PUNJAB CM TERMS PRESIDENTIAL ASSENT TO FARM BILLS AS UNFORTUNATE & DISTRESSING

SAYS HIS GOVT EXPLORING ALL OPTIONS, INCLUDING POSSIBLE AMEDMENTS TO STATE LAW, TO PROTECT FARMERS’ INTERESTS

FLAYS SUKHBIR’S `DARK DAY FOR DEMOCRACY’ REMARK AS YET ANOTHER `GIFT’ FROM AKALIS TO PUNJAB

Chandigarh, September 27-Terming the President’s assent to the Farm Bills as unfortunate and distressing, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his government is exploring all options, including possible amendments to the state laws, to protect the interests of the farmers.

All farmer organisations and other stakeholders would be taken into confidence before taking any decision on the way forward, the Chief Minister said, adding that the state government was committed to the procurement of every single grain of the farmers without compromising on the pricing. His government was already in consultation with legal and agricultural experts, and all those impacted by the Central Government’s calamitous legislations, to decide on the future course of action, he said.

Besides legal recourse, his government was looking at other options to scuttle the Centre’s new Agriculture laws that are designed to ruin Punjab’s farmers and economy, said the Chief Minister, who is scheduled to sit on dharna against the draconian legislations on Monday at Khatkar Kalan, SBS Nagar, after paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh at the Samadhi Sthal of the martyr.

The Chief Minister expressed disappointment and anguish over the decision of President Ram Nath Kovind to give the nod to the three unconstitutional and anti-farmer Agriculture Bills, without giving the Congress and other Opposition parties the opportunity to put their concerns before the Parliament. The President’s assent had come as a big blow to the farmers, who are out on the roads protesting against the Centre’s assault on their interests, he said.

Implementation of these dangerous new laws in their current form would destroy Punjab’s agriculture – the lifeline of its economy, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the very livelihood of farmers was at stake due to these legislations, which the Government of India had succeeded in imposing on the states and the farming community by brute majority.

The exclusion of MSP from the legislations had raised serious concerns about the intent of the BJP-led Union Government, which had triggered the widespread unrest among the farmers and prompted the Congress to take the lead in aggressively opposing the central laws, the Chief Minister said. The state of Punjab, which would be the worst affected by these treacherous laws, would take this fight forward with all its might, said Captain Amarinder, vowing not to give up till the farmers get back their due rights.

Captain Amarinder also reacted strongly to Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal’s response to the Presidential assent, terming it a cruel joke on the farmers since it was the Shiromani Akali Dal’s active support to the Farm Ordinances that had brought things to such a pass. Even now, after the farce of his party’s break-up with the NDA, all Sukhbir seemed concerned about was not the farmers’ plight but exploitation of the issue to boost the Akali prospects in the next State Assembly polls, he added.

The fact that Sukhbir and Harsimrat Badal’s entire efforts was aimed at attacking him (Captain Amarinder) personally and his government showed how desperate they were to transform this serious issue of national repercussions into a local issue for Punjab, the Chief Minister noted. The dark day for democracy, as Sukhbir is now calling it, was a gift of the Badals to Punjab and its farmers, just like the plethora of other gifts they have given to the state over the years, including sacrilege and false cases, economic devastation, massive debts, among others, he quipped.

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CAPT AMARINDER GOVT APPOINTS 8000 NODAL OFFICERS, SETS UP DEDICATED CALL CENTRE TEAM TO CHECK STUBBLE BURNING

ALSO PROVIDING 23500 MORE MACHINES TO FARMERS FOR IN-SUTU PADDY STRAW MANAGEMENT

Chandigarh, September 27:In a series of measures to check stubble burning in the ongoing Kharif season, the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab government has appointed 8000 Nodal Officers in the Paddy growing villages of the state, with 23500 more machines being given to farmers for in-sutu management of paddy straw.

The Chief Minister has also appealed to the farmers not to burn the crop residue, as it could aggravate Covid conditions apart from leading to pollution spread. Seeking the support and cooperation of the farmers in preventing stubble burning amid the pandemic, he said that experts had warned it could have serious implications for the vulnerable people, already suffering from lung and other diseases.

Captain Amarinder said while he had been repeatedly following up with the Prime Minister for compensation to the farmers for defraying the cost on management of paddy straw, the state was also taking various steps to educate the farmers about the problem. The state government has been seeking from the Centre Rs 100/quintal as compensation to enable the farmers to manage the paddy straw without burning it.

