punjab

Mobile internet suspended in Patiala, CM transfers IG, SSP, SP

Patiala (Punjab) [India]: Mobile internet services have been temporarily suspended on Saturday in Punjab’s Patiala, which a day ago witnessed clashes between two groups in which four people were injured. Three senior police officials have also been transferred in connection with the incident on the directions of chief minister Bhagwant Mann.

CM Mann has directed the transfer with immediate effect of Inspector General of Police (IG) Patiala range, Rakesh Aggarwal, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Patiala, Nanak Singh and Superintendent of Police (SP) Harpal Singh, according to a spokesperson from the chief minister’s office.
Authorities imposed a curfew in the district yesterday till 6 am today after clashes broke out near the Kali Devi Temple in Patiala city on Friday afternoon as members of two groups hurled stones and brandished swords at each other. Police personnel were deployed to bring under control the situation. Two policemen were among those injured.

On Saturday morning the Punjab government temporarily suspended mobile internet services from 9:30 am to 6 pm in the city today.

“… there is likelihood of tension, annoyance, obstruction or injury to persons, danger to human life and property, disturbance of public peace and tranquility within the limits of district Patiala due to the recent law and order events,” an official order read.

By stopping the spread of misinformation is necessary “to thwart the designs and activities of anti-national and anti-social groups/ elements and maintain peace and communal harmony and to prevent any loss of life or damage to public/private property,” the order said.

“.. (i) Mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA) (ii) all SMS services and (iii) all dongle services etc. provided on mobile networks except voice calls in the territorial jurisdiction of the District of Patiala from 9:30 am to 6 pm on April 30,” the official order said.

After the clashes the Shiv Sena on Friday expelled from its Punjab unit working president Harish Singla who had led a march in Patiala on Friday after which clashes broke out in the city. Singla was later arrested in connection with the incident. Locals say the situation is peaceful and devotees continue to visit the temple today.

Patiala Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney confirmed the development and said that one person has been arrested with regard to the clashes.

She said, “FIRs have been lodged and raids are underway. We appeal to public to maintain peace. From 9.30 am to 6pm today, mobile internet services will remain temporarily suspended as a step of abundant caution by the government. One person has been arrested.”

Patiala’s Senior Superintendent of Police, Nanak Singh told reporters today that the police and administration will share factual information and no misinformation should be believed in the said incident.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has ordered a probe into the clash and said that strict action will be taken against those behind the violence. (ANI)

After Delhi and Punjab, we will form government in Karnataka, says Arvind Kejriwal

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday promised a “corruption-free” government in Karnataka and expressed confidence that the people of the state will vote for the Aam Aadmi Party in next year’s assembly polls.

“Ours is an honest government, we made it in Delhi then in Punjab now we’ll form government in Karnataka. Even in Karnataka, there will be a corruption-free government,” Kejriwal said addressing a rally here.
The Delhi Chief Minister claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given him certificate of ‘imandaar CM’.

“PM made the CBI raid my residence, officials entered my bedroom but they couldn’t find anything, eventually, PM gave me the certificate of ‘imandaar’ CM,” he said.

Kejriwal said a corruption-free government can offer several services for free to the people.

He talked about the AAP government’s work in education and healthcare and concessions to people in power, water and transportation. “This is because we are an honest government,” he said.

“Earlier hospitals and dispensaries were in a bad state in Delhi but now we have facilities that are equal to private hospitals. Government schools across the country are in a bad shape except in Delhi. Delhi’s government schools are better than private schools. The students got 99.7 per cent results. Government schools have got swimming pools and lifts, even private schools don’t have such facilities. What does the ‘aam aadmi’ want? They just need a good education”, he added.

The AAP leader said four lakh students came from private schools to government schools this year and “medical treatment for 2 crore people is free in Delhi”.

“Earlier, there were power cuts for eight hours, now people get electricity supply for 24 hours,” he said.

Farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar joined AAP during the rally.

Kejriwal said that the recent communal clashes across the country had “pained” him.

“Recent incidents in Delhi have pained me. Riots are happening all over the country. Who is behind it? The people in the country want peace. If you want riots, vote for them. If you want schools and hospitals, vote for us.”

Referring to the demonstration outside CM’s residence, Kejriwal said, “Some miscreants tried to barge into my house but at that time neither me nor my wife or children were there at home, only my parents were at home. However, they were welcomed to one party. All goons go to ‘one’ party.” (ANI)

CM Bhagwant Mann assures hassle-free wheat procurement in Punjab

Khanna (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann reviewed the wheat procurement at the Khanna grain market on Friday and assured all stakeholders, including farmers, of smooth, prompt and hassle-free wheat procurement.

While reviewing the ongoing wheat procurement operations at the market, he said detailed instructions have already been issued to officials of the Food and Civil Supplies department and heads of all the state procurement agencies would ensure timely payment besides immediate lifting.
The Chief Minister mentioned the delay in the arrival of wheat in mandis and stated that the product in some areas was comparatively less. He assured that every single grain of farmer’s produce would be procured by the government through its 2,262 mandis (1,862 permanent and 400 temporary).

“This year we are expecting the arrival of 135 lakh metric tons (MT) of wheat in the state, out of which around 97,000 (MT) would is expected in Khanna mandi alone and around 9.24 lakh MT in district Ludhiana” stated Mann.

The CM said that due to the Russia-Ukraine war, there would be an increase in demand for wheat globally, and this time, wheat was being purchased above the government fixed Minimum Support Price (MSP) by private traders. He said that after depositing tax in mandis, private traders can procure wheat from all mandis of the state with ease.

He also claimed that ‘payment is being transferred online to the bank accounts of farmers’ within 48 hours and he is personally monitoring the ongoing wheat procurement process.

He said that the “Ann Data” farmer would be properly taken care of in the mandis and clear instructions have already been passed to the concerned officials.

Mann also listed the facilities in the mandis for farmers including arrangements of potable drinking water, lights, sitting arrangements and toilets etc.

He also said that to ensure there is no arrival of wheat from other states, the state government is fully geared up and strict action would be taken against all officials or anyone allowing this corrupt practice. (ANI)

 

Haryana CM calls for resolving Chandigarh issue by ‘sitting together’

Karnal (Haryana) [India]: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday said that the Chandigarh issue is not something that can be “passed unilaterally in the Assembly” adding that it should be resolved by “sitting together”.

Taking a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab which recently passed a resolution reiterating the state’s claim on Chandigarh, Khattar said that “there must be a hidden agenda behind this”.
“Chandigarh issue should be resolved by sitting together, it’s not something that can be passed unilaterally in Assembly. They’ve (AAP) not been in power for 4 days and are raising these controversial issues; there must be a hidden agenda behind this,” Khattar said while speaking to the reporters here.

The Chief Minister stressed that Chandigarh will always be the capital of both Haryana and Punjab and said that the public will “see their (AAP’s) agenda.”

“The Punjab public will see their agenda. We will not let it reach its goal. Chandigarh was, is, and will be the capital of Haryana and Punjab,” he said.

Row over Chandigarh came to the fore after the Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution reiterating the state’s claim on Chandigarh. The move was made after the decision of the Central Government to implement Central Service Rules on Chandigarh employees.

Congress marked its entry into the row as it held a meeting of the Legislature Party at Haryana Bhawan in Delhi on Monday in which 24 MLAs were present.

“Today, in the CLP meeting, we discussed the resolution passed in Punjab Assembly regarding Chandigarh. We will oppose this resolution strongly because Chandigarh belongs to Haryana,” Hooda said after the meeting.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann last week moved a resolution in the assembly seeking the transfer of Chandigarh to the state. (ANI)

 

Chandigarh lifts all COVID-19 restrictions, no penalty for not wearing face mask in public places

Chandigarh [India]: Amid the continuous decline in COVID-19, the Chandigarh administration on Monday lifted all the remaining COVID-19 restrictions including the wearing of masks in public places.

As per the order, no penalty would be imposed for not wearing a face mask in public or workplaces from now onwards.
However, the administration advised people to adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour including wearing of face mask, hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing.

“The undersigned in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in my capacity as Chairperson, State Executive Committee, State Disaster Management Authority hereby withdraws all the remaining orders/guidelines issued under DM Act, 2005 with immediate effect. No penalty or fine shall be imposed for not wearing of face mask in public/work places. However, the general public is advised to adhere to COVID Appropriate behaviour including wearing of face mask, hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing,” the order reads.

Several states have lifted COVID-19 restrictions and made use of face masks optional in public places in view of the decline in COVID-19 cases across the country.

States which have removed mask mandate include Maharashtra, Delhi, and Telangana. (ANI)

 

Aam Aadmi Party wins Punjab: From now ‘Udta Punjab’ will be known as ‘Uthta Punjab’

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Aam Aadmi Party’s in charge of Punjab, Raghav Chadha on Thursday said Punjab will now no longer be known as ‘Udta Punjab’ (a reference to the drug menace) but as ‘Uthta Punjab’ (Awaking of Punjab residents) as early trends from the counting of votes by the Election Commission indicated a sweep for AAP in the state.

“Punjab will not be known as ‘Udta Punjab’ from now onwards, but ‘Uthta Punjab’,” said Chadha addressing party workers in Chandigarh.
Making a reference to Arvind Kejriwal’s performance in New Delhi in the field of education, Chaddha said “Other parties tried to defame us, called Arvind Kejriwal a terrorist, people proved he in not ‘atankwadi’ but a ‘shiksha-wadi’.

“Punjab has proven that it likes the Arvind Kejriwal-Bhagwant Mann pair and no other party’s pair,” he added.

Crediting the party workers for the performance of the party in the recently held Assembly polls in the state, the AAP leader said, “All the credit goes to AAP workers, they didn’t see day or night, summer or winter and continued working for the party. AAP will work for everybody progressively.”

According to Election Commission, AAP is leading on 90 seats in the 117 seat Punjab Assembly at 12:15 PM. This was followed by Congress (18) and Shiromani Akali Dal (6).

If AAP wins Punjab, it will be the party’s maiden victory in the state and a vast improvement from its performance in the 2017 elections when it had finished second behind Congress.

Congress went into the polls having battled factionalism and anti-incumbency. The party changed its chief minister in September last year even as new Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu hinted about his own chief ministerial ambitions. The Congress finally declared Charanjit Singh Channi, the first Dalit Chief Minister of Punjab, as its chief ministerial candidate days before the polling on February 20.

The Shiromani Akali Dal, which had broken off its alliance with BJP over three farm laws that were eventually repealed, tied up with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the assembly elections.

It is the first time that BJP has fought over 65 seats in Punjab. It tied up with former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and SAD (Sanyukt) led by SS Dhindsa. BJP leaders have talked of putting up a strong performance in the polls.

Punjab recorded an average voter turnout of 65.50 per cent on February 20 compared to over 77 per cent in 2017. (ANI)

IPL 2022: Mayank Agarwal will lead Punjab

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Punjab Kings (PBKS) head coach Anil Kumble on Monday said he believes the appointment of batter Mayank Agarwal as the captain, will give the franchise a successful campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2022.

PBKS on Monday announced that Mayank Agarwal will assume the role of captain of the team for the 15th edition of the tournament.
“Mayank has been an integral part of the side since 2018 and of the leadership group for the last two years. The new squad we selected at the recently concluded auction has exciting young talent and outstanding experienced players,” said Anil Kumble in an official release.

“We want to create a strong foundation for the future with Mayank at the helm. He is hardworking, enthusiastic, a team player with all the attributes required of a leader. I look forward to working with him as captain and believe that he will lead this team to a successful campaign,” he added.

In the mega auction, Punjab Kings bought the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow, Shahrukh Khan, and Kagiso Rabada.

Punjab Kings squad: Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Jonny Bairstow, Rahul Chahar, Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Porel, Liam Livingstone, Odean Smith, Sandeep Sharma, Raj Angad Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Prerak Mankad, Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell. (ANI)

BJP releases first list of 34 candidates for Punjab polls

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New Delhi [India] (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday announced its first list of 34 candidates for Punjab assembly polls.
Party general secretary Tarun Chugh said at a joint press conference here that 12 candidates in the list are from farmer families, eight tickets have been given to members from the Dalit community, and 13 candidates are from the Sikh community. “Tickets have been given to 12 candidates who belong to farmers’ families, 8 tickets to members of the SC community, 13 tickets to Sikhs. The list has doctors, lawyers, sportspersons, farmers, youth, women, and former IAS,” Chugh said.
BJP is fighting the polls in alliance with Punjab Lok Congress led by Capt Amarinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).
The BJP has fielded Arvind Khanna from Sangrur, Manoranjan Kalia from Jalandhar Central and Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi from Ferozepur City.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab BJP in-charge Dushyant Gautam were also present at the press conference. (Image source: Instagram)

People can chip in with their suggestions for AAP Punjab CM’s candidate by January 17, says Kejriwal

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] (ANI): Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) National Convener Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced that people can message and call on the number 70748 70748 to send their suggestions on who should be the Chief Ministerial candidate from AAP for the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls by January 17 till 5 pm.
He added that his personal choice regarding the Chief Ministerial face is not important, public choice is important. “This is happening in India, probably for the first time after 1947, a party is asking the public to tell us who should be the CM face. By calling, or through Whatsapp messaging on the number 70748 70748, you can give your suggestions by 5 pm on January 17. Based on the suggestions, we will choose our CM candidate. My personal choice is not important, public choice is important,” he said in a press conference in Chandigarh.
“Bhagwant Mann is very dear to me, he is like my younger brother, I was also sitting in the room saying that we should make Bhagwant Mann the Chief Ministerial candidate, but he said that no, we should ask people. This ritual of deciding the Chief Ministerial candidate in closed doors should be stopped,” Kejriwal said in a press conference in Chandigarh.
He further claimed, “AAP is emerging as the largest party in different surveys conducted to assess which party should win maximum votes in upcoming Punjab Assembly elections”.
“It is almost decided that AAP will come to power in Punjab. I want to request all my volunteers to give one last push. I want to request Punjab voters to give lots of votes. We should win seats above 80 instead of 60 seats,” he added.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab, he said, ” If AAP comes to power, then we will ensure the safety of Prime Minister as well as the safety of 3 crore people of Punjab”.
While Bhagwant Mann said, “the responsibility of the Chief Minister is a big responsibility. CM has to be involved in the sorrow and happiness of the people of the State, so we are issuing a number 70748 70748. You can tell your favourite CM face by calling or messaging on it. I am grateful to the party, even if my duty is to paste the posters, I will do that too, but the faith that CM sahib has placed in me is priceless”. (Image source: Instagram)

Hearing begins in SC on plea seeking probe into security lapses during PM Modi’s Punjab visit

New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court has started the hearing on the plea seeking an urgent judicial probe into the breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security during his visit to Punjab’s Ferozepur on Wednesday.
The plea alleges that PM’s security breach was a deliberate lapse on part of the State government and stern action should be taken against “erring” officials of Punjab government. Senior advocate Maninder Singh mentioned the matter on Thursday before the top court while terming it a serious lapse and sought a probe.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant, and Hima Kohli asked Singh, who was appearing for an organization, Lawyer’s Voice, which has filed the plea, to also serve a copy of the petition to the Punjab government.
Singh had said that it was a serious lapse on the part of the Punjab government to allow the PM’s cavalcade to be stranded on the road causing an unacceptable security breach.
CJI Ramana asked Singh about what he expected from the court and whether the alleged security lapse happened in Bathinda or Ferozepur.
Singh said the Prime Minister was scheduled to address a meeting in Ferozepur but the security lapse happened in Bathinda.
“Given the situation in Punjab, there should be a fair probe into the lapse and accountability be fixed so that such a situation does not arise again in future,” Singh told the apex court.
“The overall responsibility for ensuring the safety of the Prime Minster rests with the State government and the responsibility for providing proximate security will rest with the Special Protection Group (SPG) as per the SPG Act 1988. On the contrary, what was shocking and alarming on many levels was that local Police personnel on the spot were seen to be participating with the hooligans who jeopardized the security of the Prime Minister,” the plea stated.
It alleged that private persons were given access to the PM’s route, and others were instigated to join the blockade, which represents a serious and unpardonable breach of national security by the State apparatus and the political establishment of Punjab.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister, who was on his way for an election rally, was stopped on a flyover after his convoy was blocked.

Punjab’s best kept secret Thana-Dehrian-Kukanet Jungle Safari inaugurated

              

Hoshiarpur (Punjab) : Punjab Forest Minister S. Sangat Singh Giljian inaugurated the Nature Awareness Project at Thana Village. It includes 3 Lake facing Eco Tents, boating and Jungle safari gypsies.

This type of adventure based eco-tourism in the sub mountain ranges of district Hoshiarpur which borders Himachal Pradesh is one-of-its-kind. Punjab forest department has set up a camp namely Thana Nature retreat amid serene and secluded Thana and Dehrian forests overlooking Thana reservoir lake.
“This forest has a pristine beauty and the Thana Lakefront offers a picturesque view for nature lovers,” said Parveen Kumar IFS, PCCF (HOFF) Punjab. Forest minister S. Sangat Singh Giljian dedicated this project namely Thana Nature Retreat and Jungle Safari to the people of Punjab.

Urging people to visit this scenic nature retreat, Punjab Forest Minister S. Sangat Singh Giljian said, “I take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in making this nature awareness project a grand success. This place is truly a best kept secret which has the potential to become one of the most visited tourist spots of Punjab. Besides promoting eco-tourism, it will help in creating employment opportunities for the local people of Kandi area. Spending time in such a landscape which has an abundance of flora and fauna is innately rewarding as it has a soothing effect on our mind.”

The camp offers 3 all-weather tents with dining and restaurant facility to the visitors. The camp also offers a boat ride in the lake area of Thana dam. A dedicated jungle safari with off-road gypsies that started today connects Thana to Dehrian to Kukanet. It is pertinent to mention here that 7 km track from Thana to Dehrian offers the best ride through sand dunes and further 5 km from Dehrian to Kukanet through a steady stream of water which keeps flowing throughout the year. This stream has natural bamboo canopy on its sides. On the track it is common to spot caves of wild animals.

The nature trail near Dehrian also provides one of the best serene landscapes from the watchtower. “These facilities will boost the eco-tourism potential of this area and further enhance the economy of that area through employment opportunities,” said Dr Sanjeev Tiwari IFS, Conservator of Forest Hoshiarpur.

“Depending upon the demand of the visitors these facilities can further be enhanced and other wildlife rich areas like Takhni wildlife sanctuary can be made a corridor for the visitors,” said Amneet Singh IFS, DFO Hoshiarpur.

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

PM’s security breach: Punjab govt constitutes high-level committee to probe matter, report in 3 days

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: The Punjab government has constituted a high-level committee to probe the security lapses that occurred during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ferozepur. The committee will submit its report in three days.
An official spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office on Thursday said that the committee would comprise Justice (Retd) Mehtab Singh Gill and Principal Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice Anurag Verma. “The committee shall submit its report within three days,” added the spokesperson.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Ferozepur on Wednesday to lay the foundation stone of multiple development projects worth more than Rs 42,750 crore.
The Home Ministry said in a statement that PM Modi landed at Bathinda on Wednesday morning from where he was to go to the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter. Due to rain and poor visibility, the Prime Minister waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear out.
The statement said that when the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the National Martyrs Memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. The Prime Minister proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police.
Around 30 km away from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when the Prime Minister’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protesters.
The Prime Minister was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes.”This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab Government. As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready,” the statement said. “Also in view of the contingency plan, the Punjab Government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which were clearly not deployed. After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda Airport,” it added.
It said only Punjab police knew the precise route of the PM and “never has such police behaviour been witnessed”.The Home Ministry has taken cognizance of the “serious security lapse” and has sought a detailed report from the Punjab government. The state government has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action.

