CAPT AMARINDER LAUDS COTTON GROWERS & AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT FOR RECORD PRODUCTION

·DIRECTS DEPT TO ENSURE TIMELY ADVANCE SUPPORT TO FARMERS FOR NEXT KHARIF SEASON

Chandigarh, December 19: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday congratulated the state’s farmers, especially from the Malwa belt, for record production of cotton, while directing the Agriculture Department to ensure timely advance support for the cotton growers for the next Kharif season.

This season’s expected cotton production is 18.20 lac bales, against 12.23 lac bales in the previous year, with average production per acre crossing the 10 quintals per acre mark, as against last year’s 9.31 quintals per acre.

Captain Amarinder, who also holds the Agriculture portfolio, lauded the efforts of the Agriculture Department, especially the field staff, in motivating the farmers to shift to cotton cultivation, as part of the state government’s crop diversification focus. These efforts translated into increase in the area under cotton cultivation from 6.70 lac acres last year to 9.80 lac acres during this year, according to an official spokesperson.

Timely intervention by the Cotton Corporation of India, on the initiative on the Chief Minister, has for far led to the purchase of 4.36 lac quintals of Cotton, which is about 20% of the total arrival of the produce in the State mandis. The purchase has been done at Minimum Support Price of Rs. 5450 per quintal, fixed by the Govt. of India for American Cotton, said the spokesperson.

The Chief Minister also complimented the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, for working closely with the Agriculture Department to ensure availability of high quality seeds and pesticides, as well as timely advice and extension services to farmers. Captain Amarinder has also directed the Agriculture Department to ensure all these provisions to farmers in advance, to enable expansion of cotton cultivation to the targeted 12.50 lac acres in the next Kharif season.

Meanwhile, Secretary Agriculture KS Pannu said the favourable climate had also contributed to the bumper production of the ‘White Gold’, with the Drip Irrigation concept introduced by the state government helping boost yield and lower cost of cultivation. The decline in cost of production due to decreased use of pesticides had also proved beneficial for the farmers, he added.

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CAPT AMARINDER INAUGURATES ITC’S NEW WELCOMHOTEL IN AMRITSAR THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCE

  • SAYS PROPERTY BUILD AROUND CENTURY-OLD HAVELI WILL FURTHER STRENGTHEN PUNJAB’S INDUSTRY & TOURISM

Chandigarh/Amritsar, December 19:The Punjab government’s efforts to promote industrial and economic development in the state got a major impetus on Thursday, with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh inaugurating ITC’s Welcomhotel in Amritsar.

Inaugurating the 5-star hotel through video conference from Chandigarh, after bad weather prevented him from taking off for Amritsar, the Chief Minister said the project would further contribute to strengthening the state’s economy and industry, backed by increase in employment generation and tourism. He thanked the ITC Group, which had launched a food processing unit in Kapurthala and was looking at launching a new project in Hoshiarpur next year, for making huge investments in Punjab, besides contributing to the state’s industrial development.

Captain Amarinder extended his government’s full support and cooperation to ITC for expanding its presence in the state. The state government, he said, would continue to explore new avenues for development across industrial sectors, in association with the Group. He also expressed gratitude to ITC Chairman & Managing Director Sanjiv Puri and his team for their vision in investing in Punjab’s key sectors, including agriculture or tourism.

The formal opening of the hotel in Amritsar was meanwhile done by Water Resources and Housing & Urban Development Minister Sukbinder Singh Sarkaria and Medical Education and Research Minister OP Soni.

Spread across eight acres of manicured greens, the magnificent 101-room Welcomhotel Amritsar is centred around a colonnaded mansion, the erstwhile Sandhanwalia Haveli. The Haveli, which traces its origins to the early 1900s, has been restored with all modern comforts while preserving the century-old cultural, architectural and culinary flavours. The property is located close to the airport and a short drive from the Golden Temple.

On the occasion, Sanjeev Puri reiterated ITC’s commitment to building iconic hotel properties that enhance the tourism potential of India. “The magnificent property is our tribute to the rich legacy of Punjab and is a part of ITC's growing footprint in the State across all sectors encompassing agriculture, manufacturing and services,” he added. Puri thanked the State Government for its wholehearted cooperation in setting up projects in Punjab.

ITC Executive Director Nakul Anand presented the vote of thanks. ITC believes that Welcomhotel Amritsar will attract discerning domestic and international travellers to the enriching local experiences that define the heart and soul of Amritsar, whilst enhancing the tourism potential of Punjab overall, he added.