The nodal officers, who will be working in the villages till November 15, will work in close coordination with the staff of Cooperation, Revenue, Rural Development & Panchayats, Agriculture, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Departments, as well as the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the Guardians of Governance. Armed with a Super SMS system, these officers will also prepare lists of owners who have given their land on rent (theka) and then call each land owner on phone with the warning that a red entry shall be made in their land record if they fail to ensure that no paddy straw is burng.

The nodal officers will create awareness in villages through demonstration of CRM machines, distribution of pamphlets/leaflets, announcements from Gurudwara or by other modes, personal interaction with village schools for awareness lectures to students who can create further awareness among their parents and other farmers in their villages.

The Agriculture Department has also deputed a dedicated team at the Call Centre on Toll Free No. 1800-180-1551 for quick resolution of the queries of farmers about farm machinery for paddy straw management.

The Chief Minister said as part of the state’s stubble management strategy, the Agriculture Department, which he heads, 23500 more agri-machines are being provided this year to farmers, either individually or in groups or through cooperative societies at a subsidy ranging from 50% to 80%. This is in addition to 51,000 paddy straw in-situ management machines provided over the past two years.

Further, various sites have been identified/ earmarked in the districts for collection of residues in Common Lands /Cattle Ponds and Gaushalas, where farmers or any entrepreneur can store paddy straw. This stored basmati residue can be transported to places where it can be used as cattle fodder, said the Chief Minister, adding that the District Administration had been directed to facilitate the logistics for transportation of the straw from these sites. The Punjab Government has, in fact, approached to the Chief Secretaries of the adjoining States for procurement of this paddy straw and queries had been received so far from the State of Uttarakhand, said the Chief Minister.

Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Anirudh Tiwari said that State Government was also taking appropriate legal and administrative measures, besides creating awareness among people, to curb the menace of paddy stubble burning in view of pandemic.

Notably, Paddy has been grown over 27 lac hectares of land in Punjab this year. This includes cultivation of Basmati on 7 lac hectares. Cumulatively, this is expected to yield paddy residue of 16.50 million tons .

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PUNJAB CM MOURNS DEATH OF SARUP SINGH, FATHER OF BUREAU CHIEF OF AJIT

RAVEEN THUKRAL ALSO MOURNS PASSING AWAY OF SARUP SINGH

Chandigarh, September 27:Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday condoled the sad demise of Sarup Singh (93), the father of local Bureau Chief of Ajit Group of Newspapers Herkawaljit Singh, who passed away here this evening after a brief illness at his residence. He is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.

Notably, S Sarup Singh was an eminent scholar of Persian, Urdu & Punjabi and a poet.

Expressing his heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family in this hour of grief, Captain Amarinder Singh prayed to the Almighty to give courage to the family members to bear this irreparable loss and grant eternal peace to the departed soul.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister's Media Advisor Raveen Thukral also mourned the death of Sarup Singh.

The cremation will take place on Monday at 12.30 pm at Sector 25 cremation ground, according to the family sources.

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Sukhbir Badal should immediately resign as president of Akali Dal: Tript Bajwa

Breaking ties with BJP an effort to cover up duplicitous politics

Akali Dal should refrain from using religious sentiments & institutions for petty politics

Chandigarh, September 6: Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Mr. Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has asked the Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal to immediately resign as Akali Dal president because his party despite of being a long time ally in Modi government failed miserably to protect the interests of Punjabis. He no longer has the moral and political right to remain as president of Shiromani Akali Dal.

Mr. Bajwa in a press statement issued here today said that the decision to sever ties with the BJP and come out of the NDA was in fact a "confession" of the Akali Dal. " Instead of fighting for implementing federal structure in the country, distribution of river waters as per riparian act, giving back Punjabi speaking areas to Punjab and its capital Chandigarh, implementing Swaminathathan report to get remunerative prices of agricultural produce to the farmers and fighting for the release of Sikh prisoners who have been languishing in jails for a long time despite completing their sentences, the present leadership of Shiromani Akali Dal has always been confined to the fulfill their personal interests" added Bajwa.

The Panchayat Minister said that the Shiromani Akali Dal had not severed ties with the BJP out of any principle or morality but due to political compulsion because the Punjabis completely ignored the call of Chakka Jam of the Akali Dal on September 25 and shown that they would no longer be fooled by the Akalis. He said that the anger and agitation by the Punjabi has grounded the Akalis and forced to quit the Modi government and break ties with BJP who were from the last four months supporting anti farmer bills,

Mr. Bajwa said that the double faced politics of Akalis has been time and again at the one time they were supporting the Agriculture ordinances and holding press conferences and they even put a big black mark on the remaining reputation of Parkash Singh Badal by making him issue statements in favour of the Agriculture ordinances.

