silo capacity of 21 LMT with railway sidings in the State, construction of the same may take 4-5 years or even more, the Chief Minister noted. As a result, lack of adequate storage space would force State Procuring Agencies to store wheat in unscientific locations in the coming seasons and further lead to damage of wheat stocks, he said, terming this a national loss.

The Government of Punjab, wrote Captain Amarinder Singh, had requested the Ministry of Food, Government of India, to allow construction of covered godowns under Guarantee by GOI/FCI. But formal approval from the Ministry was still awaited, he said, adding that it normally takes about 10 months for a scientific godown to be constructed and only 10 months are now left for the start of the next Rabi Season 2020-21.

The State Government is, therefore, running against time to ensure availability of adequate scientific storage space for the next Rabi season, he emphasized, seeking the prime minister’s urgent intervention to address the critical issue.

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Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission Chairperson chairs review meeting

  • DGP Punjab directed to decide pending cases upto 2016 within 3 months

Chandigarh, June 18:The Chairperson of the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission Mrs. Tejinder Kaur (IAS Retd.) today presided over a meeting here at Punjab Bhawan to review the pending cases pertaining to various departments.

During the course of meeting, the Chairperson while reviewing the pending cases concerning the police department directed the Punjab DGP Mr. Dinkar Gupta to decide with regard to the pending cases upto 2016 falling under SC/ST Act within 3 months whereas complete the probe concerning the cases upto 2017 in 6 months time. The Chairperson also sought detailed report about the entire lot of pending cases from the department.

The Chairperson also directed that the progress pertaining to the cases under the SC/ST community be evaluated every week. At the same time pointing out the many flaws in the SC/ST cases on the part of the investigating officers, the Chairperson emphasized upon the DGP to provide adequate training to all such officers.

The DGP Mr. Dinkar Gupta assured the commission that proper measures would be put in place to implement in letter and spirit the directions of the commission.

During the meeting, various schemes such as Aashirwad Scheme, Post-Matric Scholarship were also evaluated with instructions being issued to the officers of the concerned department to present report of the previous 5 years regarding these 2 schemes in a week’s time.

The meeting also saw 2 proposals being presented by the ex-officio member Mr. Gian Chand Deewali regarding increasing the income level from Rs. 2.50 lakh to Rs. 8 lakh as for General category in order to enable the SC/ST community to benefit from the Government schemes and increasing the waived credit limit for the loand availed by the SC/ST community on the pattern of the farmers debt waiver, from Rs. 20000 to Rs. 1 lakh. Both the proposals were accepted unanimously.

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Food Security Group holds maiden meeting

For increasing outreach, recommends ease in verification procedure for Smart Ration Card beneficiaries

For Transparency, Suggests random verification of beneficiaries by DCs and SDMs

Youth hostels, Old age Homes and Orphanages to be brought under the subsidized ration scheme

Subsidized pulses for smart ration card holders, soon

Chandigarh, June 18:In days after constitution of consultative groups by Chief Minister Punjab to accelerate the pace of implementation of his government’s flagship programmes, the Food Security – Smart Ration Cards Group constituted under the Chairmanship of Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Punjab held its maiden meeting at Anaj Bhawan, Chandigarh.

Reviewing the Food Security Schemes at length, the group recommended certain modifications in the implementation of existing schemes in order to streamline the food grains distribution system and to bring more transparency and efficacy into the process.

The Group comprising of Rural Development & Panchayats Minister, Mr.Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Social Security Minister, Smt. Aruna Chaudhary, seven MLAs, senior government officers of department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Social Security and Finance as members with Special Principal Secretary to CM , Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh and Captain Sandeep Sandhu Secretary (Political) to CM as special invitees, suggested ease in verification procedure for Smart Ration Card beneficiaries.

It was observed that inordinate delay occurs in verification of identified beneficiaries due to the concerned Performa being passed from office of Patwari to Deputy Commissioner. Hence, it has been suggested that in Rural Areas Patwaris, Block Development Officers and District Food Supply Controller or his nominee, in Urban Areas Inspectors of Municipal Committees, Executive Officers and Secretary/ Superintendent Level officers and in areas falling under Cantonment Boards the nominee of the respective Deputy Commissioner may verify the forms of the beneficiaries. The group opined that this simplification in the identification/verification of the beneficiaries will go a long way increasing the reach of food security schemes.

Besides, it has been proposed that to maintain transparency in the procedure, regular random checks into the data may be made to the tune of 10% by Sub divisional Magistrates and 5% by the Deputy Commissioners.

The Food Security Group also proposed to rope in more Depot Holders so that the beneficiaries may not travel far to get the subsidized food grains. Village-wise re-verification of data of existing beneficiaries was also suggested.

Aiming greater outreach to the needy, the group agreed to bring youth hostels, old age homes and orphanages under the preview of subsidised ration.

Commencement of pulses distribution for the Smart Card Holders from the next food grain distribution cycle also garnered cent percent support of the members of the Group.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ashu said that Captain Amrinder Singh, Chief Minister Punjab has constituted eight consultative groups to review and modify flagship government schemes. The groups have been mandated to review and assess the performance of the programmes/schemes and give their respective recommendations for further improvements. They are also to recommend amendments/updating of the existing guidelines of the schemes/programmes to improve their coverage with effective participation of communities/citizens, besides suggesting ways and means to improve outreach of these programmes/schemes.

The Food Security – Smart Ration Cards Group has done the same and would submit its report to the Chief Minister for consideration of the Council of Ministers, he added.

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Illegal colonizers would face the music: Sarkaria

  • Sarkaria assumes office as Housing and Urban Development Minister

Chandigarh, June 18:After portfolio rejig in Punjab Cabinet, Mr. Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria on Tuesday assumed office as the Housing and Urban Development Minister at PUDA Bhawan, Mohali.

After assuming the office, Mr. Sarkaria held a meeting with senior officers of the department. Expressing concern over illegal colonies, the Minister said that strict action would be taken against those found involved in this business and nobody would be allowed to construct illegal colonies at any cost in future.

Mr. Sarkaria instructed the officers that genuine developers should not face any problem to get clearances for their projects. He said that Housing and Urban Development Department has an important role to play in urban development and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab government is committed to provide all amenities to the people of state.

Apprising with the functioning of the department, the Additional Chief Secretary of the department Mrs. Vini Mahajan formally introduced the minister with the officials of various branches of the department. She assured the minister that they would leave no stone unturned in implementing policies and schemes of the state government effectively.