Will convert temporary sanitation workers into permanent employees if AAP wins in Punjab, says Kejriwal

Amritsar (Punjab) [India]: On the occasion of New Year, Delhi Chief Minister and National Convener of Aam Aadmi Party Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday promised that if the AAP is able to win the Punjab Assembly elections then the party would make temporary sanitation workers into permanent ones.
He added that all the facilities will be given to sanitation workers and sewer cleaning machines would be provided to them so that they don’t have to use their hands. “If our government is formed in Punjab, then we will make temporary sanitation workers permanent and all facilities will be given to them. We will give machines to those who go to sewer and clean them by hand so that they can do their business,” said Kejriwal in a press conference.
“Better education will be provided to all the children who come from Scheduled Caste families,” he also promised during the press conference.
“Babasaheb gave huge importance to education. He was born in a poor family, still, he had obtained two PhDs abroad by taking a scholarship. His dream was that every child of the country should get the best education, however, today even after 70 years of independence, the Dalit community is still not getting a good education,” he stated.
“People of Dalit society are forced to send their children to government schools, the condition of which is bad. Just like we made government schools wonderful in Delhi, the same way, we wish to improve the government schools in Punjab too. If we form a government in Punjab, we will give the best education to the SC community. This will give them equal rights,” he further stated.
Punjab is slated to go to assembly polls early this year.

Delhi: Punjab teachers hold protest outside Rahul Gandhi’s residence over pay scale

New Delhi [India]: Teachers from Punjab staged a protest outside Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi over the pay scale issue.
The protest was called off after Rahul Gandhi’s representative Harshvardhan met the protestors and assured them that their demands will be met and sought a time for three days.
Speaking to ANI, Kamal Thakur, president, ETT TET Pass Union said, “Rahul Gandhi’s representative Harshvardhan came to meet us and mentioned that he has already spoken to Punjab Education Minister Pargat Singh and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal. We have been told that our demands will be met in the next 2-3 days. I also spoke about the code of conduct that can be implemented anytime in Punjab and our demands should not just be mere words. He had assured us and said he has come on behalf of Rahul Gandhi. He had promised justice will be served to us.”

Thakur said he has faith in Rahul Gandhi that he will give 180 teachers their rights.
“If our demands are not met, all the ETT teachers will gather here. We have come here with Gandhi’s ideology, with a flower in hand. We did not even raise any kind of slogan against the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi or the Delhi administration because we have come here with hope and now we will see how much Rahul Gandhi can live up to the trust of 180 people. If our work is not done in the next three days, then on the fourth day, you will be seeing all of us here again. We are right now calling off our protest,” Thakur said.
About 180 regular ETT teachers out of 4,500 ETT teachers recruited in 2016 by the Punjab government and are forced to accept Central Pay Scale after regular services of complete five years.

Former international cricketer Dinesh Mongia joins BJP, ahead of Punjab polls

New Delhi [India]: Former cricketer Dinesh Mongia on Tuesday joined Bharatiya Janata Party, kickstart his political innings.
Mongia, 44, took the primary membership of the ruling party at the Centre at a function here in the national capital. The former left-hand batsman who played limited over internationals for India hails from Punjab, where Assembly polls are set to be held early next year.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years.
Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117 member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Punjab polls: 22 farmer unions float political party named ‘Samyukt Samaj Morcha’

Chandigarh [India]: Around 22 farmer unions have formed a new political party named ‘Samyukt Samaj Morcha’ which will make its electoral debut in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said that there is a need to change the system and we want to appeal to people to support this morcha. “A new ‘Samyukta Samaj Morcha’ is formed for contesting Punjab Assembly elections. 22 unions have taken this decision. We need to change the system and want to appeal to people to support this morcha,” said Rajewal.
Earlier, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni had also announced the launch of his new party, ‘Sanyukt Sangharsh Party’. He had alleged that the policymakers are promoting capitalism, hence, he is forming a new party to help the common people and the poor.
On November 2, former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh resigned from the Congress party and announced a new party Punjab Lok Congress ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections.
Punjab assembly polls will be held in 2022.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Rahul Gandhi chairs crucial meet on Punjab assembly polls

New Delhi [India]: Ahead of the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met state Congress in-charge Harish Chaudhary and party leader Ajay Maken on Tuesday at his residence in the national capital.
Denying the buzz of several Congress leaders joining the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Chaudhary said that not a single Congress leader joined the BJP. “First, find out who is spreading such information. No one from Congress will join any other party or BJP, in fact, many people want to join Congress said senior Congress leader,” he said.
Reacting to Congress MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi joining the BJP, Chaudhary said, “Rana Gurmeet Sodhi has left Congress as the party was not able to give him ticket from where he wanted.”

He further said that the BJP’s political management will not work in Punjab at all.
“BJP will not succeed. We will get more seats than the previous election this time,” he added.
According to sources, the Punjab Congress Campaign Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday in Delhi and after that Screening Committee meeting will also be held.
Punjab assembly polls are scheduled to be held in 2022.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The SAD could manage to win only 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Punjab to set up General Caste Commission

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday said that a General Caste Commission is being set up in the state.
“Punjab Government has taken a major decision. A General Caste Commission is being set up in the state. The decision will be passed by the State Cabinet day after tomorrow,” said Punjab CM. Earlier on Tuesday, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister gave the approval to upgrade 229 schools to different levels in the state.
With this decision, 46 elementary schools will be upgraded to middle schools, 100 middle to high schools and 83 high to senior secondary schools.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), the move is aimed to obviate the students from the hardships of travelling long distances to continue their further studies, which causes them inconvenience and even leads their dropping out of schools.
Notably, the government has been receiving numerous requests from various Gram Panchayats and Councillors of Municipal Town to redress this issue.

Hockey National C’ship: Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi register win on Day 3

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Delhi earned victories in their respective matches on Day 3 of the 11th Hockey India senior men National Championship in Pimpri Chinchwad 2021 here on Monday.
In the day’s opener, Karnataka beat Le Puducherry 4-0 in Pool C. Goals for Karnataka were scored by Harish Mutagar (5′), S Deekshith P (25′), Shamanth CS (40′) and Pavan Madivalar (49′). With this, stay on top of the table with a perfect record. In Pool C’s second game of the day Jammu and Kashmir beat Arunachal 10-3 in a high scoring encounter. A hat trick by Jasprit Singh (13′, 19′, 33′, 44′) and a brace each by Karanjit Singh (16′, 26′) and Manpreet Singh (42′, 59′) consolidated the victory.
Sandeep Singh (21′) and Hussain Mohd Dar (56′) also got a goal each for Jammu & Kashmir. Goals for Hockey Arunachal were scored by Sandeep (30′, 33′) and Ucha Singh (22′).
Punjab trounced Andhra Pradesh 7-1 in their Pool D encounter. Punjab started their onslaught early, with captain Rupinder Pal Singh slotting home a PC as early as the 2nd minute of the game.
From thereon, goals by Lovepreet Jainth (5′), Ranjot Singh (19′), Sudarshan Singh (29′, 55′), Parampreet Singh (40′) and Sankalp Singh (42′) ensured they secured the three points. Hockey Andhra Pradesh’s solitary goal was scored by Venkata Sree Aripineni Balaji in the 26th minute.
In Pool E, Chandigarh took on Manipur in the highlight game of the day — a battle among equals. After a goalless two quarters, where both sides defended resolutely, calling their keepers into action more than once, the game hung on a knife edge.
It was Chandigarh that broke the deadlock in the third quarter, Amandeep finishing off a sweeping move in the 42nd minute to give them the lead. It was a lead they hung on to, despite a flood of Manipur pressure to secure three points and jump to top of the group.
In Pool E’s second game, Rajasthan overwhelmed Tripura to win 18-0. A double hat trick by Vijendra Singh (25′, 28′, 40′, 48′, 50′, 57′) was the highlight of a game where eight Rajasthan players got goals.
Shyam Singh Chouhan (14′, 52′, 53′, 58′), Hashanpreet Singh (12′, 45′), Karanjot Singh Mann (16′, 44′), Captain Chandransh Sharma (34′), Akhtar Shoyab Qureshi (39′), Chetan Kalot (43′) and Amit Kumar Saini (59′) were among the goalscorers as Rajasthan took three points.
Delhi and Madhya Pradesh played out a back and forth encounter in Pool B in the final game of the day, Delhi edging out the points, winning 3-2.
In the frenetic encounter, it was Madhya Pradesh who struck first, Shaun Glen Gladwin scoring in the 19th minute to give them the lead. From there though Delhi took control of the game, Dheeraj Vats (29′) and Mohammad Altaf (48′) to give them the lead.
Delhi held on to their slender lead for a majority of the final quarter, but with two minutes to go, Ayush Pethe struck the equalizer, and at that point it looked the two would share the spoils. But there was enough time for one last twist, as Delhi pushed for the winner, and in the 60th minute Braj Gopal finished off a sublime move to give his team the victory, and the three points.
Andaman and Nicobar forfeit their Pool D game against Uttarakhand who were awarded a 5-0 win by default.

BSF jurisdiction: Sidhu lauds Punjab govt’s decision to approach SC

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: After the Punjab government has approached the Supreme Court against the Centre’s recent notification extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 to 50km, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu congratulated the government and its legal team on Saturday.
Sidhu tweeted, “I congratulate Punjab and it’s legal team to be the 1st to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court by filing an original suit challenging the notification extending the BSF jurisdiction.” He further tweeted, “The fight to retain the principles embodied in the constitution i.e. to retain the federal structure and autonomy of the states has begun … Notice issued to the centre to respond.”
Punjab and West Bengal governments had crossed swords with the Centre over the extension of BSF jurisdiction from 15 km from the international border to 50 km.
The suit was listed before the Registrar on Friday who issued notice to the Centre. The matter will come up before a top court Bench after four weeks.

Mob tortures man to death in Pak’s Punjab for alleged blasphemy

Punjab [Pakistan]: In yet another case of alleged blasphemy, a mob in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Friday tortured a man to death before burning his body.
A large contingent of police has been sent to the city of Sialkot to bring the situation under control what is being deemed as a case of alleged blasphemy. The incident took place in the Wazirabad Road area. Reportedly, the workers of private factories attacked the export manager of a factory and burnt his body after killing him, Dawn newspaper reported.
Several videos doing rounds on the internet showed scores of men gathered at the site. People can be heard chanting slogans of “Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah” in some of the videos.
Police said the victim has been identified as a Sri Lankan national. They added that other details would be shared with the media after the initial probe.
Punjab Province’s Chief Minister Usman Buzdar termed this incident as “very tragic”. “Every aspect of the incident should be investigated and a report should be submitted. Action should be taken against those who take the law into their own hands,” Buzdar was quoted as saying by Dawn.
This comes as the increasing cases of blasphemy in Pakistan continue to be a cause of concern for rights activists.
Pakistan has registered thousands of blasphemy cases, which are mostly against religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims from 1987 till today, according to several reports by rights groups.
A large number of these blasphemy cases in Pakistan are still awaiting justice.

Rahul Gandhi asks Punjab leadership to focus on upcoming assembly elections, stay united

New Delhi [India]: Ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday held a high-level meeting at his Delhi residence to address internal issues of the state’s party unit.
Gandhi, according to sources, asked the state leadership to focus on the upcoming elections and to unitedly fight the assembly elections in Punjab. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and former Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar attended the meeting.
As per the sources, Sunil Jakhar had also met Rahul Gandhi separately for almost an hour and expressed his views regarding the infighting in Punjab Congress.
The former Congress president had also met each leader individually. Gandhi’s meeting with Punjab CM Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu lasted for almost four hours.
Punjab is scheduled to go to Assembly polls in 2022.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years.
Aam Aadmi Party had emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Arvind Kejriwal to attend AAP’s ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in Punjab’s Pathankot tomorrow

Pathankot (Punjab) [India]: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will visit poll-bound Punjab to attend the party’s ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in Pathankot on Thursday.
Kejriwal will be accompanied by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia who is already on a five-day visit to Punjab. The AAP chief has been frequently visiting Punjab ahead of the 2022 assembly election. In the last two months, this will be his sixth visit to the poll-bound state.
Punjab Assembly elections have been scheduled to take place early next year.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Delhi Education Minister releases list of 250 govt-run schools, challenges his Punjab counterpart to release the same

New Delhi [India]: As the debate between the Education Ministers of Delhi and Punjab over schools, quality of education in their respective states continues, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday released a list of 250 Delhi-government run schools in the national capital and challenged his Punjab counterpart Pargat Singh to release a list of 250 schools run by his government.
“It is a matter of happiness that the issue of education has become a part of electoral politics and whatever has happened in Delhi government schools during the last five to six years has forced other political parties to talk about education as well. When Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal talked about education in Punjab, the education minister Pargat Singh said that no work in education had taken place in Delhi but a lot of work has taken place in his state. I am releasing a list of 250 schools run by the Delhi government which have witnessed the most improvement. I humbly challenge the Punjab education minister to release a list of 250 schools run by his government, in which work has been done on infrastructure and reformation of education, results have improved and students are qualifying for NEET and JEE. I invite him to visit our schools. Let the public decide which model is the best,” he said while addressing a press conference. “The list of schools I have released are the ones where most improvements have taken place. All of these schools are upto the 12th standard. A lot of work has been done on the infrastructure, results have improved, teachers are receiving their training from abroad,” he added.
Sisodia asserted that the students of schools run by his government have been outperforming the ones in private schools for the last 4 years and said that many students from the government schools are qualifying for NEET, JEE and even clearing such examinations.
“These schools include from where 15-20 and sometimes 50 children have qualified for NEET this year. 500 children have qualified for JEE Advanced, while 70 have cleared it, earning a direct entry to IITs,” he added.
Both ministers have been involved in a war of words on Twitter regarding education in their respective states.
“@ArvindKejriwal ji, there is already a revolution going in education in Punjab. It is another matter that you missed it. It is understandable for a Delhiite whose interest in Punjab is aroused only around elections. #EducationRevolutionInPunjab,” Singh had tweeted.
“I’d like to invite Hon. Education Min. of Punjab @PargatSOfficial to jointly visit 10 Delhi Govt schools which we have reformed in last 5 years and 10 Punjab govt schools which his Govt has reformed in 5 years. Then let’s have a public debate on the edu models of Delhi and Punjab,” Sisodia had said responding to Singh’s tweet.
Singh responded to Sisodia’s tweet saying, “I welcome the Hon. edu. Minister of Delhi Sh.@msisodia’s suggestion to compare Punjab govt schools with Delhi Schools. However, We will take 250 schools each of Punjab and Delhi instead of 10 schools. #EducationRevolutionInPuniab.”
Punjab is scheduled to go for Assembly polls in 2022.
Responding to the leak of question paper of UPTET examination, Sisodia remarked, “This is the education model of Uttar Pradesh. They (Uttar Pradesh government) had stopped me from going to see a school.”
The UPTET 2021 examination scheduled to be held on Sunday was cancelled due to an alleged paper leak. Basic Education Minister Dr Satish Dwivedi said that the case will be investigated by Special Task Force (STF).”The paper leak of the UPTET 2021 exam will be conducted by UP STF. Uttar Pradesh government will soon conduct the exam within a month,” Dwivedi said.
Meanwhile, At least 23 people have been arrested in connection with the paper leak of the UPTET 2021 examination.
Questioned on the precautionary measures taken to combat a possible arrival of a new COVID-19 variant Omicron, Sisodia said that an important high-level meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is scheduled for Monday and all concerned authorities have been placed on a high alert.
“I will also request people to avoid gatherings, avoid overcrowding without need. If anyone gets infected with the new variant, then it will be difficult,” he added.

Arvind Kejriwal challenges Punjab CM to show around 1,000 electricity bills with zero amount

Mohali (Punjab) [India]: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convener Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday hit out at Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi over his announcement of free electricity to the state and challenged him to show around 1,000 electricity bills with zero amount.
Addressing a public gathering in Punjab’s Mohali district today, Kejriwal said, “I made an announcement of providing free electricity to Punjab if AAP government comes to power. Channi also said that the electricity has been made free in Punjab.” “I ask you (people) if you all have access to free electricity? Who all have received the electricity bill with zero amount? I challenge Punjab Chief Minister that just show me around 1,000 electricity bill with zero amount bill as evidence,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal who is also Delhi Chief Minister said that the AAP government in the national capital has provided free electricity to around 70-75 per cent of people.
“Today I have come with proof, I have one lakh electricity bills with zero amount. Last month, out of a total of 50 lakhs families, around 35 lakh families received zero amount bill,” he added.
Kejriwal also said that Punjab people are happy with AAP because they have seen the improvement in Delhi. “In Delhi, there is access to electricity round the clock. I promise that if AAP comes to power in Punjab, we will provide around 300 units free to people here which means free electricity to around 80 per cent of the state population,” he further said.
Earlier in June this year, Kejriwal during his visit to Punjab ahead of assembly elections promised to waive off all pending domestic electricity bills, 300 units of free electricity, and restorative of the electricity connection.
“We will do three major works here (Punjab). First, we will provide 300 units of free electricity to every family. Second, all pending domestic electricity bills will be waived off and the connection of people will be restored. Third, a 24-hour electricity supply will be provided,” he said.
Punjab Assembly elections have been scheduled to take place early next year.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Manish Sisodia likely to address ‘important’ press conference in Delhi today

New Delhi [India]: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is likely to address an important press conference on Saturday.
According to sources, Sisodia will address the press conference at 12.30 pm on Saturday from party headquarters in New Delhi. Meanwhile, sources have also informed the senior Congress leader from Delhi, Mukesh Goel is likely to join AAP on Saturday.
Notably, AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will visit Chandigarh in Punjab on Saturday to express support to protesting teachers in Mohali.

Arvind Kejriwal promises to give Rs 1,000 monthly to every woman in Punjab if AAP forms govt in state

Amritsar (Punjab) [India]: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that the party will give Rs 1,000 per month to every woman in Punjab above 18 years of age if it forms the government after upcoming assembly elections in the state.
Addressing a party programme in Moga city of Punjab today, Kejriwal said, “If we form the government in Punjab in 2022, then we will give every woman of the state, who is above 18 years of age, Rs 1,000 per month. If a family has three female members then each will get Rs 1,000.” Kejriwal calls this announcement “world’s biggest women empowerment programme”.
He further said that “one fake Kejriwal” is roaming in Punjab. “In Punjab, a fake Kejriwal is roaming. Whatever I promise here, he repeats the same. In the entire country, only one man, Kejriwal, can bring down your electricity bill to zero. So beware of that fake Kejriwal,” he added.
In view of the 2022 assembly elections, Kejriwal began his two-day visit to Punjab to launch his Mission Punjab.
While addressing media in Amritsar, Kejriwal said that he will visit Ludhiana where he will talk to auto drivers.
On Tuesday, Kejriwal will attend the party’s program after addressing a press conference in Amritsar.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years.
Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured three seats.