Among those present at the inauguration were MP Gurjit Singh Aujala, MLAs Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Sunil Dutti, Tarsem Singh DC, Inderbir Singh Bolaira and Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Ex MLA Jugal Kishore, Chairman Improvement Trust Amritsar Dinesh Bassi, Gurpal Singh, DC Amritsar Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Commissioner Police Amritsar Sukhchain Singh Gill and SSP Amritsar Rural Vikramjit Singh Duggal.

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101 Food Samples fail safety standards-Pannu

Chandigarh, December 19:Crediting public with the assistance rendered in ascertaining the food safety in the State, KS Pannu, Director Tandrust Punjab Mission informed that the test results of samples brought voluntarily by public to the mobile Food Safety Vans reveal that during the month of October and November 2019, 101 samples out of 567 failed to meet the prescribed standards.

Giving details, he informed that mobile Food Safety Vans are deployed on rotational basis in different districts. During the month of October, a van was deployed in district Hoshiarpur wherein people brought 368 samples for testing including 78 samples of milk and milk products, 49 of spices and condiments, 16 of water and beverages and 225 of sweets. Out of the samples tested in Hoshiarpur, 40 failed.

Similarly, during the month of November, the Food Safety Van was deployed in Ferozepur wherein people brought 199 samples for testing including 60 samples of milk and milk products, 54 of spices and condiments, 20 samples of cereals and cereal products, 09 of salt and 56 of miscellaneous food items. Out of the 199 samples analysed in Ferozepur, 61 failed to meet the prescribed standards.

Thanking the public for the support, Pannu said that for on the spot testing of samples in the Food Safety Vans, a nominal test charge to the tune of Rs. 50 per sample is charged but this has never kept away the concerned citizens from getting tested the quality of food consumed by them. He said that after the analysis the people are furnished with certified the copy of report on the spot.

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ALL-WOMEN PCR VANS TO BE MOBILISED IN 5 CITIES TO HELP STRANDED WOMEN REACH SAFELY HOME AS CAPT AMARINDER ORDERS SCALING-UP OF POLICE PICK-DROP FACILITY

Chandigarh, December 19: Further scaling up the police pick-drop facility for women in distress, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered all-women PCR vans to be mobilized in major five cities of Punjab to provide safe transport in response to such calls.

PCRs rushing to help stranded women seeking to be dropped safely to their home/workplace will be manned entirely by women cops in Mohali, Amritsar, Patiala, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, in line with the Chief Minister’s orders.

This was disclosed here on Thursday by DGP Dinkar Gupta, who said that since the launch of the scheme to drop women safely home, a total of 40 calls had been received on 100/112, 181 and 1091 helpline numbers between December 03 and December 18, 2019. Giving break-up, he said 26 calls were received at 112/100, 02 calls were received at 181 and 12 calls were received on the districts 1091 helpline.

It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had launched the scheme on December 3, amid growing concerns over safety of women, whereby free police help is provided to women stranded outside between 09.00 pm and 06.00 am. Women callers are connected immediately to the Police Patrolling Vehicles and Concerned Police Stations as part of the pick-up and drop facility, available to women who do not have access to a safe vehicle, including taxi or three-wheeler.

Giving details of the distress calls received so far, the DGP said the minimum response time taken by Police Patrolling Parties to reach the caller was seven minutes and the maximum 30 minutes, averaging a total of 12 minutes. The police parties safely dropped callers at their place of residence/place where they wanted to go. In some cases, women journalists from electronic media also gave dummy calls to the Police Control Room to check the police response time, and successfully verified the same.

In majority of the cases, a woman police officer was present in the PCR, said the DGP, adding that the scheme is still in the initial stage and having some teething problems, which were being streamlined. Once that is done, all PCR vans helping women in distress will have a lady cop, he added.

Though the scheme was officially announced for women stranded between 9 pm and 6 am, the DGP said the Chief Minister had personally directed the police to ensure support to any woman who feels unsafe at any time of the day. Acting on this directive, the Pathankot Police had on December 5, helped out a woman who had called at around 8.05 p.m by dropping her safely home.

Interestingly, there have been instances of passers-by also calling up the police helpline on spotting a woman alone at night. One such instance was reported on December 6, at 12.16 am, when one Danesh called up 112 Helpline and stated that a lady was standing alone at Ladhowali Chubti Phatak, Jalandhar. The lady was dropped home by a PCR that reached the spot within 14 minutes with a woman ASI on board.