If Captain Amarinder Singh was misleading the farmers on agriculture ordinances and now who is misleading them, the Pancahayat Minister questioned Akalis? He also asked the Akali leaders to explain how the same agriculture ordinances which were supporting became anti-farmer overnight when the same ordinances were enacted. Rubbishing the statement of Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal for demanding the resignation of the state Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh as absurd, Mr. Bajwa said that in fact the Akali leaders were bewildered and issuing such senseless statements.

Terming the decision of the Shiromani Akali Dal to start the Akali March from the great thrones of the Sikh Panth in Punjab on October 1 as unfortunate, Mr. Bajwa said that Akali Dal should refrain from using religion as a cover for its politics. He said that the flawed policy of the Akali Dal to use the religious sentiments and institutions of the Sikhs for their petty political interests had kept Punjab in the furnace of extremism for two decades.

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MANDI BOARD ESTABLISHES CONTROL ROOM FOR ALL DISTRICTS TO RESOLVE PADDY PROCUREMENT ISSUES-LAL SINGH

· ASKS FARMERS TO DOWNLOAD MANDI BOARD’s ‘e-PMB’ MOBILE APP TO SEEK LATEST INFO OF PADDY PROCUREMENT & e-PASSES AMID COVID-19

· PASSES ISSUED TO FARMERS FOR BRINGING PADDY TO MANDIS IN A STAGGERED MANNER

CHANDIGARH, SEPTEMBER 27:With a view to facilitating farmers and Arthiyas during Kharif Marketing Season which began today throughout the state, the Mandi Board Chairman Lal Singh said that the State Control Room has been setup at Mandi Board Headquarters in Mohali for all 22 districts to promptly address the issues of farmers and arhtiyas during procurement operations in the wake of COVID-19 and has also issued passes to farmers for bringing paddy in a staggered manner to the mandis.

Reiterating Captain Amarinder Singh Government’s resolve to procure every single grain of the farmers produce, Lal Singh said that all necessary health protocol as well as social distancing measures would be followed in the right earnest to keep the spread of Coronavirus under check. He said that requisite elaborate arrangements including availability of sanitizer, mask, hand wash, drinking water facilities have been put in place and necessary directions had already been issued to concerned authorities in this regard.

The Chairman further said that due to the elaborate mandi arrangements and operational management of the staggered arrival of wheat during last Rabi season, COVID-19 failed to put a spoke in the gigantic procurement operation, lasting one-and-a-half month. He hoped that the Mandi Board would also complete the whole operation of ongoing procurement season in a same manner this time also with the cooperation of farmers, labourers, Mandi Board, Food & Civil Supplies and other concerned departments.

Disclosing further, a Spokesperson of the Mandi Board said that the Chairman also suggested the farmers to download ‘epmb mobile app’ of Mandi Board to get the latest information regarding Mandi activities as well as e-passes for paddy procurement. This app would be immensely beneficial for all stakeholders in the procurement of paddy amid COVID-19, added the spokesperson.

Divulging the procedure for procurement, the Spokesperson said that initially farmers and arhtiyas are required to contact their Secretary Market Committees with regard to any procurement related issue and if the same is not resolved, they can establish contact at said Control Room for their districts.

Giving details of control room, the spokesperson stated that these have been established for all districts where teams of Mandi Board had been deputed to get the complaints regarding paddy procurement operations resolved. He said that 70-member team would perform their duty in Headquarter Control Room in two shifts from 7 AM to 8 PM during procurement season.

The farmers and arhtiyas of Amritsar District can contact at (0172-5101647), Barnala (0172-5101673) , Bathinda (0172-5101668), Faridkot (0172-5101694), Fatehgarh Sahib (0172-5101665), Fazilka (0172-5101650), Ferozepur (0172-5101609), Gurdaspur (0172-5101619), Hoshiarpur (0172-5101605), Jalandhar (0172-5101682), Kapurthala (0172-5101620), Ludhiana (0172-5101629) and Mansa (0172-5101648).

Likewise, the farmers and arhtiyas of Moga can contact the control room at 0172-5101700, Mohali (0172-5101641), Pathankot (0172-5101651), Patiala (0172-5101652), Ropar (0172-5101646), Sangrur (0172-5101692), S.B.S. Nagar (0172-5101649), Sri Muktsar Sahib (0172-5101659) and Tarn Taran (172-5101643).

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Punjab traces 7.6 contacts of each Corona Positive Patient

• Punjab far ahead from HP, Bihar and many states in terms of contact tracing

• Aggressive efforts being made to trace contacts of positive patients: Balbir Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, September 27:To break the chain of spreading COVID-19 virus, the Health department Punjab has braced up its efforts for contact tracing drive under which 7.6 contacts of every COVID person have been traced and tested in last week. Punjab has far ahead from many states like Himachal Pradesh, Bihar & in terms of contact tracing.