“Delayed but welcome step”

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday said that the Centre’s decision to repeal all three farm laws is delayed but is a welcome step.
Blaming the Centre for “thrusting” the farm laws on the farmers the Chief Minister in an official statement said, “The BJP led Central government should admit on record to have made a Himalayan blunder in bringing these bills for which it hardly bothered to even relent for the past one and half years.” The Chief Minister said that incidents like Lakhimpur Kheri in UP, which happened during the struggle “has put a slur on the fair name of democracy and the people will never forgive BJP led Central government for its misdeeds.”
Pointing out further, Channi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should compensate the farmers adequately “for the humungous losses of life and property suffered by them.”
Likewise, he also sought compensation for the state on account of financial and property losses during the Kisan Morcha.
He further said that the state government has already provided government jobs to the victim families of farmers besides financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to each family of the deceased farmer, who lost their lives in the farm agitation.
CM Channi also asked the Prime Minister to immediately announce a financial package to relieve farmers and labourers reeling under the burden of debt.
He also asked the Centre to make its stand “crystal clear” on Minimum Support Price and public procurement of farmers’ crops.
CM Channi, while describing it as a victory of people, said that this decision is the outcome of the long and zealous struggle of the farmers and will be scripted in golden words in annals of history.
CM Channi further said that he had himself prevailed upon the Prime Minister to take these laws back during his meeting with him at his office.

Punjab Assembly polls: ‘The Great Khali’ meets Arvind Kejriwal; extends support to AAP

New Delhi [India]: Professional wrestler Dalip Singh Rana, popularly known by his ring name ‘The Great Khali’ met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday and extended his support to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The Wrestler expressed his appreciation for the work done by the Chief Minister Kejriwal-led government in the fields of education, health, water, and electricity, among others. The meeting comes ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections which are scheduled to take place next year.
As per an official statement, Khali informed the Chief Minister how he was “smitten by the development that has taken place in Delhi under his leadership”. He said that he is willing to support the Kejriwal government in whatever way possible for the betterment of society.
“Khali talked at length with Kejriwal about the kind of changes he has seen in Delhi over the years in the field of education, health, water, and electricity. He drew comparisons of the model of development of Delhi with that of the rest of the country and stated how proud he felt to see such work take place in the national capital,” the statement said.
While in conversation with the Chief Minister, Khali also expressed his raging concerns over the difficulties faced by young sportspersons in his home state of Punjab, added the statement.
Upon hearing this, the CM apprised him of the concept of the ‘Play and Progress Scheme and Sports Policies’ of Delhi, wherein the Delhi government provides support to athletes.
”Delhi Government has started a scheme, ‘Play and Progress’, in which financial assistance is provided to the school level sportspersons. This aid is provided so they can receive training and groom their talent for participation at a higher level of competition. Keeping in view of the performance, we provide financial assistance of an amount of Rs 3 lacs as per the Play and Progress Scheme, so that their requirements for nutrition, sports equipment, kits can be fulfilled,” said Kejriwal.
”The assistance may further be provided to them in subsequent years, which will be evaluated on a yearly basis. Similarly, the amount is increased to provide support to older players of the 15 to 18-year-old category, along with special provisions for those players who have done really well at the international stage,” he added.
Khali also explained to the Chief Minister the woes of the Punjab region in the context of the drug menace among the youth
“He said that the youth of the state fall into the clutches of the drug mafia after being lured into consuming illegal substances. He added that the state lacked the infrastructure to overcome the problem,” added the statement.

Centre should discuss Punjab affairs with state government or all political parties, not just BJP, says AAP

New Delhi [India]: After a Punjab BJP delegation went to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the reopening of the Kartarpur corridor and other issues, the Aam Aadmi Party said that all parties should have been part of the delegation or the state government should have held these talks.
“The affairs of Punjab should be discussed with the state government or with all political parties of the state. It is meaningless to discuss the issues with a number of elected MLAs or leaders and especially those whom the people of Punjab do not allow to enter their villages. It is dishonesty. It is a part of the election strategy,” AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told ANI. “There are elections in Punjab within the next three months. the Prime Minister’s Office will try to save its credibility in those elections,” he added.
Reacting to Sonu Sood’s recent announcement that his sister would be joining politics, he said, “Sonu Sood remained in the headlines during Corona. He did a lot of work for the migrants. If his sister wants to join politics, then it is her personal matter. The leadership of Punjab will decide whether she will contest from the Aam Aadmi Party or not. He is the brand ambassador of the Delhi government’s mentor program in the country, and we have benefited greatly from his arrival.”
Reacting to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s BJP JAM vs SP JAM statement, Bhardwaj said, “As we have seen in Bihar and Bengal, in every state where the BJP contests, the real issues are made to disappear before the election, and by using such frivolous discourse, the election narrative is made light and ugly. BJP would like such issues to dominate, but I think the main issues should not go astray. Akhilesh Yadav too should not let them go astray.”
“I understand the ideology of the BJP. They are actually changing the names which come from Persian or from Urdu. He changed the name of Mughalsarai, changed the name of Allahabad. I was looking on Google that the word Shah is a Persian word. The kings of Iran used to use it. Today big leaders of BJP put Shah with their name. This name is not of Indian culture. I am ready to have a debate on this,” he added.
Earlier today, ahead of the 2022 assembly polls, Punjab BJP leaders on Sunday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital.
As per party sources, many important issues like farmers’ protests, upcoming assembly polls, and Kartarpur Corridor were to be discussed in the meeting.
Earlier on November 7, Ashwani Sharma said that the party will contest all 117 seats in Punjab in the upcoming Assembly elections.
Earlier on Saturday, Union Minister Amit Shah made an interesting wordplay to distinguish the present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government from the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) regime in Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a public rally here, Shah said that while government ushered in a positive ‘JAM’ that is J for Jan Dhan account, A for Aadhar Card, M for mobile phones, the SP had riled the state with another JAM – J for ‘Jinnah, A for ‘Azam Khan’ and M for ‘Mukhtar’.

Punjab govt to give Rs 2 lakh as compensation to 83 people held for R-day tractor rally

Chandigarh [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday announced to provide Rs 2 lakh as compensation to 83 people arrested by Delhi Police for carrying out a tractor rally in the national capital on January 26.

“Reiterating my government’s stand to support the ongoing Farmers’ Protest against three black farm laws, we have decided to give Rs 2 lakh compensation to 83 people arrested by Delhi Police for carrying out a tractor rally in the national capital on January 26,” Channi tweeted.
On January 26, protesters broke barricades to enter New Delhi and clashed with police in several parts of the national capital during the January 26 ‘tractor rally’ protest organised by farmers.

The protestors also had entered the iconic Mughal era monument Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains. (ANI)

Punjab govt approves State Sand and Gravel Mining Policy 2021

Chandigarh[India]: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday approved the State Sand and Gravel Mining Policy, 2021 to provide sand and gravel at Rs 5.50/ cubic feet across the state.
According to the release issued by Chief Minister Office, the sand and gravel shall be provided to the public at Rs 5.50/ cubic feet at mining sites including loading charges and the royalty rate of ordinary clay and ordinary earth shall be decreased from Rs 10 per ton to Rs 2.5 per ton in the public interest. As per the new policy, the landowner or possessor can dispose of ordinary earth extracted or removed during the levelling of their agriculture fields up to 3-feet.
“Removal of any minor mineral by the landowner or panchayat is allowed for meeting their land-filling requirements and for their bonafide requirements including religious and development activities,” the release said.
Further, it said that these activities do not require any rent, royalty or permit fee and no permit is required. These activities shall not be hindered by the officials and contractors without any valid reason and disciplinary action shall be initiated if any official or contractor is found guilty.
The statement further stated that the publicity shall be done for the information of the public at large through mass media, notice boards at pit head of the mine sites, Government Offices and its premises to ensure that no one charges rates more than the prescribed ones.
“In case of any violation by the concessionaire, strict action will be taken as per rules,” the statement added.
It also said that a toll-free number shall be made available to the consumers to register their complaint regarding rates if ever charged more than prescribed ones.

Navjot Sidhu gets his way in Punjab

Chandigarh [Punjab] : After days of a bitter battle with Chief Minister Charanjit Singh, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wish has prevailed with the CM accepting the resignation of Advocate General APS Deol. Navjot Sidhu has been questioning Deol’s appointment ever since he was given the charge of Punjab Advocate General. Deol was a counsel for former director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini in the 2015 post sacrilege police firing incidents. Last week, Deol had attacked Sidhu accusing him of obstructing the functioning of the state government and his office as well as “spreading misinformation to gain political advantage”. “Navjot Singh Sidhu is obstructing the functioning of the government and the office of the advocate general. He is spreading misinformation to gain political advantage over his political colleagues,” Deol alleged.

“There is a concerted attempt by vested interests to malign the functioning of the Congress party in view of coming elections in Punjab for their selfish political gain by politicking the constitutional office of the Advocate General of Punjab,” he added. Deol’s remarks came a day after Sidhu withdrew his resignation as Punjab Congress chief but declared that he will not re-assume charge till Deol is removed as AG and a panel set up for the appointment of the new director general of police (DGP). Sidhu had resigned as Punjab Congress chief on September 28.

‘BJP doing cheap politics’

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India] : Amid opposition-ruled states constantly drawing criticism from BJP leaders for not reducing excise on fuel prices, Trinamool Congress (TMC) general secretary Kunal Ghosh on Saturday accused the BJP of indulging in “cheap politics” and said that the Centre should reduce base prices and restructure taxation.
“Centre takes more tax-share than the state can afford to compensate the deficit of BJP-ruled states,” Ghosh alleged while speaking to ANI here today. “BJP is doing cheap politics. They should reduce base prices and restructure taxation,” he said while adding that the non-BJP states don’t even get their original dues.
Ghosh’s remarks came after the Government of India, on the eve of Diwali, had announced reduction of central excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10 respectively.
As per the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, following the reduction, 23 states/UTs also undertook a commensurate reduction of VAT on Petrol and Diesel to give relief to consumers.
However, there are 13 States/UTs which have not undertaken any reduction in VAT in Petrol and Diesel.
These are Maharashtra, NCT of Delhi, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Punjab and Rajasthan.
As per the ministry, the most reduction in the Petrol prices has been in UT of Ladakh, followed by Karnataka and Puducherry. The prices of petrol in these UTs/states have come down by Rs 13.43, Rs 13.35 and Rs12.85, respectively, it stated.
According to the ministry, for Diesel, the most reduction has been undertaken by UT of Ladakh, leading to price coming down by Rs 19.61 per litre there, followed by Karnataka and Puducherry.

“No differences with CM Channi”

Chandigarh [India]: Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday said that he does not have any differences with Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and will work for his party’s win with a majority in the upcoming state Assembly elections.
Addressing a press conference here today, Sidhu, who had tendered resignation from his Punjab chief post on September 28 this year, announced that he has taken back his resignation. “I have been meeting him (CM) for a long time. I have been speaking to him for the last one month. The first meeting was in Punjab Bhavan, at that time it was decided that the panel (on DGP) will come and in one-week things will be settled. It is a 90 days government, 50 days have gone,” he said.
“There’s nothing personal. I speak to him for the state. I speak to him for all the good that can be done for the state. I have no differences with Charanjit Channi, not at all. Whatever I do is for Punjab. I stand for Punjab. Punjab is my soul. That’s the goal,” he added.
On September 28, Sidhu resigned as the chief of the Punjab Unit of Congress. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after the Cabinet expansion in Punjab.
Speaking further, the Congress leader said: “During the last 4.5 years, I have raised many issues such as liquor, buses, etc. The CM had centralised power but didn’t take any action. I don’t have any greed for a post but I only fight for Punjab’s people’s rights. I will make Congress win 80-100 seats in 2022 polls.”
Sidhu was appointed as the president of the Punjab Congress on July 23 this year following months of turmoil in the state Congress unit. He was apparently appointed against the wishes of then Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Amarinder Singh had in September stepped down as the chief minister and recently tendered his resignation from the primary membership of Congress which has also been accepted by party interim chief Sonia Gandhi. The former chief minister has launched a new party ‘Punjab Lok Congress’.
Asked if Congress will rope Prashant Kishore as a political strategist for the 2022 Punjab assembly elections, Sidhu said: “It is the decision of the party, if CM says, they will decide on it.”
Congress is planning to re-rope Prashant Kishore as a political strategist for the 2022 Punjab assembly elections.
The revelation was made by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi during a meeting with party MLAs in the state on Tuesday evening.
In a video of the meeting, Channi could be heard saying that Congress in-charge Harish Chaudhary has told him that “Prashant Kishore is likely to be introduced as a Political Strategist for Punjab Assembly Elections 2022.”
Elections to 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly are scheduled to be held next year. In 2017 Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.

Sidhu takes back his resignation

Chandigarh [India] : Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday informed that he has taken back his resignation as the president of the party’s Punjab unit.
“I have taken back my resignation (as Punjab Congress chief) and I categorically state that the day new Advocate General will be appointed and a new panel will come, I will take charge of my office. It was not any personal ego,” Sidhu said while addressing a press conference here. On September 28, Sidhu resigned as the chief of the Punjab Unit of Congress. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after the Cabinet expansion in Punjab.
He was appointed as the president of the Punjab Congress on July 23 this year following months of turmoil in the state Congress unit.
After the tussle in Punjab Congress between Sidhu and Captain Amarinder Singh escalated in August, the party had appointed Sidhu as the Congress chief apparently against the wishes of then Chief Minister.
Amarinder Singh had in September stepped down as the chief minister and recently tendered his resignation from the primary membership of Congress which has also been accepted by party interim chief Sonia Gandhi. The former chief minister has launched a new party ‘Punjab Lok Congress’.

Amarinder Singh resigns from Congress

Patiala (Punjab) [India]: Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh resigned from the Congress party and announced a new party ‘Punjab Lok Congress’ ahead of Punjab Assembly elections.
“I have today sent my resignation to @INCIndia President Ms Sonia Gandhi ji, listing my reasons for the resignation. ‘Punjab Lok Congress’ is the name of the new party. The registration is pending approval with the @ECISVEEP. The party symbol will be approved later,” Amarinder Singh tweeted. Singh had resigned in September as the chief minister and had announced that he will be quitting the Congress after months of a rift with Congress state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
He had resigned ahead of Congress legislature party meeting which was called amid unending factional battles in the ruling Congress in the state. Singh was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief minister of the state.

Pakistan: Sindh’s economy stagnant in comparison to Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Karachi [Pakistan]: Compared to Pakistan’s provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the economy of Sindh has remained stagnant and it has regressed in certain key sectors, such as public transport and provision of safe drinking water.
“No one can contest the widening development gap between Sindh and Punjab. The biggest province has its own set of problems, but there has been for sure an incremental pace of development irrespective of the government in power for the past 40 years. It can’t be an accident that most social indicators in Sindh are trailing those in Punjab,” said an observer who rued the removal of Hyderabad and Sukkur from the list of 10 biggest cities of Pakistan, reported Dawn. With such a sharp difference of opinion, where does one draw the line as a performance marker for Sindh?
Playing down the absence of credible data on the state of the provincial economy, officials blamed the federal government of Imran Khan, reported Dawn.
“With deep ethnic divisions in society, Sindh is not an easy province to govern. There are a host of factors holding Sindh back, but the federal government’s hostility and interference aggravate the situation. Besides, the slow and insufficient federal transfer of funds to Sindh disrupts the provincial government’s plans and projects,” a senior officer argued anonymously.
During the first three-and-a-half months of the ongoing fiscal, Sindh received about nine per cent less than the committed funds from the federal government, reported Dawn.
According to details, gleaned from the updated official documents available with Dawn, Sindh received Rs 230.1 billion till October 15 against the proportionate transfer target of Rs 253.6 billion, posting a shortfall of Rs 23.5 billion. In 2021-22 the federal government has committed to transfer Rs 869.6 billion to the province.
In the July-Sept quarter, Sindh spent Rs 234 billion of its annual budget of Rs 1.6 trillion. It spent Rs 191 billion of a total Rs 1.13 trillion on account of recurring expenditure, and Rs 43 billion of the Rs 516 billion annual development budget, reported Dawn.
Moreover, the observers and businessmen in urban Sindh, not particularly fond of the ruling party (Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah), were confused by the government’s handling of the health challenge.
“It is baffling that a team with the proven capability of managing natural calamities fails so miserably in fulfilling its basic responsibility of providing basic amenities to the people,” many of them argued.
In a private conversation a while back, Shah stressed that there was a huge scope to improve the quality of public service delivery and the accessibility of civic amenities. He simply smiled when asked what was stopping him, reported Dawn.

Will hold seat-sharing talks with BJP soon, says Captain Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday reiterated that he will soon launch his own party and hold talks for seat-sharing with Bharatiya Janata Party for the upcoming state Assembly polls.
“I will soon launch my own party and will hold talks for seat-sharing with BJP, breakaway Akali factions and others for Punjab elections once farmers’ issue is resolved. I want to build a strong collective force in the interest of Punjab and its farmers,” Captain Amarinder Singh said today. Earlier on Saturday, Singh’s media advisor Raveen Thukral refuted the reports of backend talks with Congress.
“Reports of backend talks with Congress are incorrect. The time for rapprochement is over. I am grateful to Sonia Gandhi ji for her support but will not stay in Congress now,” Thukral quoted Captain Amarinder Singh as saying.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had pulled out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in September last year over the farm bills with the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the post of Union Minister of Food Processing Industries. Following this, SAD and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in June this year formed an alliance to contest the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections together.
Earlier this week, Captain Amarinder Singh while addressing the media had also announced that he is forming a new political party, name and symbol of which will be shared once cleared by the Election Commission.
Singh had resigned last month as the chief minister and had announced that he will be quitting the Congress after months of a rift with Congress state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
He had resigned ahead of Congress legislature party meeting which was called amid unending factional battles in the ruling Congress in the state. Singh was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief minister of the state.

‘Amarinder, loyal CM of BJP’

Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday hit out at former Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh calling him a loyal Chief Minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Chandigarh [India] : “We the 78 MLAs of Congress, could never imagine, what we received an arm-twisted, ED controlled BJP loyal Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh… who sold the interests of Punjab to save his skin! You were the negative force stalling Justice & development of Punjab,” Sidhu said in a tweet. Sidhu also mentioned the defeat Amarinder Singh’s party faced after he broke away from the Akali Dal in 1992 and formed a new political party.
“You wanted to close doors on me, as I was raising voice of the People, speaking truth to power! Last time you formed your own party, you lost your ballot, garnering only 856 votes … People of Punjab are again waiting to punish you for compromising on the interests of Punjab !!, “Sidhu tweeted.
The tweets came at the time when Amarinder Singh was holding a press conference in Chandigarh to announce a new political party and to share the achievements of his government.
Reacting to Sidhu’s tweets, Singh said, “He knows nothing, talks too much and doesn’t have brains.”
The former chief minister at the press conference announced that he is forming a new political party, the name and symbol of which will be shared once cleared by the Election Commission.
Singh resigned last month as the chief minister and had announced that he will be quitting the Congress after months of rift with Congress state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
He had resigned ahead of Congress legislature party meeting which was called amid unending factional battles in the ruling Congress in the state. Singh was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief minister of the state.