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CABINET GIVES GO-AHEAD TO HAND OVER POSSESSION OF PKVC PROPERTY TO AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT



Chandigarh, December 19: Finding that the Punjab Kisan Vikas Chamber (PKVC), Mohali, had totally failed in its objective of ensuring farmer welfare, the Punjab Cabinet on Thursday gave the nod to hand over the possession of two acres of its land and office in Mohali to the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

The move is aimed at enabling optimal utilization of the property, which had been provided free of cost to PKVC, for the welfare of farmers.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the office of Punjab State Farmers & Farm Labourers Commission and Agriculture Marketing Innovation Research & Intelligence Centre (AMIRIC), which are focused on farmers’ issues and aimed at supporting farmers, will now be established in the building. Other institutions, including PKVC, will be allowed to conduct seminars for the welfare of the farmers in the premises.

The spokesperson further said that the Cabinet had also observed that the amount that remains pending from the Rs.25 crore granted to the Chamber would also need to be taken back from it.

Notably, the Council of Ministers, in its meeting on February 25, 2016, had cleared the way for the establishment of PKVC as a Society, and the two acres of land was allotted free of cost in Mohali by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to it, with the actual value of the land i.e. Rs.8.47 crore adjusted from CLU charges of its Scheme and License Fees. Additionally, Punjab government had granted Rs.10 crore vide letter dated May 18, 2016 and Rs.15 crore vide letter dated November 9, 2016. The Society built the office at an estimated amount of Rs.21.93 crore and the balance amount of approximately Rs.3 crore still lies with it.

It may be noted that the state government, vide letters dated September 25, 2019, October 7, 2019 and October 22, 2019, had sought a report from the Secretary General as to what steps had been taken by the Chamber to improve the economic conditions of the farmers, and how much success it got in this regard, in the three years since PKVC was established. Subsequently, a report was submitted by PKVC on November 7, 2019, after scrutinising the report, it was found that the chamber did not make any worthwhile efforts to improve the economic conditions of the farmers nor had the farmers benefitted in any way.

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CABINET APPROVES PUNJAB ADVOCATES WELFARE FUND RULES, 2019



Chandigarh, December 19: The State Cabinet on Thursday approved ‘the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Rules, 2019’ to pave the way for implementation of the related Act.

This decision was taken during the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here at Punjab Bhawan.

According to an official spokesperson, the state government is required to prepare and notify the amended rules under Section 28 of the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2002.

The rules would provide for deposit of funds in nationalised bank, preparation of annual statement of Accounts & Budget Estimates and Accounts of Expenditure & Investment as well as the Annual Audit. The amendment will provide for procedure for admission to the Fund as well as removal from membership. It also contains a provision for appointment of staff to carry out various activities.

It may be recalled that the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2002 was enacted for constitution of a Fund and utilisation thereof, for the welfare of advocates belonging to the State of Punjab. The income to the Fund comes from grant from the state government, funds collected by the Bar Council, voluntary donations, grant from Central Government etc. The funds are to be spent for the welfare of advocates for various purposes like Group Insurance to advocates, financial aid to deserving advocates, medical insurance to advocates, financial aid in case of serious illness etc.

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CABINET APPROVES PUNJAB ADVOCATES WELFARE FUND RULES, 2019



Chandigarh, December 19: The State Cabinet on Thursday approved ‘the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Rules, 2019’ to pave the way for implementation of the related Act.

This decision was taken during the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here at Punjab Bhawan.

According to an official spokesperson, the state government is required to prepare and notify the amended rules under Section 28 of the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2002.

The rules would provide for deposit of funds in nationalised bank, preparation of annual statement of Accounts & Budget Estimates and Accounts of Expenditure & Investment as well as the Annual Audit. The amendment will provide for procedure for admission to the Fund as well as removal from membership. It also contains a provision for appointment of staff to carry out various activities.

It may be recalled that the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2002 was enacted for constitution of a Fund and utilisation thereof, for the welfare of advocates belonging to the State of Punjab. The income to the Fund comes from grant from the state government, funds collected by the Bar Council, voluntary donations, grant from Central Government etc. The funds are to be spent for the welfare of advocates for various purposes like Group Insurance to advocates, financial aid to deserving advocates, medical insurance to advocates, financial aid in case of serious illness etc.

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