Giving details in a press communiqué issued here today, the Punjab Health Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that tracing of contact persons (all household members, social contacts contact at workplace) and early sampling/testing are significant ways to curb further spread of the virus till vaccination hasn’t come. He said that to accomplish this target, District level teams (comprising various departments) designated by the Deputy Commissioners are working on war footing across the state. A Nodal officer of the rank of Additional Deputy Commissioner has reviewed the progress of teams deputed at urban zones. In addition to this, block level teams have also been formed under SDMs to cover rural areas coordinating with the respective Senior Medical Officer.

Initially, when a case comes positive, the source of infection may not be known immediately as the patient may not recall the people met and places visited adding that he said with repeated interviews, we have been able to trace infection in most cases.

Sharing figures regarding contact tracing in the last seven days (20 September to 26 September), Mr. Sidhu stated that District Amritsar leads in Punjab with the achievement of tracing 9.7 contact persons of COVID patients. District Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur followed the Amritsar with 9.2 and 9.0 respectively. He said that 9 Districts Gurdaspur, Patiala, Pathankot, Faridkot, Sangrur, Kapurthala, Mukatsar, Tarn Taran & Fatehgarh Sahib have also traced above 8 contacts of every corona positive patient. He said that soon Punjab would achieve the hundred percent target of contact tracing.

Underscoring action being taken to counter rumours and stigma attached to pandemic, Mr. Sidhu said that extensive awareness activities were being conducted such as regular interviews of experts and CORONA survivors have been released on social media platforms to provide accurate information about the disease and ways to prevent it. Anti-stigma campaign launched with training of Health Workers and other staff to de-stigmatize the disease.

Mr. Sidhu said that teams of the Health Department have been continuously working round the clock since March. He said that around 1400 medical and paramedical staff of the health department tested positive and 9 deaths reported so far.

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Badals owe an apology casting aspersions on Dr. Manmohan Singh at instigation of BJP: Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa

Breaking marriage of convenience with BJP can't turn SAD into a holy cow

Badal conglomerate cannot wash hands off decisions inimical to Punjab, Minorities & Farmers even after parting of ways with saffron party

Badal family needs to come clean on duty assigned by BJP to bring farmers on board

Chandigarh, September 27:The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) cannot wash its hands off the sins committed by the party even after ending its marriage of convenience with the BJP owing to political compulsions as well as pressure mounted by the farmers' agitation. The Badal clan owes a public apology for casting aspersions on Dr. Manmohan Singh at the instigation of the saffron party. This was firmly demanded here today in a press communique by the senior Congress leader and Cabinet Minister S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

The Congress leader further said that the Badals were equal partners in the NDA Government which brought the economy to its lowest ebb which was earlier put on upward trajectory by the UPA Government under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh with great efforts. By acting as puppets in the hands of BJP, the akalis continued personal criticism of Dr. Manmohan Singh, said S. Randhawa who also added that despite granting various financial sops to Punjab, Dr. Manmohan Singh never got a word of gratitude from the SAD. Now that owing to political compulsions, the akalis have off late woken up so suddenly to the reality of BJP being anti Punjab, the Badal conglomerate must publicly apologize to Dr. Manmohan Singh for their follies.

Pointing out further, S. Randhawa said that with breaking of alliance with the BJP, the SAD cannot claim itself to be a holy cow for the party is equitable ally in crime during wrongs committed against the State of Punjab, Minorities and the farmers during NDA regime and so, can't wash the stains even after unending explanations. The sinful decisions undertaken by the Union Government involved attacking and undermining the federal structure of the country, Unconstitutional decisions such as CAA, Dropping Punjabi from the list of official languages, Anti farmer black laws and the electricity ordinances.

The Congress leader also challenged the SAD to come clean on statements by BJP regarding akalis in loop over the farm ordinances as well as duty assigned by the saffron party to bring the farmers on board. The BJP has lifted the veil of double standards off the akalis' face and the people of Punjab especially the farming community won't ever forgive SAD for the stab in the back.

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3590 MT Paddy Procured on day one: Ashu

Chandigarh, September 27:The Government procurement agencies have procured 3590 metric tonnes of paddy in Punjab on day one of procurement of this Kharif Season.

Disclosing this here today, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Punjab Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu said the Government procurement agencies procured total 3531 MT and 59 MT paddy procured by private Millers.

Mr. Ashu further said that 22040 MT paddy has been arrived in 98 mandis of ten districts of state on day one of this season.

The Cabinet Minister also appealed to the farmers to bring the ripen and dry crop to mandis .