Punjab : New party

Chandigarh [India] : Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain (retired) Amarinder Singh announced on Wednesday that he will soon share the name and symbol of his new party once it is confirmed by the Election Commission.
“Yes, I will be forming a new party. The name will be announced once the Election Commission clears it, along with the symbol. My lawyers are working on it,” Singh said in Chandigarh. Amarinder Singh addressed the press conference sharing the details of the achievements of his 4.5 years of government in Punjab.
Earlier, Amarinder Singh media advisor Raveen Thukral had announced through a series of Tweets, former Punjab Chief Minister will launch a party of his own.
In the tweets earlier, Singh had also claimed that his new political outfit might form an alliance with the BJP too if the issues of farmer protest are resolved in the interest of farmers.
Singh resigned last month as the chief minister and had announced that he will be quitting the Congress after months of rift with Congress state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
He had resigned ahead of Congress legislature party meeting which was called amid unending factional battles in the ruling Congress in the state. Singh was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief minister of the state.

Amarinder Singh backs BSF’s jurisdiction extension in Punjab; set to meet Amit Shah tomorrow

Former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Wednesday, reiterated his support to the Centre’s decision to enhance the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab, and said the purpose of the Central paramilitary force is to secure international borders and not take over the state government.
“They (BSF) are here to secure our borders not take over the government. Nobody is taking over the state,” said the former Chief Minister. Captain further said that the “payloads and range of drones” coming in from Pakistan are increasing and Punjab Police need help from “specialised agencies” to deal with the situation.
“First drown came 1.5 years back. They used to drop payloads only across the river. Then they started coming 7-8 km inside the border. The last information I have is that they have come 31 km into the border. Range and payloads are increasing,” said Captain Amarinder Singh.
“The BSF is not going to take care of state security, they will track drones that are extending their capacity. The Punjab Police is a trained force and but they are not trained for handling drones or cross border smuggling,” added Singh.
Captain Amarinder Singh also shared his plan of paying a visit to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday to discuss various issues including farmers’ protests.
“Tomorrow we are taking some people with us, around 25-30 people, and we will be meeting the Home Minister,” said former Congress leader.
The Centre through a notification has empowered the Border Security Force (BSF) to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) in five states–including Punjab– along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
Captain while addressing the media also announced that he is forming a new political party, name and symbol of which will be shared once cleared by the Election Commission.
Singh resigned last month as the chief minister and had announced that he will be quitting the Congress after months of a rift with Congress state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
He had resigned ahead of Congress legislature party meeting which was called amid unending factional battles in the ruling Congress in the state. Singh was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief minister of the state.

“No Cong MLA will join”

Amritsar (Punjab) [India]: Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu on Tuesday expressed confidence that no Congress MLA will join Capt Amarinder Singh’s party except those who might have got favours from him.
“I don’t think any Congress MLA will leave and join Singh’s party. If he gave favours to anyone then they might go,” she said. When asked about former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s new political party, the Congress leader said, “People who are attached to the party will never go.”
She took a dig at the former chief minister, saying that despite getting all the freedom from the Congress, Singh did not entrust any worker with some power.
“He was given all freedom by the party but he didn’t give power to any worker, never openly met any minister or MLA. Who will trust him?” she asked.
Navjot Kaur said, “It would’ve been best for him if he had joined Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). It would’ve laid people’s suspicion to rest and he would’ve been able to win a few seats.”
Earlier this month, it was learnt that Singh will launch a new political party to fight the forthcoming assembly polls in the state and hopes for a tie-up with BJP if the ongoing protest by farmer unions against three farm laws is resolved “in farmers’ interest”.
In a series of tweets by his media advisor Raveen Thukral, the former chief minister said he is looking at an alliance with like-minded parties such as breakaway Akali groups, “particularly Dhindsa and Brahmpura factions.”

Attack on Kashmiri students

The Jammu and Kashmir Students Association on Monday condemned the attack on over a dozen Kashmiri students by students from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in Sanguru Punjab and Kharar Mohali after the India-Pakistan match, said a press release from the Association.

New Delhi [India] : In a statement, spokesperson of the Association Nasir Khuehami urged Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to take action against the accused and provide security to Kashmiri students studying and working in Punjab state. He said students were mercilessly thrashed and punched on their faces. They were beaten to pulp by other state students who barged in their rooms, thrashed them, vandalised their rooms and damaged belongings.
The spokesperson said that these incidents have increased the sense of insecurity and anxiety among Kashmiri students as well as among their parents and relatives in Kashmir.
He called upon the state and the Jammu and Kashmir government to take effective measures to prevent such happenings and address the waning sense of security among the Kashmiri students and workers living in India. Ideally, support for a particular team should not be tagged to someone’s politics or ideology. Let sports remain what it is meant to be. Cricket after all is a gentleman’s game, he emphasised.
The association has taken up the matter with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, after which a senior police official from J&K spoke to DGP Punjab. They said they have taken full measures to protect all students from Kashmir and also take steps to see that the relationship between Kashmiri students and others remains cordial, he added.
He said that Association has been continuously requesting students to stay away from crowded gatherings and enjoy the game in silence. The Punjab incident is deplorable and could have been avoided by just keeping emotions in check. Sportsmanship is what Virat Kohli taught us in yesterday’s game.
National General Secretary of the Association Younus Rashid said that Association demands probe and immediate arrest of all those involved in the assault on Kashmiri students and ensure adequate arrangements for the safety, security of the students. The attack on Kashmiri students is a worrying factor for the students, youth who are working in different parts of India and parents. “We demand punishment and arrest for the elements involved in beating and harassing the Kashmiri students,” he said.
He said all Kashmiri students pursuing studies outside in Indian states should please be patient and keep calm and control emotions. They should remain calm and save their careers, instead of getting provoked. Students should avoid debates and not involve themselves in the mess. Their life, career and wellbeing is more important than any game and they should not give anybody a chance to ruin their career just for sake of a game. Students should enjoy the game with the true spirit of a sportsman. They should not write provocative things on social media that add fuel to the fire. “We again request the students to maintain silence and enjoy the ongoing T20 World Cup,” he added.
Younus said that SSP Sangrur Swapan Sharma sadi tension was simmering right during the match and it crossed its limit at the end of the game, and both parties indulged in a scuffle, as was reported to him by the other party.
The latest is that the two parties have apologised to each other after the intervention of the concerned SSP. However, Kashmiri students as of now say, they don’t want to file any police report citing that both the groups have their careers ahead, the SSP said.
“Thrashing students is an unfortunate part and against the spirit of the game. We can understand that fans are emotionally connected to this game but beating Kashmiri students can’t help us to change the results of the game,” Younus added.

CM reiterates support for farmers

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] : Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Saturday reiterated his support to the farmers who have been protesting for a year against the three farm laws enacted by the Union Government.
An official statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) stated that while his cavalcade was passing through Ropar-Chamkaur Sahib Road, the Chief Minister sighted the farmers sitting on dharna at a toll plaza near village Jhallian. Immediately asking the security to stop, CM Channi straight away went to the site of the dharna and expressed complete solidarity with the farmers, reiterated his vociferous support to the just struggle being waged by the farming community, said the statement. The Chief Minister said that the Punjab government stands shoulder to shoulder with the farmers against these draconian farm laws.
“We are duty-bound to safeguard the interests of the farmers and would continue to wholeheartedly extend support to your agitation until the anti-farmer agricultural laws are done away with,”, assured the Chief Minister.
Pointing out further, the Chief Minister said that the three agriculture black laws are the culmination of the conspiracy to subjugate India’s farmers for the advantage of a handful of crony capitalist friends of the Modi government.

“Congress damaged own interests by not trusting me”

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] : Hitting back at Congress leader Harish Rawat, former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting him and giving Punjab Congress into the hands of “an unstable person like Navjot Singh Sidhu”.
Amarinder Singh, who has indicated his willingness to ally with BJP in the forthcoming Punjab assembly polls, also hit out at Harish Rawat for questioning his secular credentials. In tweets made by Raveen Thukral, his media advisor, the former Chief Minister said Sidhu, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole and Telangana Congress chief had come to Congress from BJP and Congress was in power in Maharashtra in alliance with Shiv Sena, an erstwhile ally of BJP.
Amarinder Singh had resigned last month as chief minister and stated that the party leadership had let him down.
He said on Thursday that Sidhu, who had been made party chief in Punjab, “was only loyal to himself”.
“You’re apprehension I’ll damage Congress interests in Punjab. Fact is @harishrawatcmuk ji, the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting me and giving @INCPunjab into the hands of an unstable person like @sherryontopp who’s only loyal to himself’: @capt_amarinder,” Thukral said in a tweet, quoting Amarinder Singh.
The former chief minister said he had been fighting court cases against Badals for the last 10 years.
“Today you’re accusing me of helping my rival @Akali_Dal_for 4 and a half years @harishrawatcmukji. Is that why you think I’ve been fighting court cases against them for the last 10 years? And why I’ve won @INCIndia all elections in Punjab since 2017? @capt_amarinder,” Thukral said.
“And what are you doing with @ShivsenaComms in Maharashtra? Or are you saying @harishrawatcmuk Ji that it’s ok to join forces with so-called communal parties as long as it suits @INCIndia purpose. What’s this if not sheer political opportunism?’: @capt_amarinder.
“Stop talking about secularism @harishrawatcmuk ji. Don’t forget @INCIndia took in @sherryontopp after he was with @BJP4India for 14 years. And where did Nana Patole and Revnath Reddy come from if not RSS? And Pargat Singh was with @Akali_Dal_for 4 years!’: @capt_amarinder,” he added.
Harish Rawat, who is a Congress general secretary and party’s Punjab in-charge, had said on Wednesday that the former Chief Minister has killed “secular Amarinder” within him.
“If he (Amarinder Singh) wants to eat crow and go with BJP, he can. Who can stop him if he can’t stay with his old commitment to secularism? He was considered a symbol of “Sarvdharm Sambhav” and was connected to Congress’ traditions for a long time. If he wants to go, he should,” Rawat had said.
Amarinder Singh had announced on Tuesday that he will launch a new political party soon to fight the forthcoming assembly polls in the state and is hopeful of a tie-up with BJP if the ongoing protest by farmer unions against three farm laws is resolved “in farmers’ interest”.
Assembly elections in Punjab are scheduled to be held next year.

BSF Recovers Arms & Drugs

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] : Border Security Force (BSF) in a joint search operation with the team of Punjab Police on Tuesday recovered a bag containing arms and drugs from the Khemkaran area in Ferozepur district of Punjab.
As per a press release issued by BSF on Wednesday, 22 pistols including five pistols made in Pakistan and China, 44 Pistol Magazines, 100 Rds ammunition, 934 grams of heroin, 72 grams of opium were recovered from the bag. “It appears that few pistols are locally manufactured in Pakistan. However, apart from the above markings, no marking/details of the manufacturing Company were found engraved on the pistols,” read the release.
A case has been registered against the unknown person under NDPS Act, Arms Act and Foreigners Act and recovered items were handed over to Punjab Police, Amritsar.
More details are awaited.

Punjab: Cash rewards for 3000 players, coaches

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Sports Minister Pargat Singh on Monday approved the cash prize to the players and coaches hailing from the state who performed exceedingly well at the state, national and international level.

According to a statement issued by the Punjab government today, a total of over 3000 players would be given prize money amounting to Rs 11 crores for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
The decision was taken here in a meeting held at Punjab Bhawan summoned under the aegis of the Sports Minister. The meeting was attended by Secretary Sports Ajoy Sharma, Director Parminder Singh, Secretary-General Punjab Olympic Association Raja KS Sidhu, Sports expert and Committee Member Arjuna Awardee Colonel Balbir Singh and Jaipal Singh apart from Deputy Director Sports Authority of India.

After the meeting, Pargat Singh said that the State Government is committed to rewarding the players winning medals in various sports till the International level with the cash prizes as per the Sports policy, as per the statement.

He also mentioned that these awards lying dormant for 2 years would be given within one month and the list of players and coaches would be finalized in few days.

The Sports Minister directed the department that no player who has earned laurels for Punjab, should be left behind with regard to receiving the cash prize.

Giving details, he said that more than 1000 players, as well as coaches, would be the recipient of cash prizes while for the year 2019-20, more than 2000 players and Coaches would receive the honours.

In another decision, Pargat Singh decided to summon the meeting of awardees and ex Olympians belonging to Punjab in which the issues afflicting them would be thoroughly discussed and suggestions taken to create a congenial atmosphere for sports.

In the same vein, a meeting would also be held with the Punjab Olympic Association to have more robust coordination with the other sports associations. (ANI)

Punjab : Water BIlls Waived

Ahead of Punjab Assembly polls, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi-led government on Monday announced fixed the monthly water consumption fee to Rs 50 across rural and urban parts of the state.

Chandigarh [India] : Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting here, the Punjab Chief Minister announced the previous outstanding water bills worth Rs 700 crores to be waived in the state. “The government is committed to providing free water and sewerage facility to people of Punjab. Rs 50 fee has been fixed as per Centre’s directive to charge for these services,” said Channi.
“The government will also waive the power bill arrears of tube wells meant for public water supply in urban and rural areas. In future, the power bills of such tube wells will be paid by the Punjab government,” he added.
The Chief Minister announced that government will do regular recruitment of class 4 employees instead of engaging them on a contractual basis.
The government also announced that it will oppose the Centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of Border Security Forces (BSF) in the state.
“I wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in this regard (BSF jurisdiction extension). This is an issue of Punjab’s rights. We will also call an all-party meeting if necessary,” he said.

Sidhu meets Rahul Gandhi, withdraws resignation as Punjab Congress chief

Rawat also claimed that Sidhu will consider the party high command’s decision to be final.

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday reached the national capital at the residence of senior leader Rahul Gandhi to meet him, after which AICC General Secretary Harish Rawat announced that Sidhu has withdrawn his resignation as Chief of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. The move comes one day after Rawat’s statement that a big decision is upcoming in the Punjab Congress politics.

Earlier today, Rawat had claimed that Sidhu will consider the party high command’s decision to be final. “Sidhu has said that his leaders are Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and he will follow whatever they say and will continue working for the party”, Rawat had told the media.

On Thursday, Rawat had met Sidhu along with General Secretary KC Venugopal at the AICC headquarters in Delhi. He then said that the high command will take a decision pertaining to the party’s organisational matters in the state today. 

Meeting Sidhu in Delhi, who earlier resigned as Punjab Congress Committee Chief earlier amid power tussle with Captain Amarinder Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi being appointed as new CM, other issues, senior party leader Harish Rawat said, “he (Sidhu remains) chief of Punjab Congress.” Sidhu’s resignation has not been accepted by the party so far.

However, speaking to India TV, Harish Rawat denied that he said Sidhu remains to be PPCC chief. Rawat explained what he meant was that Sidhu should do his work with full strength as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and strengthen the organizational structure.

“The entire picture will be clear by tomorrow… Sidhu has said that whatever decision high command will take would be acceptable to him… his message is loud and clear,” Harish Rawat told reporters.

everything has been sorted out : Sidhu

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu after meeting party leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that “everything has been sorted out.”
“I shared all my concerns with Rahul Gandhi. Everything has been sorted out,” said Sidhu while speaking to reporters after meeting Rahul Gandhi. The meeting was also attended by AICC in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat.
“He (Sidhu) shared his concerns with Rahul Gandhi. We have told him that his concerns will be taken care of here. He assured Rahul Gandhi that he has withdrawn his resignation and he will resume his duties as the PCC president,” Rawat told reporters here.
The meeting of the two leaders came at a time when Sidhu’s rebellious attitude towards the recently appointed Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is quite visible.
Sidhu who is in the national capital had also met Congress in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat and party general secretary KC Venugopal on Thursday.
Sidhu had tendered his resignation as Punjab Congress chief on September 28. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after Cabinet expansion in Punjab. But his resignation was not accepted by the party.
According to sources in the party, the high command was not happy with the resignation of Sidhu and no such meeting with central leadership happened after his resignation.
Sidhu, after his resignation, had said he will always stand by party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.

“Surrendered half of Punjab..”

New Delhi [India] : Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and Spokesperson Raghav Chaddha on Friday alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has surrendered half of the state to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
His remarks come after the Centre empowered the Border Security Force (BSF) to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from International Border (IB) along India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders through an order on Wednesday. “Channi has surrendered half of Punjab to the Prime Minister. Let’s understand the chronology. On October 1, Channi met PM Modi. Then on October 4 and 5, he met the BJP-appointed Punjab governor and Union Home Minister Amit Shah respectively. On October 14, the Modi government passed an order giving more jurisdiction to the BSF in border states. Channi surrendered 50 per cent of Punjab and 100 per cent of federalism to Modi. Now, 12 districts of Punjab are in full control or are almost in control of the Centre,” he said.
He questioned CM Channi that, “What kind of deal was struck between you and the Prime Minister?”
He called the centre’s move a ‘direct attack on federalism’.
“We (AAP) condemn this order by Centre, we won’t let this happen in Punjab. Does the centre doubt the state administration, police and the patriotism of Punjabis?. There is nobody as patriotic as Punjabis. The centre can arrest anyone in the areas under BSF jurisdiction, they can make seizures and carry out preventive arrests as well. We are afraid that this order could be misused to terrorise, divide and polarise the people of the state and to terrorise the farmers as well,” he added.
As per the fresh order, the BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to fifteen kilometres in the states of Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, has now been authorised to spread its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or further permission either from central or state governments.
However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states– Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya– where it had jurisdiction up to 80 km. Similarly in Gujarat, the BSF’s jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km.
In Rajasthan, the BSF’s area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km.
He further alleged that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was indirectly trying to control non-BJP ruled states.
“BJP has realised that they cannot form a government in Punjab so they have resorted to destroying the federal structure of this country wherever they feel that the chances of forming a government are bleak,” he said.
He expressed that the matter was about national politics, saying, ‘If it was truly about the national security, why the area under the jurisdiction of BSF was not increased in a BJP-ruled Gujarat where the 3,000 kg heroin was captured from a port. It is certainly about national politics.”
He said that the Centre had tried to interfere in the federal structure of governance in Delhi as well, but they could not succeed.
“It is because we do not have Channi. We have Arvind Kejriwal who fights for the people of Delhi. That is why, the federal structure in Delhi is intact and the vote of Delhi citizens still has a value,” he added.

‘Direct attack on federalism’

Chandigarh (Punjab): Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday condemned the Centre’s decision to extend the Border Security Force (BSF)’s jurisdiction over a wider area along the borders of three states and said that it is a “direct attack on federalism”.

Channi requested the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately roll back this irrational decision.
“I strongly condemn the GoI’s unilateral decision to give additional powers to BSF within the 50 km belt running along the international borders, which is a direct attack on federalism. I urge the Union Home Minister @AmitShah to immediately roll back this irrational decision,” tweeted Channi.

Punjab Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has termed the Centre’s recent decision of allowing more jurisdiction to the Border Security Force (BSF) in border areas as an attempt to “weaken the spirit of federalism”.

Channi’s predecessor Captain Amarinder Singh who had to resign as Punjab chief minister amidst tensions within the Congress has however approved of the Centre’s move.

“Our soldiers are being killed in Kashmir. We’re seeing more and more weapons and drugs being pushed by Pakistan-backed terrorists into Punjab. BSF’s enhanced presence and powers will only make us stronger. Let’s not drag central armed forces into politics,” Singh tweeted.

Former Punjab Congress President Sunil Jhakkar also took a dig at the chief minister when he put out a tweet stating that Channi had unwittingly managed to hand over half of Punjab to Central government.

“Be careful what you ask for! Has (Punjab CM) Charanjit Singh Channi unwittingly managed to hand over half of Punjab to Central govt. 25,000sq km (out of total 50,000sq km) has now been placed under BSF jurisdiction. Punjab Police stands castigated. Do we still want more autonomy from the States?”

In a move aimed at maintaining “zero tolerance” against terrorism and cross border crimes, the Centre has empowered the BSF to conduct searches, arrest suspects and make seizures up to an area of 50 km inside Indian territory from the International Border (IB) along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.

As per the fresh order, the BSF, which was only empowered to take action up to fifteen kilometres in the states of Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, has now been authorised to spread its jurisdiction up to 50 km without any hurdle or further permission either from central or state governments.

However, its jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in the five northeastern states– Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya– where it had jurisdiction up to 80 km. Similarly in Gujarat, the BSF’s jurisdiction has been curtailed from 80 to 50 km.

In Rajasthan, the BSF’s area of jurisdiction will remain the same at 50 km. An officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of member of the BSF is now empowered under the CrPC to exercise and discharge the powers and duties without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant.

The officer is now empowered to arrest any person who has been concerned in any cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received. A BSF officer has now been given the power to conduct a search of a place entered by a person sought to be arrested in its new area of jurisdiction. (ANI)

CM meets family of soldiers

Rupnagar (Punjab) [India], October 13 : Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday met the family of Sepoy Gajjan Singh, who was killed by terrorists during an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch.


Taking to Twitter, “Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi sharing the grief with the family members of Martyr Sepoy Gajjan Singh, who attained martyrdom in Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir) fighting terrorists, at his village Pachranda, Nurpur Bedi, District Rupnagar.” Earlier on Monday, one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and four jawans of the Indian Army had lost their lives during a counter-terror operation at Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch. Among the soldiers who lost their lives were–Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh, Naik Mandeep Singh, Sepoys Gajjan Singh, Saraj Singh, and Vaisakh H.
Punjab government on Monday announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 50 lakh and a government job to one member each of the bereaved families of the three soldiers–Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh Sena Medal, Naik Mandeep Singh and Sepoy Gajjan Singh,– who lost their lives in a gunfight with the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch sector, informed the Chief Minister’s Office.

Kejriwal promises to end ‘inspector raj’

Jalandhar (Punjab) [India] : Ahead of Punjab Assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener on Wednesday promised that if his party comes to power it will end “red-tapism” and “inspector raj” in the state.
The Delhi CM, while interacting with traders and industrialists in Jalandhar, said, “Old laws will be changed, unnecessary laws will be scrapped. A system will be built wherein existing industries need not waste time over govt, you will invest your time in your business. Red tapism and inspector raj will end.” Kejriwal further said, “If there is an honest CM and cabinet at the top then I can challenge that the entire structure below will be alright. We have done this in Delhi.”

‘Punjab: Looming power crisis’

Punjab Pradesh Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said that Punjab should prepare for the looming power crisis due to shortage of coal in power plants and prevent it.

Chandigarh [India], October 10 : He also demanded that private thermal plants flouting guidelines by not keeping coal stock for the stipulated time should be penalised. “Punjab must prevent and prepare, rather than repent and repair… Private thermal plants flouting guidelines, punishing domestic consumers by not keeping coal stock for 30 days should be penalised,” Sidhu tweeted.
Talking about the alternative to coal for power generation, he said it is time to aggressively work on the solar electricity models.
“It is time to aggressively work on solar PPAs, and roof-top solar connected to the Grid,” said Sidhu in his tweet.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Saturday asked the central government to immediately enhance State’s coal supply as per quota to tide over the power crisis with the impending shutdown of its thermal plants due to fast depleting coal reserves which are likely to be exhausted within the next couple of days.
Other states like Chhattisgarh and Delhi have also raised the issue of coal shortage in the last couple of days.
In Delhi, amid the possibility of a power blackout in the national capital, the officials of Delhi’s Power Ministry, BSES and Tata power reached the residence of Union Power Minister RK Singh on Sunday for a meeting over coal shortage at power plants. (

Punjab CM Channi asks Centre to enhance state’s coal supply as per quota to tide over power crisis

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] : Slamming the Centre for inadequate coal supply against the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL)’s agreements with various subsidiaries of the Coal India Ltd (CIL), the Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Saturday asked it to immediately enhance State’s coal supply as per quota to tide over power crisis with the impending shutdown of its thermal plants due to fast depleting coal reserves which are likely to exhaust within next couple of days.
Reviewing the power situation amid the alleged shortage of coal supply in the state, the Chief Minister said that all the thermal plants are unable to generate the full capacity of power due to insufficient coal receipt. However, he reiterated his government’s firm commitment to give power supply for irrigation of paddy crop where necessary at the fag end of crop yield. He, however, said that power cuts on domestic consumers in cities and villages are being imposed to ensure sufficient supply to the agriculture sector as well as to maintain grid discipline.
Earlier, the Chairperson-cum-Managing Director A Venu Prasad apprised the Chief Minister that the thermal plants throughout the country are reeling under coal shortages and coal supplies crisis.
Within the state, Independent Power Producer (IPP) plants are left with less than two days of coal, that is, NPL (1.9 days), TSPL (1.3 days), GVK (0.6) days and it is on a decreasing trend as coal supply by Coal India Limited (a Government of India undertaking) is not as per requirements, an official statement by the Chief Minister’s office said.
“PSPCL plants, that is, GGSSTP and GHTP also have just two days of coal stock reduction. Coal to all these plants is supplied by various coal India subsidiaries as per Fuel Supply Agreements of these plants with them but presently receipt is much below the required level,” further read the statement.

Paddy area in Punjab, Haryana, UP comes down by 7.72 pc

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change on Friday informed that the total paddy area in the states of Punjab, Haryana, and eight National Capital Region (NCR) districts of Uttar Pradesh have come down by 7.72 per cent this year as compared to the last year.

New Delhi [India], October 8 : The ministry, in a press release, said, “The paddy areas have come down by 7.72 per cent during the current year as compared to last year.” “Total paddy straw generation from the non-basmati variety is likely to be reduced by 12.42 per cent during the current year as compared to the previous year,” the ministry added.
Both the Central and the state governments of Haryana, Punjab, and UP have been taking measures to diversify crops as well as to reduce the use of the PUSA-44 variety of paddy.
The burning of paddy straw from the non-basmati variety of crops is the prime concern. Crop diversification and moving away from PUSA-44 variety with short duration High Yielding Varieties are part of the framework and action plan for control of stubble burning.
As per data received from the state governments of Haryana, Punjab, and UP, the total amount of paddy straw generated will come down this year.
Significantly a figurative overview says of the total paddy straw generation is likely to come down by 1.31 million tonnes (from 20.05 million tonnes in 2020 to 18.74 million tonnes in 2021) in Punjab; by 0.8 million tonnes (from 7.6 million tonnes in 2020 to 6.8 million tonnes in 2021) in Haryana and; by 0.09 million tonnes (from 0.75 million tonnes in 2020 to 0.67 million tonnes in 2021) in the eight NCR districts of UP this year.
The total quantity of straw generated by the respective states was 28.4 million tonnes in 2020 which is now expected to come down to 26.21 million tonnes in 2021.
The decrease in non-basmati variety is expected to be even higher.
As per recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of the Government of India, Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) had actively pursued with state governments for promotion of the same.
Apart from this, the Crop Diversification Programs are also being implemented in the states of Punjab and Haryana along with the NCR Districts of UP to divert the area of water-guzzling paddy to alternate crops.

Punjab gets bureaucratic reshuffle

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: The Punjab government on Wednesday carried out a bureaucratic reshuffle and transferred 12 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and five Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officers.
As per the official order of the government, the 12 IAS officers who are transferred to new postings are Ravneet Kaur, Vijay Kumar Janjua, A Venu Prasad, Alok Shekhar, Vikas Garg, Veerendra Kumar Meena, Arun Sekhri, Pradeep Kumar Agrawal, Vinay Bublani, Sanjay Popli, B Srinivasan and Uma Shankar Gupta. Anmol Singh Dhaliwal, Jyoti Bala, Manjit Singh Cheema, Mankanwal Singh Chahal and Ravinder Singh Arora are the five PCS officers who have been transferred as a part of the bureaucratic reshuffle.
The order has been signed by the Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab Anirudh Tewari.
Previously, on October 4, in a major bureaucratic reshuffle, the Punjab government issued the transfer orders of 24 IAS and 12 PCS officers.

Punjab CM Channi meets Amit Shah in Delhi; farms laws, Lakhimpur Kheri issues on agenda

New Delhi [India]: The meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is underway at the latter’s residence in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The Punjab Chief Minister reached the national capital in wake of the violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri in which four people lost their lives including four farmers. “These three farm laws should be repealed at the earliest and incidents like this (Lakhimpur Kheri) need to be stopped. I will discuss this issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in today’s meeting,” Channi told media persons, before leaving for Delhi.
As many as eight people died in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident on Sunday, said Uttar Pradesh police. Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of several farmer unions, had alleged four farmers lost their lives in the incident.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of several farmer unions, alleged that Ashish Mishra Teni, son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni had arrived in a convoy on three vehicles around the time that farmers were dispersing from their protest at the helipad and mowed down farmers and towards the end also attacked SKM leader Tajinder Singh Virk directly, by trying to run a vehicle over him.
Refuting SKM’s allegations, MoS Teni said that his son was not present at the spot, adding that some miscreants merged with protesting farmers and pelted the stones on the car which lead to the “unfortunate incident”.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the three enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.

Punjab govt starts paddy procurement

Ludhiana (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Food, Civil and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Industry Minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli on Sunday started the paddy procurement in Asia’s biggest grain market at Khanna in Ludhiana.
As per a press release issued by District Public Relation Officer (DPRO), the cabinet ministers during their visit said that elaborate arrangements have been made by the state government to make sure that every single grain of paddy is procured and lifted without any sort of delay. The ministers asked the officers of all procurement agencies, Mandi Board and district administrations in all the state to ensure timely payment of the produce to the farmers.
They also informed that the arrangements for saving produce from rain or showers are already in place and the facilities of power, sheds for the farmers, portable water supply and equipment to monitor the quality of paddy have also been provided in each procurement centre.
“The paddy has been cultivated on around 2.57 lakh hectares in Ludhiana and around 17.53 lakh MT of paddy is expected to arrive in the grain markets. Apart from 108 regular grain markets in Ludhiana, the 94 temporary yards and 203 mandi yards in mills have also been identified to decongest the grain markets,” the ministers stated.
They said that the state government has already evolved a viable mechanism for lifting grains within 48 hours of the procurement and also thanked Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for raising the issue with the Prime Minister after which the Central government allowed procurement from October 3.
The ministers further said that the department has already started a campaign against malpractice of bogus billing and several teams have been formed to nab the culprits.
Earlier, the ministers also held a meeting with the arhtiyas in the office of Market Commitee Khanna.
The central government had postponed the purchase of paddy in Punjab and Haryana from October 1 to October 11.
But amid protests in Punjab and Haryana over the delay in paddy procurement, MoS Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Saturday informed that the procurement will start from today in both states.

Heroin worth Rs 30 cr seized from Pak drug smuggler

Six packets of heroin were recovered from the possession of the smuggler, identified as Kashi Ali.

New Delhi, India, October 3 : The Border Security Force arrested a Pakistani smuggler was arrested near border fencing in Rajatal in Punjab’s Amritsar on Saturday late night.

Six packets of heroin were recovered from the possession of the smuggler, identified as Kashi Ali.

“We have recovered 6 packets of heroin & arrested a Pakistani smuggler, Kashi Ali near border fencing in Rajatal, Amritsar, Punjab last night. The packets were kept in a bag having Pakistani marking, ” Bhupinder Singh, DIG, BSF told media.

These 6 packets of heroin weigh around 6.3 kg. The cost of the drug is said to be around 30 crores globally.

“Will stand by Rahul, Priyanka”

New Delhi [India]: Amidst political jostling in ruling Congress in Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), stressed that he does not aspire to be at a throne and will stand by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
While extending his greetings on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Sidhu tweeted, “Will uphold principles of Gandhi Ji and Shastri Ji … Post or No Post, will stand by @RahulGandhi and @priyankagandhi! Let all negative forces try to defeat me, but with every ounce of positive energy will make Punjab win, Punjabiyat (Universal Brotherhood) win and every Punjabi win !!” On September 28, Sidhu resigned as the chief of the Punjab Unit of Congress. However, party sources say that his resignation has not been accepted yet.
“The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab. Therefore, I hereby resign as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress,” Sidhu said in his letter after resigning.
Sidhu was appointed as the President of PPCC on July 23 following months of turmoil in the state Congress unit.
This came as a big blow to the Congress high command that was hoping to resolve the turmoil in the Congress unit of Punjab ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.
After the tussle in Punjab Congress between Sidhu and Captain Amarinder Singh escalated in August, the party had appointed Sidhu as the Congress chief apparently against the wishes of then Chief Minister.

“Comedy of errors”: Captain on Congress crisis

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday slammed the Congress over the preposterous lies being floated by various party leaders in a clear bid to cover up their mishandling of the crisis in the state.
Pointing to the conflicting numbers shared by Harish Rawat and Randeep Surjewala on the purported letter received by the party’s central leadership expressing lack of confidence against him, Captain Amarinder termed it a “comedy of errors”. His remarks came after Surjewala claimed that 78 of the 79 Punjab Congress MLAs had written to the party leadership seeking Captain Amarinder’s ouster. Interestingly, just a day earlier, Harish Rawat had, in a press statement, said that 43 MLAs had written to the high command on the issue.
“It seems the entire party has become imbued with Navjot Singh Sidhu’s sense of comic theatrics,” he quipped, retorting, “Next they will claim that 117 MLAs wrote to them against me!”
“This is the state of affairs in the party. They cannot even coordinate their lies properly,” remarked Captain Amarinder, adding that the Congress was in a total state of disarray, and the crisis seemed to be escalating by the day, with a large majority of its senior leaders completely disenchanted with the party functioning. The fact of the matter, said the ex-CM, was that the 43-odd MLAs who had signed the said letter had been forced to do so under duress.
Having been pushed into a corner over its mishandling of the Punjab crisis, the Congress was now in a total state of panic, which was evident in the statements of its leaders, said Captain Amarinder. The former Chief Minister said the panic-stricken party, grappling with internal chaos, was trying hard to shift the blame of its own failures. “It’s sad to see the way they are resorting to blatant lies to justify their wrongdoings,” he added.
He pointed out that since 2017, Congress had swept every election in Punjab with him at the helm of the government, which was in total contrast to the claims being made by the party leadership. In the last Assembly elections, the party won an unprecedented 77 seats. In the by-elections in 2019, Congress won three of the four seats, even winning from Sukhbir Badal’s stronghold of Jalalabad.
Even in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party swept eight of the 13 seats despite the massive BJP wave in the country, said Captain Amarinder. And as recently as February this year, in the seven municipal corporation elections, Congress won 281 of the 350 seats (80.28 per cent), he said, pointing out that in the Municipal Council elections of the 109 MCs, the party won 97 (it won in 1486 of the 2165 wards – 68 per cent).
Clearly, the people of Punjab had not lost trust in him, as claimed by Surjewala, said the former Chief Minister, adding that the whole affair had been orchestrated by a few leaders and MLAs at the behest of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who, for some inexplicable reason, was being allowed to dictate the terms for the Congress in Punjab.
This was evident from the lies Harish Rawat had mouthed yesterday, even on a sensitive and emotive issue like Bargari and the subsequent police firing cases, said Captain Amarinder, warning that the party will have to pay a heavy electoral price in the state for these falsehoods. “Had I been hand in glove with the Badals, as they are alleging, I would not have spent the last 13 years fighting them in courts,” he said, lamenting that not a single party leader had stood by him in his legal battles.
Trashing accusations of not taking any action in these cases, the former Chief Minister said that after assuming charge in March 2017, his government was successful in cracking all the three major cases of sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which took place between June-October 2015. “In fact, the three main accused (Mohinder Pal, Sukhjinder Singh and Shakti Singh) wanted for the sacrilege incidents were arrested on July 5, within 16 months of the Congress government taking over,” he disclosed.
Further, in the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing cases, senior-most police officers, including IGP Pramraj Umranagal and SSP Charanjit Sharma, were arrested within two years of the Congress taking over the state’s reins.
About 12 people, including DGP Sumedh Singh Sani and former MLA Mantar Singh Brar, were nominated and charge-sheeted in the case. In both these cases, seven charge sheets were filed but some of these were stuck down by the high court, he said, adding that the entire bogey of no action in these cases was created by Sidhu and his aides whose only interest was to grab power, by hook or by crook.

Punjab CM thanks PM Modi

Chandigarh [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his personal intervention in the issue of paddy procurement and allowing the state to start the procurement from October 3 only.
“On Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s request, Centre allows Punjab to start paddy procurement from October 3. Chief Minister thanks Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his personal indulgence to resolve this issue expeditiously,” CMO Punjab tweeted. In a statement by Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Channi said that this decision would be now instrumental in ensuring smooth and hassle-free procurement of paddy to the satisfaction of the farmers.
Channi on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and sought his personal intervention to advise the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to withdraw its letter regarding postponement of paddy procurement and allow the state to begin paddy procurement from October 1 instead of the proposed October 11.
The Chief Minister’s remarks came after the Centre allowed the procurement of paddy in Punjab and Haryana from October 3.
Amid protests in Punjab and Haryana over the delay in paddy procurement, Union Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Saturday said that the procurement will start from tomorrow (Sunday) in both Haryana and Punjab.
The decision came after, Choubey, who is Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, met with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here in the national capital on Saturday.
“The procurement (of Kharif crops) will start from tomorrow in Haryana as well as Punjab,” Choubey told reporters after the meeting.
As per a press release issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Friday, the Central government has decided that procurement of paddy under Minimum Support Price (MSP) operation would commence from October 11 in Punjab and Haryana and has advised all the agencies to gear up to help farmers.
Widespread rainfall has been experienced across Punjab and Haryana during the second fortnight of September and untimely showers have affected the standing paddy crop in both the agrarian states, the ministry said.

Punjab CM Channi to meet PM Modi today in Delhi

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday in the national capital.

New Delhi [India], October 1 : Channi had departed from Chandigarh for Delhi today. According to Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), the CM will take up the farmers’ issues including the repeal of farm laws and postponement of the paddy procurement date.
“Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi will call on PM Narendra Modi in Delhi today. The CM will take up the farmers’ issues including the repeal of farm laws and postponement of the paddy procurement date. Reopening of Kartarpur Corridor also on agenda,” informed the CMO.
Punjab Chief Minister on Thursday sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to advise the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to withdraw its letter regarding postponement of paddy procurement and allow the state to begin paddy procurement from October 1 instead of the proposed October 11.
Earlier in the day, Channi also said that farmers’ protest is an important issue and the Centre should take it seriously adding the state should not be made into another Jammu and Kashmir.
Last month, after several rounds of parleys, Channi was selected for the new CM by Congress high command, following Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation.
These developments came months before the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections.

Sidhu to continue as Punjab Congress chief !

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is coming to Delhi today to meet party leadership amid the ongoing infighting in the party’s state unit.

New Delhi, India, October 1 : Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is coming to Delhi today to meet party leadership amid the ongoing infighting in the party’s state unit. Earlier on Thursday, Channi had met Navjot Singh Sidhu who resigned from the Punjab Congress chief recently.

According to report, Navjot Singh Sidhu will continue as the Punjab Congress chief and a coordination panel is likely to be set up, which is expected to be consulted before any major decisions by the Punjab government in future.

Sources said that the decision was reached after an over two-hour meeting at the Punjab Congress Bhavan between Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Sidhu, who had resigned from the post of the state party chief on Tuesday. The panel may comprise the CM, Navjot Singh Sidhu and a representative of the AICC.

The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) is expected to make an announcement in this regard. However, it is still unclear how differences over the appointment of the DGP and the AG will be dealt with.

Miffed Sidhu on Wednesday had raised a question over the appointments of the DGP, state’s advocate general and “tainted” leaders. Besides Channi and Sidhu, the meeting was attended by senior Congress leader and central observer Harish Chaudhary, minister Pargat Singh and Punjab Congress working president Kuljit Nagra. Minister Raj Kumar Verka, MLAs Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Avtar Singh Junior and PPCC working president Pawan Goel were in another room.

There was no press briefing after the meeting between Sidhu and Channi. Channi left the venue around 6 pm while Sidhu came out about half an hour later. No party leader spoke to the media after the meeting concluded.

The meeting came after Channi reached out to Sidhu and offered to resolve issues through talks.

Just before his meeting with Channi, Sidhu attacked the state’s new DGP, alleging that he wrongly indicted two Sikh youths in a desecration case and gave a clean chit to the Badals. The desecration of a religious text allegedly took place in Punjab’s Faridkot district in 2015, whose investigation was handed over by the then Parkash Singh Badal-led government to an SIT led by current DGP Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota. Sahota was given the additional charge of the state’s DGP by the Charanjit Singh Channi-led government.

Pakistan’s Punjab imposes lockdown over low vaccination rate

Lahore [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s Punjab government has imposed lockdown in all cities except Rawalpindi citing the slow vaccination rate, a media report said.
Imran Sikandar Baloch, Punjab Health Secretary, said that the lockdown restrictions will be effective from October 1 to October 15 in all districts of the province except Rawalpindi, according to ARY News. Businesses and markets will be allowed to be opened till 10 pm and Sunday will be observed as a holiday, Baloch said in a statement.
The state has allowed nearly 200 vaccinated guests to gather in indoor wedding events and 400 in outdoor marriage ceremonies.
During the lockdown period, cinema houses will be completely closed and contact sports will be fully banned while gyms will be allowed to open for vaccinated people, reported ARY News.
The public transport will run with 70 per cent vaccinated passengers during the whole week and the government and private offices will be allowed to be functional with 100 per cent staff.
Education institutes have been allowed for regular classes with 50 per cent during three days for each group in a week.
Vaccinated citizens aged above 30 have been allowed to visit the shrines.

Sidhu in Punjab to meet CM

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Amidst the ongoing turmoil in the Punjab Congress unit, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, arrived at Punjab Bhavan to meet Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
Earlier, Sidhu tweeted, “Chief Minister has invited me for talks … will reciprocate by reaching Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh at 3:00 PM today.” Sidhu had tendered his resignation as Punjab Congress chief on September 28. He was reportedly upset over the bureaucratic setup and his commands not being followed after Cabinet expansion in Punjab.
Party sources say that his resignation has not been accepted by the party yet.
Sidhu’s resignation as state party chief has intensified the crisis in the Punjab Congress. A minister and three Congress leaders, considered close to him, stepped down from their posts.
This comes as a big blow to the Congress that was hoping to resolve the turmoil in the Congress unit of Punjab ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.
After the tussle in Punjab Congress between Sidhu and Captain Amarinder Singh escalated in August, the party had appointing Sidhu as the Congress chief apparently against the wishes of the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation from the post of Punjab Chief Minister to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on September 18 hours before a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Punjab which was called without informing him in the backdrop of infighting within the ruling party in the state.

Punjab: Kejriwal promises a lot

Ahead of Punjab Assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday promised free health services for all residents of the state if his party wins.

Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], September 30 : Addressing a press conference in Ludhiana today, Kejriwal said, “I have come today to guarantee health services. Today, Punjab is in such a bad condition that there is absolutely no treatment in the primary health centres or community centres. There has been loot in private hospitals.” He further said, “It was the same situation in Delhi 7 years ago. We have changed the condition of government hospitals in Delhi. Today I am promising six guarantees for the people of Punjab.”
Kejriwal said that every person in Punjab will be provided free and good treatment on the lines of a private hospital.


He stated that all medicines, medical tests, treatment and operations will be free of cost in the state.
Kejriwal added, “We have done this in Delhi, expensive medicines and injections are available free of cost. Medicines are not available in Punjab hospitals today. A medicine window system will get opened when our government is formed. All medicines will be available there,” he added.
He further said that if someone has to undergo an operation costing Rs 10-20 lakhs, it will be available free of cost in government hospitals in Punjab.
“if someone falls ill, then the people of Punjab will not have to worry about treatment,” said Kejriwal.
He stated that a health card will be issued to every person in Punjab, which will contain complete information related to their health, adding that the entire health system will be computerized.
“On the lines of Delhi, Pind clinics and Ward clinics will be opened in every district in Punjab, a total of 16 thousand such Mohalla clinics will be opened,” said Kejriwal.
“All the old government hospitals will be repaired and new government hospitals will be constructed on a large scale,” he said.
He added, “There is a plan in Delhi that the government gives the full cost of the treatment of the person injured in the road accident. In Punjab also, our government will provide complete treatment to the injured in road accidents.”
He further promised press clubs in all the small and big cities of Punjab for the convenience of journalists.
Taking a swipe at the Congress over the ongoing political crisis in Punjab, Kejriwal said that there has been so much infighting in the party that the government in the state has disappeared.
Kejriwal said, “Punjab had formed Congress govt with great hopes. But today they’ve made a mockery of govt. A dirty fight for power is going on. All their leaders want to become CM. There’s so much infighting that Govt has disappeared.”
Alleging that there is corruption in other parties, Kejriwal said, “On the other hand, there is AAP where preparations are going on for the betterment of Punjab,” he said.
Responding to a question on whether Navjot Singh Sidhu will join AAP, Kejriwal said, “It is a hypothetical question, if anything like that happens we will tell you first of all.”
The Assembly elections in Punjab are scheduled to be held next year.

Captain at Amit Shah’s residence

New Delhi [India]: Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh reached the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah here on Wednesday amid a fresh crisis in the ruling Congress in the state.
Amarinder Singh, who stepped down as Chief Minister earlier this month, had reached Delhi on Tuesday. The Congress leader had told reporters on his arrival in the national capital that he had come to Delhi to vacate Kapurthala House. He had also said that he was not going to meet any political leader.
“I am here to vacate Kapurthala House (the official residence of Punjab Chief Minister in New Delhi). I am not going to meet any politician here,” he had told reporters.
Singh’s visit to Delhi has coincided with Congress in Punjab reeling under fresh crisis following resignation of PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday. A minister and some other leaders considered loyal to Sidhu also subsequently resigned.
Capt Amarnider Singh had taken a dig at Sidhu over his resignation, saying that he is not a stable man.
“I told you so…he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab,” Amarinder Singh had said in a tweet.
While stepping down as chief minister, Amarinder Singh had slammed the party leadership saying he had been let down.
The former chief minister had also said that he felt “humiliated” adding that he had been summoned thrice by the central leadership in the past two months
His media advisor Raveen Thukral had played down his visit to Delhi.
“Too much being read into Cap Amarinder Singh’s visit to Delhi. He’s on a personal visit, during which he’ll meet some friends and also vacate Kapurthala house for the new CM. No need for any unnecessary speculation,” Thukral said in a tweet yesterday.
Sidhu was made PCC chief by Congress leadership in July to stem infighting in Punjab Congress ahead of next year’s assembly polls but the party is now grappling with a fresh crisis.

Punjab CM appeals to Centre to repeal 3 farm laws

Chandigarh [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday extended his support to the farmers protesting against the farm laws and appealed to the Centre to withdraw them immediately.
Taking to Twitter, Channi said, “I appeal to the Union Govt. to immediately repeal the three black farm laws otherwise our Govt. would convene a special session of the Vidhan Sabha to reject them to safeguard the interest of the farmers who are already passing through the acute economic crisis.” Earlier in the day, Channi also said that farmers’ protest is an important issue and the Centre should take it seriously adding the state should not be made into another Jammu and Kashmir.
Further, he said that the condition of the farmers is deteriorating with time. He also said that the Centre has brought in a system ‘to make the farmers poor’.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.

Not going to meet any politician, says Captain Amarinder Singh as he arrives in Delhi

New Delhi [India]: Former Punjab Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh who arrived in the national capital on Tuesday said that he has come to Delhi to vacate Kapurthala House, further clarifying that he is not going to meet any politician during his visit.
Speaking to reporters at the Delhi airport, Singh said, “I am here to vacate Kapurthala House (the official residence of Punjab Chief Minister in New Delhi). I am not going to meet any politician here.” Further responding to a question on Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation today, the former Chief Minister said, “This man (Navjot Singh Sidhu) is unstable.”
Amid various speculations over Singh’s Delhi visit, his media advisor Raveen Thukral had earlier in the day said that the former is on a personal visit to the national capital.
“Too much being read into Cap Amarinder Singh’s visit to Delhi. He’s on a personal visit, during which he’ll meet some friends and also vacate Kapurthala house for the new CM. No need for any unnecessary speculation,” said Thukral in a tweet today.

This is Captain Amarinder Singh’s first visit to the national capital after his resignation as the Punjab Chief Minister on September 18.

Bharat Bandh: Farmers block highways, squat on rail tracks; Traffic hit on Delhi, Haryana borders

New Delhi [India], September 27 : To mark a year of the Centre’s three farm laws, famers early on Monday began a “Bharat Bhandh”, following a nationwide call by farmer unions demanding scrapping of the legislations.
Hundreds of farmers gathered at various places across the country blocking national highways, including those connecting Delhi to Punjab and Haryana, squatting on railway tracks and roads leading to traffic diversions and disruptions in vehicular movement. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the farmer unions, had called for a “Bharat Bandh” till 4 pm today.
Heavy police presence was seen, especially in Haryana and Punjab, to maintain law and order.
With farmers blocking national highways and major link roads in both Punjab and Haryana, police have diverted the traffic at several places.
Delhi Traffic Police has said the vehicular movement has been closed from Uttar Pradesh towards Ghazipur. Gurugram saw major traffic congestion due to the heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces.
Delhi-Amritsar National Highway has been blocked at Shahabad in Haryana’s Kurukshetra.
The National Highway 44 in Haryana have also been blocked.
On the Tikri boder, farmers sat on the railway tracks at Bahadurgarh railway station.
Rail operations in Delhi, Ambala and Firozepur divisions were impacted with people sitting on tracks. More than 20 railway tracks in Delhi were blocked by protesting farmers. Over 20 trains in the Ambala and Firozepur division have been affected, according to Northern Railway.



Farmers have also blocked the Shambhu border on the Punjab-Haryana border.
“In view of the Bharat bandh call by protesting farmers, we have blocked the Shambhu border till 4 pm,” a protesting farmer said.
The police have been deployed at all the locations where farmers are protesting, forces have been deployed since 5 am, Amritsar Police informed.
“At all locations where farmers are protesting, forces have been deployed since 5 am. Farmers’ protests are peaceful, so forces have also been told to not behave untowardly with them and bring to my notice if something happens,” Police Inspector Sanjeev Kumar said.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait has urged people to come out of their houses after lunchtime and appealed to the shopkeepers to keep their shops closed for now and open only after 4 pm.
The traffic movement has been closed from Uttar Pradesh towards Ghazipur due to farmers’ protests at the border.

Speaking to ANI, Tikait said, “Bharat bandh has been organised to send our message to the government. Ambulances, doctors or those going for an emergency can pass through. We have not sealed down anything. We appeal to the shopkeepers to keep their shops closed for now and open only after 4 pm. No farmer is coming here from outside.”
The BKU leader also informed that they have not planned any marches.
“The government will have to accept our demand, they have to in the coming 10 months,” he added.
Various opposition leaders have lent their support to the farmers’ “Bharat Bandh”.
RJD leader Mukesh Raushan and other members and workers of the party protested in Bihar’s Hajipur, in support of Bharat Bandh.

Traffic congestion was seen on Hajipur-Muzaffarpur road and the movement on Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna was affected too.
All government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions will be closed throughout the country.
However, exemptions to the bandh include all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies.

Bharat Bandh: Protests in several states against agri laws

To mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of farmers’ unions, has called for a nationwide Bharat Bandh on Monday.
The governments of Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have extended their support to the bandh, and the effect of protest was seen in these states. In Andhra Pradesh, Left parties protested in front of the Vijayawada bus station to observe the Bharat Bandh.
“It is a national protest against policies of the Central government. Farmers are protesting for the last 10 months against the farm laws,” state secretary of CPI (M) P Madhu said.
In Karnataka, various organizations were seen protesting outside the Kalaburagi Central bus station in support of the bandh,
“Many organizations are supporting our farmers and participating in the nationwide call for bandh,” said protester K Neela.

The roads in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram wore a deserted look and shops are closed in as the trade unions affiliated to LDF and UDF have supported the call for Bharat Bandh.

Meanwhile, protesters agitating against the three farm laws broke police barricades in the Anna Salai area of Tamil Nadu’s Chenna, following which many agitators were detained by the police.
“Modi government has pass three anti-farmers legislatures. Farmers are continuously fighting against it for more than 11 months. If Modi is reluctantly denying the withdrawing of the legislation, the struggle will intensify further,” CPI (M) leader K Balakrishnan said, who was also detained in Chennai.

The Bharat Bandh garnered support from more than 500 farmer organizations, 15 trade unions, political parties, six state governments and varied sections of society.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the three enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.

Bharat Bandh: Delhi-Ghazipur border shut for traffic; jams on Gurugram border, DND flyway

Traffic movement in Delhi and neighbouring states were hit on Monday as farmers blocked roads and national highways as part of a Bharat Bandh today.
Traffic movement at the Ghazipur border was affected and the Delhi Traffic Police closed vehicular movement on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh Ghazipur border for both carriageways. Massive traffic snarl was seen at Gurugram-Delhi border as vehicles entering the national capital were being checked by Delhi Police and paramilitary jawans. The Delhi Noida Direct (DND) flyway also witnessed massive traffic congestion.
Delhi Traffic Police issued a traffic alert on Twitter urging people to avoid Delhi to Uttar Pradesh Ghazipur border stretch.


“Gazipur border is closed for traffic from both sides due to farmers’ protests via NH 9 and NH 24. Commuters wishing to commute to and from UP may use DND, Vikas Marg, Signature bridge, Wazirabad road etc. The traffic of NH 24 and NH 9 are diverted on Road no 56 to take Maharajpur border, Apsara and Bhopura borders for UP,” the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.
Traffic movement was also closed on the Dhansa Border for both carriageways.
The Delhi Police has also closed all the routes leading to the Red Fort in the national capital and barricades were placed on the road as a precautionary measure.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of farmers’ unions, has called for a nationwide Bharat Bandh today to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws.
The bandh has garnered support from more than 500 farmer organizations, 15 trade unions, political parties, six state governments and varied sections of society.
State governments of Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh protest.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the three enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.

Punjab: MLAs as Ministers

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], September 26 : Congress MLAs Tript Singh Bajwa, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhbinder Sarkaria, and Rana Gurjeet Singh took oath as minister on Sunday, in the new Cabinet of Punjab led by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
The MLAs were administered the oath of office by Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a swearing-in ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh.
Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa was part of the previous Cabinet and had charge of Ministries of Rural Development and Panchayats, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Dairy Development, Higher Education in the government led by former Cheif Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. He represents Fatehgarh Churian constituency in the Punjab Legislative Assembly.
Aruna Chaudhary was also a part of Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet and had charge of the Ministry of Social Security, Women and Child Development. She is a senior Congress leader and MLA from Dinanagar constituency.
Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria had the Ministry of Water Resources, Mines and Geology, and Housing and Urban Development under him in Captain Amarinder Singh’s cabinet.
Rana Gurjeet Singh was also Minister for Power and Water Resources from March 2017 to January 2018 under Amarinder Singh.
Several other MLAs also took oath as ministers in the new Punjab Cabinet including Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Gilzian, Pargat Singh, Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Gurkirat Kotli, Razia Sultana, Vijay Inder Singla, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, and Randeep Singh Nabha.
Congress MLAs Brahm Mohindra and Manpreet Singh Badal were among the first to administer oath today.
A total of 15 ministers have been inducted into the new Punjab Cabinet.
After three rounds of meeting with the Congress high command, the new cabinet of Punjab, under the leadership of Channi, was finalised on Saturday.

Rahul Gandhi stresses Congress has to work for all irrespective of their caste, says Punjab party leader

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Ahead of Punjab’s new Cabinet formation, Congress leader Amarinder Singh Raja quoted party leader Rahul Gandhi as saying that the party has to work for the last person standing in the queue irrespective of their caste.

“Rahul Gandhi has always said that Congress has to work for the last person standing in the queue, be it Dalit, Jatt Sikh or Hindu. People should think that the government is of common people. Work should be done in the welfare of the common people,” he told ANI on Sunday.
Raja, who is an MLA from Gidderbaha, also said that now there is nothing left for any political party other than Congress to do in Punjab.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal had promised 300 units of free electricity to people in Punjab, as the party geared up for the upcoming 2022 Assembly elections. However, in a bid to bring relief to the people, Raja said that the Punjab Government is set to bring in new reforms regarding domestic electricity for the welfare of the people.

“As soon as our Chief Minister took charge, he removed electricity meters. I believe the Chief Minister is set to make a big announcement regarding domestic electricity,” said the Congress leader.

Newly-appointed Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has done a lot of work in just five days, he noted.

Channi took oath earlier this month as the 16th Chief Minister of Punjab and succeeds Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned from the topmost position in the state following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

“Channi ji and Sidhu Sahab will create a new environment in Punjab,” said Raja.

Referring to the tenure of Amarinder Singh, he further said that for the first time in the history of Punjab, a chief minister served for 9.5 years. “Now, he should stand behind the new Punjab government and shower his blessings. He should assure that he would be available whenever he is required,” concluded the Congress leader.

Meanwhile, the Punjab cabinet expansion is currently underway at Raj Bhawan. (ANI)

MLAs object Rana Gurjit’s inclusion’

Ahead of Cabinet expansion in Punjab government, six MLAs and former Punjab Pradesh Congress president Mohinder Singh Kaypee on Sunday have written to state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, demanding that Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh not be sworn in as the minister for his alleged involvement in corruption.

Chandigarh (Punjab [India], September 26 : The MLAs have requested that Gurjit’s proposed cabinet slot should go to a Dalit leader from Doaba region. In a letter to Sidhu and Channi the MLAs wrote: “We the undersigned MLA and leaders of Doaba wish to convey huge resentment amongst the public and the Congress cadre on the proposed inclusion of tainted Rana Gurjeet Singh. Needless to mention, he was dropped from the cabinet in January 2018 due to the infamous mining scandal involving him, his family and his companies directly in the said scandal.”
They further added, “The Punjab government had forfeited approximately Rs 25 crore deposited by a company, M/s Rajbir Enterprises, for the mining auction of 3 sites in Punjab. Justice Narang commission brought out a startling fact about that company of Rana Gurjeet Singh. M/s Rajbir Enterprises had received Rs 5 crore gratifications for the said mining auction from Gurinder Singh, who was charged by vigilance bureau, and is now in custody.”
The MLAs asked why Rana’s name was included despite no clean chit from the court or government to him.
The six MLAs who wrote the letter included-Navtej Singh Cheema, Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, Bawa Henry, Dr. Raj Kumar, Pawan Adiya and Sukhpal Singh Khaira. (

‘Congress brought Pak supporter to power’

The Congress has hatched a conspiracy to bring Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Pak supporter and friend of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, to power so that Punjab and Pakistan could flock together in future, said Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Thursday.

Ambala (Haryana) [India], September 23 : “There is a deep-rooted, anti-national conspiracy of Congress to bring Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Pak supporter and friend of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his aides to power so that Punjab and Pakistan could flock together in future,” Vij told ANI. “The conspiracy was proved when Sidhu went to Pakistan even after Captain Amarinder Singh specifically asked him not to,” he added while saying that Sidhu clearly mentioned that his captain is Rahul Gandhi and not Amarinder Singh.
Urging the nationalists in Punjab to join hands, Vij said, “This makes it clear that an anti-national game that is being plotted by the high command of Congress. All the nationalists in Punjab should join hands, and should foil the conspiracy of Congress.”


Further, he claimed, “This is why the political career of the nationalist Captain Amrinder Singh, who was a hurdle to this conspiracy, was ended.”
Taking to Twitter, Vij said, “There is a deep-rooted anti-National dangerous conspiracy of the Congress to bring pro-Pakistan and friend of Pakistan President Imran Khan and Javed Bajwa Pak Army Chief Navjot Sidhu and his Aides to Power in Punjab so that in future Punjab and Pakistan could flock together.”
“Nationalist Capt. Amrinder Singh was a hurdle in their way which is why he was Politically slain. All Nationalistic forces in Punjab should join hands to foil ill designs of Congress,” he added.
Recently, after resigning from the post of Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh had alleged that Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh has links with Pakistan and is a threat to national security.
Commenting on Amarinder Singh comments on Sidhu, Vij said, “If he (Amarinder Singh), who has given 50 years of his life to Congress and has faced Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi for so many years, then he cannot be called wrong.”
Charanjit Singh Channi has taken an oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab on Monday amid a bitter war within the state Congress. The Congress had picked Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief minister of Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned following a bitter power tussle in the party.
Punjab Assembly polls are slated to take place in 2022.
Notably, Captain Amarinder Singh, yesterday said that if Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu is elevated to the post of Chief Minister, he would fight tooth and nail.
“I will fight the elevation of Sidhu to Punjab chief ministership tooth and nail and am ready to make any sacrifice to save the country from such a dangerous man,” the Captain said.
Captain Amarinder said he will pit a strong candidate against the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president in the 2022 Assembly polls to ensure his defeat.
“He (Sidhu) is dangerous for the state,” said the Captain to reporters.

Punjab: Control stubble burning

Ludhiana (Punjab) [India]: The Punjab government has taken innovative steps to tackle stubble burning which causes air pollution.
Speaking to ANI, Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, Varinder Sharma, said, “The state government has distributed BF machines free of cost to the farmers so that they do not have to burn crop residue. Last year we had distributed more than 4,000 machines with 50 per cent subsidy to the farmers.” “If a farmer sets the stubble on fire, then we have imposed section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), under which legal action will be taken, but we believe that the farmer will cooperate with the government and the public to prevent severe air pollution, he added.

Malkit Singh, a farmer, said, “We burn stubble in our fields because of the labour shortage and the high cost of transportation of the stubble. If the government will provide us with the machines, we will not burn our stubble.”
Speaking on the strict action taken by the state government on setting fire to stubble, Jasmeet Singh, a farmer said, “If we will not receive any support from the government then we are left with no option but to burn stubble.”

I-T dept conduct searches at leading textile manufacture’s Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal offices

The Income Tax department has carried out a search and seizure operation on a leading business house of India involved in the manufacture of textile and filament yarn having corporate offices in Delhi, Punjab and Kolkata, said Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.

New Delhi [India], September 21 As per an official release, during the course of the search operation carried out on Saturday, many incriminating documents, loose sheets, diaries, digital evidence, among other things have been recovered which indicate involvement of the group in the routing of unaccounted funds back in its Indian entities, possession of foreign bank accounts unreported to the Department. “Substantial evidence of transactions outside the books of accounts, cash transactions in land deals, bogus expenses debited in books of accounts, unaccounted cash expenditure, accommodation entries are taken from entry operators have been gathered,” the release said.
The Ministry said that the said group has maintained unaccounted funds of about Rs 350 crore in its foreign bank accounts and has also routed these funds back into its business through shell entities in tax havens.
The modus operandi detected was related to investment by foreign entities, under control of the group, in foreign currency convertible bonds, issued by its main concern, and subsequently, under the garb of defaulting on payments, converting it into shares of the company, it said.
“It was also seen that foreign companies and trusts were being paid management fees for managing the unaccounted funds. Though there is a specific requirement of disclosing foreign assets owned/managed in the form of companies and bank accounts in Schedule FA in Income Tax returns, the same has not been disclosed by the group to the department,” the release added.
The Ministry further informed that details of accounts related to unexplained personal expenditure in cash were also found to be meticulously maintained in one of the main offices of the company.
“Evidence has been gathered that cash of about Rs 100 crore was generated by debiting bogus expenditure in company accounts and cash transactions in land deals,” it stated.
The search operation is still continuing and further investigations are in progress.

Punjab govt standing with farmers, common man, says Charanjit Singh Channi after taking oath

Soon after taking the oath of office, the newly-sworn in Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said his government is standing with farmers and will appeal to the Centre to withdraw the three farm laws.

Chandigarh [India], September 20: In his first interaction with media after taking the oath, Chief Minister said he is representative of poor sections of society including daily wage labourers and farmers. “I am not the representative of rich. I am representative of common man of Punjab,” he said. Channi also said his government will immediately waive the water and electricity bills of farmers. “Punjab government stands with the farmers. We appeal to the Centre to withdraw the three farm laws…We will waive water and electricity bills of farmers,” said the Chief Minister.
A seemingly emotional Channi said he comes from a poor family, and “Congress has made a common man the chief minister.”


Thanking Congress high command for the decision to name him as the Chief Minister, he said, “Rahul Gandhi is a revolutionary leader. He read the mind of common people.”
The new Chief Minister also praised the predecessor, Captain Amarinder Singh. “Captain did a lot of good work for the people of Punjab. We will take his work forward,” he said.
“The new government does not have any vendetta against anyone. We will work on all the agenda’s proposed by the Congress party,” stated Channi.
He added that the party is supreme, not the Chief Minister or the cabinet. “The government will work as per the party’s ideology.”
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, party’s state in-charge Harish Rawat, along with Ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni accompanied the New Chief Minister during the media interaction.

Major administrative reshuffle by new Punjab CM

Soon after taking oath as Punjab Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday ordered a major administrative reshuffle.
Senior IAS officer Hussan Lal has been appointed as Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister in place of Tejveer Singh. Rahul Tiwari has been appointed as Special Principal Secretary replacing Gurkeerat Kirpal Singh, a close aide of former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Channi was sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab on Monday. The three-time MLA from Rupnagar’s Chamkaur Sahib is the state’s first Dalit Chief Minister.
On Sunday, after several rounds of parleys, Channi was selected for the post by the party high command, following Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation.
Amarinder Singh on Saturday submitted his resignation to state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
These development came months before the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections.

Pakistan: Hindu family tortured for getting water from mosque in Punjab

Amid continuing attacks on minorities in the country, a Hindu family was tortured in Pakistan’s Punjab province for obtaining water from a mosque tap.

Rahim Yar Khan [Pakistan] September 20 : farm worker’s family was tortured and some locals from Basti Kahoor Khan area of Rahim Yar Khan held them hostage for “violating the sanctity” of the religious place. According to Dawn, the incident took place a few days back when Alam Ram Bheel was picking raw cotton along with his other family members, including his wife, in a field.
He said when the family went outside a nearby mosque to get drinking water from a tap, some locals beat them up. When the family was returning home after unloading the picked cotton, the villagers held them hostage at their outhouse and tortured them again.
The Airport police station did not register the case as the attackers were related to a local Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf parliamentarian, according to Bheel, reported Dawn.
Anti-minority and anti-Hindu vernacular has become acceptable among the Pakistani political elite and now it has trickled down to the masses.
The recent vandalisation of a temple in Bhong town in Rahim Yar Khan is yet another example of the attack on minorities and their places of worship in Pakistan. The videos of attack and vandalism went viral and were picked up by both local and international media, reported The Nation.
In recent years, there has been a surge in attacks on places of worship of religious minorities in Pakistan. The country has been repeatedly slammed by the international community for not safeguarding the interest of its minorities.

Charanjit Singh Channi: Dalit CM of Punjab

New Delhi [India], September 19 : As Congress leader and Punjab Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was on Sunday unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab, he became the first Dalit leader to become the 16th Chief Minister of the state.
According to the official website of the Punjab Government, Channi remained Municipal Councilor for three terms and moved on to become the President of Municipal Council Kharar for a two-term. He was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Chamkaur Sahib Consistency for the first time in 2007. He was elected to the assembly seat again in 2012 and then in 2017.
In 2015, Channi was elected as Leader of the Opposition in the 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
In 2017, he was appointed as the Cabinet Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Employment Generation and also Science and Technology in the government of Punjab.
Channi was born on April 2, 1972, in village Makrona Kalan near Chamkaur Sahib to S. Harsa Singh and Ajmer Kaur.
Since his father S. Harsa Singh was Sarpanch of the Gram Panchayat of his village and later on a member of Block Samiti, Channi found the political grooming at home. He started participating in political activities in his school days and was also elected President of the School Student Union.
After his secondary education, he joined Sri Guru Gobind Singh College at Chandigarh for his higher education. After graduating therefrom, he joined Panjab University Chandigarh and successfully got his degree in Law. He later pursued his Master’s in Business Administration from PTU Jalandhar and currently finishing his PhD from the Panjab University Chandigarh.
Channi, a great handball player who has many awards under his belt. He has also represented Panjab University three times in Handball and received Gold Medal in the Inter-University Sports Meet. He also continued playing Handball at the National level.
Channi is set to take over as next chief minister following Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation on Saturday.
“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” tweeted Congress in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat.
Channi will succeed Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned as the chief minister of Punjab on Saturday following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
These development came months before the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections.

Charanjit Singh Channi to take oath as Punjab CM tomorrow

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], September 19 : Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi will take the oath as the new Chief Minister of Punjab on Monday at 11 am on Monday.
Addressing media after meeting Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Chief Minister-designate of Punjab said, “We have presented our stance, unanimously supported by party MLAs, before the Governor. Oath taking ceremony will take place at 11 am tomorrow.” Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi congratulated Channi for the new responsibility.
“Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance,” Gandhi tweeted.
Earlier today, Congress’ in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat said Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party and is set to take over as next chief minister.
“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Sh. Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” tweeted Rawat.
Channi, a Dalit leader, was Technical Education Minister in the outgoing Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s cabinet.
After the party announced his name as Punjab CLP leader, the Chief Minister-designate Channi, while leaving from JW Marriott Hotel in Chandigarh for Governor’s House, said, “I will speak after leaving from Governor’s house.”
Meanwhile, Channi’s family also reached the Governor’s House, Chandigarh.
According to the official website of the Punjab Government, Channi remained Municipal Councilor for three terms and moved on to become the President of Municipal Council Kharar for a two-term.
He was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Chamkaur Sahib Consistency for the first time in 2007. He was elected to the assembly seat again in 2012 and then in 2017.
In 2015, Channi was elected as Leader of the Opposition in the 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha. In 2017, he was appointed as the Cabinet Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Employment Generation and also Science and Technology in the government of Punjab.
Channi will succeed Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned as the chief minister of Punjab on Saturday following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
These development came months before the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections.

Sonia Gandhi to decide next CM of Punjab: Pawan Goel

Working president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Pawan Goel said that Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi would take the decision on the next Chief Minister of state on Sunday.

Panchkula (Haryana) [India], September 19 : However, he refused to comment on the prospective candidate for the post of Punjab CM. Speaking to media persons, Goel said: “A meeting of MLAs was held with Harish Rawat and Ajay Maken yesterday. The MLAs have sent their opinions to Sonia Gandhi.”
“A resolution was passed that Congress chief’s decision will be final on this matter. Today you will get to know her decision,” the Congress leader said.
CLP, earlier on Saturday, unanimously passed a resolution to give Congress chief Sonia Gandhi power to nominate the new Chief Minister of Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down.
The second resolution passed by the CLP praised Amarinder Singh.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from his post on Saturday ahead of the meeting of party legislators in the faction-ridden state unit as the party high command decided to effect a change of guard in the border state ahead of assembly polls early next year.

‘Humiliated’ Capt Amarinder Singh says options open, will decide future political course of action when time comes

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday resigned as Chief Minister of Punjab, citing continued humiliation by the Congress leadership over the past two months.
The Chief Minister made it clear that he would explore and exercise his future options when the time comes. Captain Amarinder Singh said he would decide his future political course of action in consultation with his supporters who have stood by him for over five decades.
“There is always an option, and I will use that option when the time comes…at the moment I am still in Congress,” he said after submitting his resignation.
“I was humiliated three times by the Congress leadership in the past two months…they called the MLAs to Delhi twice and now convened CLP here in Chandigarh today,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that he had decided and informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the morning that he would resign.
“Apparently they (Congress high command) do not have confidence in me and did not think I could handle my job. But I felt humiliated at the manner in which they handled the whole affair,” he told media persons at the gate of the Raj Bhavan after giving his resignation letter to the Governor. “Let them appoint who they trust,” he remarked, taking a dig at the party leadership.
Captain Amarinder tendered his resignation, and that of the council of ministers, to Governor Banwarilal Purohit at the Punjab Raj Bhavan shortly after 4.30 p.m., pre-empting what was widely being seen as a move to remove him from chief ministership through an emergency Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting convened by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) at 5 pm.
“I hereby tender my resignation as Chief Minister, and that of my Council of Ministers,” the one-line resignation letter said.
An official release said his wife Preneet Kaur, MP, accompanied him to the Governor house. His son Raninder Singh was also present, along with MPs Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Ravneet Singh Bittu, AG Atul Nanda and Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar.

Capt Amarinder Singh steps down as Punjab Chief Minister

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Embattled Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from his post on Saturday ahead of the meeting of party legislators in the faction-ridden state unit as the party high command decided to effect a change of guard in the border state ahead of assembly polls early next year.
The Chief Minister went to meet Governor Banwari Lal Purohit to hand over his resignation. The move came as factionalism again surfaced in the state unit with sections opposed to him requesting a meeting of Congress Legislature Party.

‘Captain is BJP’s ‘swatantar fauji’ in Congress’

Former union minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Wednesday said that Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s “ill-tempered rant” against her proves that he is rattled after being told not to demonise the peaceful and patriotic farmers of Punjab.

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India] September 16 : “The chief minister is bending over backwards to dance to the tunes of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just because that party had bailed him out of his intra-party crisis by using the threat of central agencies against the Congress MLAs who had rebelled against him. The whole world knows that Captain Amarinder Singh is BJP’s “swatantar fauji” in the Congress and that he is doing everything to keep his real bosses happy,” Badal said. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader was commenting on what she called the outbursts of an embarrassed chief minister who had been caught going against the interests of farmers just to return the favours the BJP had been doing towards him.
“I realise he owes them a lot, but his gratitude to the BJP must not come at the expense of the annadata of the country from his own state,” she said.
She said that Amarinder is blaming the farmers for the economic mess he himself has created.
“The fact is that nobody is sure up to now which party’s candidate Captain Sahib would really be in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha poll. There have been reports that he is prepared to break his own party up if it threatens CM status. But he repays the BJP by blaming the farmers for the economic mess in which he himself has pushed the state,” said the former union minister.
Harsimrat said that she can understand the frustration that compels the chief minister to choose the language which he is using while speaking against her, forgetting even the dignity and grace which his own age demands of him especially while responding to criticism by a woman almost his “daughter’s age”
“I understand his problem with me. It is must be pretty awkward and embarrassing for someone to be caught lying and stabbing his own people, especially farmers. He is even putting on the farmers the blame for the mess that his own mis-governance and ineptitude has inflicted on the beleaguered state”, said Harsimrat.
Harsimrat said she trusts the CM to still have his vision intact that the whole world saw during the discussion on the three black bills. He could not have failed to see that only two MPs in the entire country voted against those bills and those two were from the state where he does not want to see the farmers seeking justice.
Badal further said she trusts the chief minister to still have his vision intact even at this age and therefore cannot believe that he did not see what the whole world saw during the discussion on the three black bills. He could not have failed to see that only two MPs in the entire country voted against those Bills, and those two were from the state where he does not want to see the farmers seeking justice.
The SAD leader said that she always felt bad having to be the one to call out the lies of someone so senior to her in age.
“I do not feel good at all about it for in Punjab we are taught to respect seniors to the extent of overlooking even their minor flaws. And I would never be disrespectful to anyone if the crucial interests of millions of farmers in Punjab and the rest of the country were not at stake. Captain Sahib must forgive me for having to speak the truth inconvenient to him. I do not mean to be disrespectful but I cannot help if the truth is (disrespectful). I wish it was not,” said added.
Earlier on Wednesday, has said no Akali leader, especially Harsimrat Kaur Badal, had the moral right to speak on the crisis triggered by the farm laws, which they could easily have averted when they were part of the central government and party to each of its anti-people decisions. (A

Punjab orders high alert following arrest of members of ISI-backed terrorist module

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered high alert in the state following the arrest of four more members of an ISI-backed terrorist module involved in a bid to blow up an oil tanker with an IED tiffin bomb last month, making it the fourth case of a Pakistani terror module being busted in the state in the past 40 days.
Two Pak-based terrorists, including a Pakistani Intelligence Officer, have also been identified and nominated in the case, in which one person was arrested earlier, DGP Dinkar Gupta disclosed on Wednesday. Taking a serious note of the increased attempts by terror groups to disturb the state’s peace, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the police to be on high alert, particularly in view of schools and educational institutions reopening, as well as the festival season and the Assembly polls ahead. The Chief Minister has asked the DGP to ensure a high level of security arrangements to be put in place, especially in busy places, such as markets etc, as well as at sensitive installations across the state.
Giving details of the arrests, the DGP identified Pak-based ISYF Chief Lakhbir Singh and Qasim, a resident of Pakistan, and Lakhbir Singh Rode, who is currently based in Pakistan, as being behind the terror module. Those arrested earlier have been identified as Rubal Singh and Gurpreet Singh. While Rubal, also wanted in a murder case of September 1, 2021, was picked up from Ambala around 5 pm yesterday, the other three were nabbed from their villages in Ajnala, Amritsar. Their fifth accomplice, Gurmukh Brar, was arrested earlier by Kapurthala Police on August 20, 2021.
The DGP said the Pakistani intelligence officer, identified as Qasim, and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) Chief Rode had promised to transfer over Rs 2 lakh to the terrorist module for carrying out the blast. Investigations into the financial aspects are also being carried Oil Tanker out to unravel the money trail, he added. Rubal and Vicky Bhutti were in touch with Qasim, who was working in close collaboration with Rode. Rode and Qasim had reportedly tasked the 4 members of a terrorist module to blast an Oil Tanker for causing maximum damage to people and property.
The terror attempt was made on August 8, 2021, when, at about 11:30 pm, the Ajnala police received information that an Oil Tanker (PB-02 CR 5926) parked at Sharma Filling Station Ajnala, located on the Amritsar-Ajnala Road near village Bhakha Tara Singh, had caught fire. The fire was controlled by a Fire Brigade and an FIR was registered at Ajnala Police Station.

Neeraj Chopra thanks Punjab CM for hosting dinner for Olympians, says ‘it shows how much he loves sports’

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India]: Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra appreciated Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for hosting a dinner for Olympic medallists and participants and expressed gratitude for giving the highest levels of respect to sportspersons.
“I am feeling happy that for the first time any chief minister is taking out time like this for sportspersons. This shows how much he loves sports and sportspersons. I thank him for giving us so much respect,” said Chopra while speaking to reporters in Chandigarh about the dinner hosted by the Chief Minister at his farmhouse in Mohali on Wednesday. The Chief Minister was seen serving his guests personally, straight out of the ‘patilas’ in which he had cooked his choicest dishes earlier during the day.
“I started at 11 in the morning. Most of it was done by around 5 pm., and then it was time for some final touches. But I loved every minute of it,” said the Chief Minister in an official statement.
“They (the sportspersons) worked so hard to win us glory, what I have done for them is nothing in comparison,” he added.
Besides Olympic Javelin Throw gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, the special guests for the evening included Olympics bronze medalist hockey players Manpreet Singh (Captain), Harmanpreet Singh (Vice Captain), Mandeep Singh, Hardik Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Varun Kumar and Simranjit Singh.
“Privileged to have hosted our Olympians for dinner tonight. Thoroughly enjoyed cooking for them. May you continue to bring great laurels to the country,” the Chief Minster tweeted yesterday.
Speaking to the media, Chopra also said that after the Tokyo Olympics 2020, the perspective towards sports has changed in a positive manner.
“I am sure that the Indian government will work towards creating better infrastructure for sports and provide facilities to sportspersons,” said Chopra.

Punjab ministers write to Amarinder Singh, demands to make Batala city a district

Chandigarh [India]: Two Punjab ministers Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Saturday wrote to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and demanded that Batala city should be created as the 24th district of the state ‘to honour the wish of the people and overall development of this area’.
The ministers accentuated that Batala is a historic town but has not received the focus it deserved. They also demanded that along with this, the historic towns of Fatehgarh Churian and Sri Hargobindpur or Ghuman should also be turned into new sub-divisions of the new district of Batala.
They pointed out that Batala was an important city of Punjab with which rich historical, religious, social and literary heritage is associated. Batala was the oldest city of Punjab after Bathinda which was founded in 1465 and also the eighth-largest city in the state in terms of the population where a Municipal Corporation was formed last year.
Stressing upon the historical heritage of Batala dating back to 1487, the ministers said that it was also an important city of the Sikh Empire after Lahore and Amritsar during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The ministers said, “From a cultural and literary point of view, there is no Punjabi across the globe who has not heard the name of the great Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar who added Batalvi to his name thereby adding to its eminence. The late poet is known in the literary field as Birha’s poet and Punjabi’s Keats.”

“India continues to be pluralistic”

Chandigarh [India]: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said that India continues to be a pluralistic country that has the unique distinction of being home to almost every faith in the world.
Addressing a special session to commemorate the 400th Prakash Purab of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur at the Punjab Legislative Assembly today, the Chief Minister said, “India has unique cultural tradition. When we call Indianness, this is the idea of India. Our ancient texts have expressed the idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’-the world is one family’. In Sikhism, we have a concept of ‘Sarbat da bhala’ meaning welfare of entire humanity.” “It was to uphold the right of people of this land to peacefully follow the faith of their choice, that Guru Sahab (Guru Teg Bahadur) gave his ‘shahadat’. By doing so he set a unique example in the history of sacrificing his life,” he said.
Singh further said, “India continues to be a pluralistic country that has the unique distinction of being home to almost every faith in the world. This is what gives India its richness and cultural diversity.”
Speaking at the event, the Chief Minister also spoke about ‘religious intolerance’ being observed by him in various countries across the world.
He said, “Afghanistan has an emerging power which doesn’t accept religious intolerance in any form. Go to Africa and the Middle East nations, the message of love, understanding, and tolerance doesn’t exist, Here, we commemorate the 400th Prakash Purab of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur. I extend my greetings on this auspicious occasion.”
A special session of the Punjab Legislative Assembly was held for the commemoration of the historic 400th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur on Friday.
The decision to hold a special session of the assembly for a day was approved at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on August 26.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth Guru (April 1, 1621-November 11, 1675) of the Sikh religion.

200 booked for protesting at Sukhbir Singh Badal’s rally

Moga (Punjab), [India] September 3 (ANI): First Information Reports were registered against 17 farmer leaders in Punjab’s Moga district on their names while 200 more unknown people were booked over protest outside Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhbir Singh Badal’s rally, said a police official on Friday.

Farmers staged a protest against SAD president in Moga district yesterday. They had breached the security and pelted stones, according to Dhruman Nimbale, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Moga Police Station.
“Farmers had breached security, pelted stones at police in Moga. FIR were registered under IPC sections and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. 17 farmer leaders and more than 200 others booked,” the SSP told reporters. (ANI)

‘All is not well’ in Punjab Congress

Chandigarh [India]: Amid the ongoing rift in the Punjab Congress, AICC state in-charge Harish Rawat on Thursday revealed that all is not well in the party but claimed that state Congress is heading towards the ‘all is well’ situation.
“I won’t say all is well, but we are heading towards it. I do not want to hide from you. We are trying to solve the issue,” Rawat told media persons here. This comes after Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Pargat Singh on Sunday questioned AICC state in-charge Harish Rawat over the decision that Congress will contest the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections under the leadership of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Singh, who is believed to be close to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, said, “When all the MLAs had met the three-member Kharge Committee constituted by the party high command in Delhi three months ago, it was decided that the Punjab Assembly elections to be held in 2022 would be fought under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Now, if Harish Rawat is saying that the 2022 Punjab elections will be fought under the leadership of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, then he should also tell when this decision was taken.”
Rawat, who earlier on Wednesday met Amarinder Singh, said, “Those angry ministers who did not come to meet me, I thank them. The government did some things very well which we could not appreciate. It is due to the Amarinder Singh government that the Bargari case is out of the clutches of the CBI.”
A section of Punjab Congress leaders have raised a banner of revolt against Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and said that a change should be made in the state if needed.
Rawat also rejected the speculation of the reshuffle in the Punjab cabinet.
“There was no talk on the reshuffle topic with Amarinder Singh otherwise we would have shared with you all,” he added.
Rawat had also met Sidhu on Tuesday amid the ongoing turf war in the party’s state unit.
The top leadership of the Congress party has made it clear that Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will be leading the party in the upcoming state Assembly polls.
Navjot Singh Sidhu was appointed Punjab Congress chief last month amid efforts by the party’s central leadership to end factionalism in the state unit. The assembly elections in Punjab are due early next year.

Trucks from Afghanistan to be X-rayed at Attari border

Amid the ongoing situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan, India has installed its first Radiation Detection Equipment (RDE) at Integrated Check Post (ICP) at the Attari Border.

New Delhi [India], September 2 : Aditya Mishra, the Chairman of the Land Ports Authority of India, confirmed about the first RDE at the Attari border. Explaining the concept, Mishra said, “The device is called a full-body truck scanner in which entire trucks pass through. It is basically an X-ray of a truck to detect any smuggling of arms, ammunition, or other illegal articles. It will also catch smuggling of any radioactive materials.”
He added that the machines will help the border guarding forces to detect and deter illicit trafficking or smuggling of radioactive materials across the international border.
Trade with Pakistan is suspended but trucks from Afghanistan via Pakistan are entering the country through the Attari border. Every day, around 30 trucks of dry fruits and fruits from Afghanistan cross the Attari border.

An official said that India has trade via a land route with Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan (via Pakistan). There is no trade with China through land routes.
Notably, seven more RDEs are also in the pipeline. The Land Ports Authority of India will install these RDEs at the ICPs at Attari (Pakistan border), Petrapole, Dawki, Agartala and Sutarkani (Bangladesh Border), Moreh (Myanmar border) and Raxaul and Jogbani (Nepal border).
A tender for installing RDE at all the remaining ICPs on the borders has now been finally issued by the government a few days back.

Sidhu takes his war with Punjab CM to next level

Speaking at an event in Amritsar, Sidhu said that he has told the party high command in Delhi that if he is not allowed to take decisions, ‘he won’t spare anyone’.The squabble in Punjab Congress is intensifying by the day with party’s state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu refusing to announce any ‘ceasefire’ in his battle against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

New Delhi, India, August 27 Speaking at an event in Amritsar, Sidhu said that he has told the party high command in Delhi that if he is not allowed to take decisions, ‘he won’t spare anyone’. “Eent se eent baja dunga,” Sidhu is heard saying in a video of his speech shared by news agency ANI.

Sidhu remark has come at a time when the Congress top brass is said to be miffed with him over recent remarks of his two advisors. Earlier today, Malwinder Singh Mali, one of the advisors of Sidhu, resigned from the post . Sidhu’s advisors Mali and Pyare Lal Garg had triggered a controversy with their comments on sensitive topics of Kashmir and Pakistan.

Sidhu had come under severe attack from the Opposition as well as from within the party for their statements. Congress MP Manish Tewari has questioned if such people should be kept in the party.

“I urge Harish Rawat, AICC Gen Secy in-charge Punjab to seriously introspect that those who do not consider J&K to be a part of India and others who have ostensibly Pro-Pakistan leanings should be a part of Punjab Congress,” Tewari had said in a tweet.

Tewari’s open criticism came a day after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked Sidhu to “rein in” his advisors and described their remarks as atrocious and ill-conceived comments that were potentially dangerous to the peace and stability of the state and the country.

Meanwhile, in further trouble for the Congress, Rawat has reportedly requested the party high command to relieve him of duty of Punjab’  in-charge. Rawat has told the party top brass that he wants to focus completely on his polls in his home state Uttarakhand. 

Harish Rawat talks tough on Punjab political turmoil: ‘Have not handed over Congress to Sidhu’

Four ministers– Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, and Charanjit Singh Channi — who are said to be close to Sidhu on Wednesday met Rawat and lodged their complaint against the CM and sought his replacement, saying they have “lost faith in him” over the issue of unfulfilled promises.

New Delhi, India, August 25 : what could be seen as a stern message to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, state party in-charge Harish Rawat on Wednesday rebuked that ‘no VIP is bigger than Congress and that any problem with an individual should not come in the way of party functioning.’ Rawat who on Wednesday met the rebel ministers, who had been demanding Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ouster, affirmed that ‘no one is against anyone.’

Four ministers– Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, and Charanjit Singh Channi — who are said to be close to Sidhu on Wednesday met Rawat and loadged their coplaint against the CM and sought his replacement, saying they have “lost faith in him” over the issue of unfulfilled promises.

“Four ministers & three  MLAs met me. They expressed their concerns & said that they’re concerned about the chances of the party’s victory in the state. They said they’re not against anyone, they want to go to the polls with a clear roadmap so that we win. They also had some grievances about the functioning of the state and district administrations. If a Congress MLA considers himself insecure & thinks that administration can try to make them lose or work against them, then it’s a matter of concern,” Harish Rawat said.

Sending across a stern message to the cricketer-turned-politician, Rawat said, “Sidhu has come from a different environment and we have entrusted him with the responsibility of the post of Congress President in Punjab after seeing many things. It does not mean that the entire Congress has been handed over to him,” and added, “The truth is that we will go to the polls in 2022 under the leadership of Amarinder Singh.”

“There’s no threat to the party or govt. There’s no threat to chances of our victory either. These people themselves will give way to chances of our victory. A solution will be brought,” Rawat added.

Upping the ante against the Sidhu camp, wife of CM, Preneet Kaur held the Amritsar East MP for the Punjab political situation. She said, “Of course, he started it, it’s his advisors. CM showed maturity & largeness of heart. Once High command decided that Sidhu was coming, CM said It’s Congress chief’s decision I abide by it.” 

Amid severe criticism of two advisers of Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu for making controversial remarks on sensitive issues like Kashmir and Pakistan, wife of CM, Preneet Kaur said, “They should also fall into line. This is not time to rake up all these things. You rake them up at the party platform & go ahead. We want a united Congress to fight the election.”

PM chairs 37th PRAGATI meeting, reviews eight projects of three ministries

New Delhi [India], August 25 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired the 37th meeting of PRAGATI, the ICT based multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, involving the Centre and state governments.
A PMO release said nine agenda items were taken for review during the meeting including eight projects and one scheme. Among the eight projects, three projects each were from the Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and two projects were from the Ministry of Power.
These eight projects have a cumulative cost of Rs 1,26,000 crore concerning 14 states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttrakhand, Manipur and Delhi.
The Prime Minister stressed the significance of the timely completion of these projects.
During the interaction, the Prime Minister reviewed ‘One Nation – One Ration Card’ (ONORC) scheme.
He asked officials to explore multiple utilities of the technological platform developed under the scheme for a wide array of benefits to the citizens.
The Prime Minister also directed the state officials to keep monitoring the construction of oxygen plants and the availability of hospital beds.
In the previous 36 PRAGATI meetings, 292 projects having a total cost of 13.78 lakh crore, have been reviewed.

Pakistan allows fully vaccinated pligrims to visit Kartarpur for Guru Nanak Dev’s death anniversary

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 22 : The Pakistan government on Sunday announced it will allow pilgrims who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur for the death anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev next month.
Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) held a meeting during which they unanimously decided to allow Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur in Narowal district, next month under strict Covid-19 protocols, Dawn reported. Dawn reported that fully vaccinated persons with certificates will be allowed to enter Pakistan provided they show real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test reports which should not be more than 72 hours old.
Apart from this, Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) will also be conducted at airports and in case of a positive result, the individual will not be allowed to enter Pakistan.
Besides, as per non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), a maximum of 300 people will be permitted to assemble at a time at the darbar.
Early this month, Pakistan has lifted travel restrictions from 11 countries including India.
Pakistan had put India under Category C from May 22 till August 12 due to the spread of the Delta variant, which meant that the movement of people, including Sikh pilgrims, from India was subjected to special permission.
On March 16, 2020, both India and Pakistan had temporarily suspended the day-long pilgrimage in wake of Covid 19 and also suspended the registration for the Kartarpur Sahib pilgrimage.
However, on October 2, 2020, the Pakistan government announced to unilaterally open the Kartarpur Sahib pilgrimage but India denied to reciprocate the gesture.
India and Pakistan signed the Kartarpur corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 24, 2019.
Under the pact, Indian pilgrims of all faiths are allowed to undertake round-the-year visa-free travel through the Kartarpur corridor to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.

Punjab Police foils major drug smuggling bid, seizes 40 kg heroin worth Rs 200 cr from India-Pakistan border

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], August 21: In an intelligence-led operation based on specific inputs, the Amritsar Rural Police foiled a major drug smuggling bid by Pakistan-based smugglers on Saturday and recovered 39 packets of heroin, weighing 40.81 kg in the Panjgraian Border Outpost (BOP), worth approximately Rs 200 crores.
The operation was supported by the Border Security Force (BSF) and it was carried out in the border area under the control of the BSF. Dinkar Gupta, Director General of Police (DGP) of Punjab, said “Following an input, Nirmal Singh (Sonu Mayer), a notorious smuggler of Gharinda area, was attempting to smuggle heroin through the Indo-Pak Border.”
Gulneet Singh Khurana, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Amritsar (Rural) immediately shared the pin-pointed inputs with the BSF. He added that in the meanwhile, a police team comprising of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) investigation Gurinderpal Singh and DSP Ajnala Vipan Kumar also reached the spot.
Dinkar said that the joint teams of Punjab Police and BSF successfully seized the huge heroin cache besides recovering 180 grams of opium and two plastic pipes, manufactured by Super Punjab Pump and made in Pakistan.
The police have also impounded a motorcycle and a sooty belonging to the smugglers from the smuggling side found stationed in the vicinity.
“The police have launched a massive manhunt to arrest Sonu, who is also wanted by the Tarn Taran Police in case of 1 kg heroin recovery in 2020,” said Khurana.
Investigations were on and all the accused persons were likely to be arrested soon, he added.
Sharing the modus operandi, Khurana said “The smugglers used Pakistan made plastic pipes to get the heroin across the border fence in the shape of neatly tied packets of heroin contraband”.
An FIR into the matter has been registered at Police Station Ramdas, Amritsar.

Two children killed, Chinese national injured in blast targeting convoy in Pakistan’s Punjab

Punjab [Pakistan]: Two children were among at least five people who were killed as a suicide bomber blew himself up targeting a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals on the Gwadar expressway in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.


At least 30 people, including a Chinese national, was also injured in the incident that took place on Friday evening according to media reports. A convoy comprising four vehicles carrying Chinese nationals “with integral security details of Pakistan army and police contingent” was targeted on East Bay Expressway in Gwadar.


The targeting took place along the coastal road near a fishermen’s colony, the ministry said in a statement.
As per Dawn, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Majeed Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Dawn citing sources reported that the Chinese nationals, who were working on the under-construction East-Bay Expressway, were returning to their camp when the vehicle was hit by the blast.


“One Chinese national suffered minor injuries,” the publication quoting police official said who added the incident occurred at around 7 pm near Baloch Ward.
“Two boys were killed and four other people, including two children and a Chinese national, were injured,” Liaquat Ali Shahwani, a spokesman for the Balochistan government said.


The blast occurred near the jail road area of Bahawalnagar district while many women and children are also among the people injured, Xinhua reported. Rescue teams, police, and security forces had reached the site and shifted the victims to a nearby hospital.


Last month, 13 people were killed in a bus blast at the Dasu Hydropower Project, including nine Chinese nationals. The Chinese firm is still reluctant to resume work at the site.

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