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Press release for Punjab Govt
Jan 11, 2008



CHANDIGARH, 11 January 2008:

The Punjab Government would start Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) in all the Senior Secondary Schools having science stream by the end of this financial year.

A decision to this effect was taken in the first meeting of the Board of Governors of the Punjab EDUSAT Society held here today under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Prakash Singh Badal.

Taking part in the deliberations Mr. Badal said that the EDUSAT society would be responsible to implement the EDUSAT project covering the institutions imparting education i.e., School Education, Medical Education, Technical Education, Medical Education and Higher Education and also impart coaching & training to the students aspiring to appear in the Competitive Entrance Examination for various Engineering and Medical colleges.

The Board of Governors has also approved the decisions taken by the Executive Committee of Punjab EDUSAT Society held on 26 th December, 2007.

It may be mentioned here that the Chief Minister, Mr. Badal had inaugurated the EDUSAT project on 2nd January, 2008 at Mohali when he addressed students all over the Punjab through the network.

The State Government had already released Rs. 12 crores for the project. The State Government has also sanctioned Rs.5.5 crores to install more SITs to cover all the Senior Secondary Schools with science stream by 31st March, 2008.

Prominent amongst those who were present in the meeting included Mr. Tikshan Sood, Minister Technical Education Government of Punjab, Chief Secretary, Mr. Ramesh Inder Singh, Secretary School Education Mr. Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, D.G. School Education Mr.Krishan Kumar, Director Information & Public Relations Mr. Tejvir Singh the Administrative Secretaries of various other departments and members of Board of Governors.



CHANDIGARH, 11 January 2008:

The Punjab government today inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for the formulation of a Tourism Development Master Plan for the State. Principal Secretary Tourism Ms. Geetika Kalha and Executive Director of UNWTO Mr. Harsh Verma signed on the behalf of the Punjab Government and World Tourism Organisation respectively in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Badal said that it was a historic day when the state government had signed a MoU with WTO to prepare a blue print of Tourism plan in the state. Mr. Badal pointed out that the Punjab had a tremendous tourism potential which needed to be tapped optimally.

He said that the state government had identified tourism as one of the major economic sectors of the State and was committed to achieve a high degree of sustainable development with optimum utilization of a rich and wide variety of tourism resources. As a result, the State Government had entered into an agreement with the World Tourism Organization (WTO), a specialized agency of the United Nations and the leading international organization in the field of tourism, to formulate a Tourism Development Master Plan for the State, said Mr. Badal.

Explaining the details of the project Mr. Harsh Verma, Executive Director of UNWTO informed that this Tourism Development Plan would be prepared for next 15 years i.e. 2008-23, which would define Tourism policy and strategy, identify tourism products and services and develop these in a persisting manner besides, a five-years marketing action programme, two pilot demonstration projects and a training programme on destination development & management would also be chalked out. The project would also include series of initiatives to bring together the tourism private sector and the Government to realize its full potential, said Mr. Verma.

Punjab's tourism resources cover an extensive range: religious, heritage/cultural, natural, medical and commercial. When combined with a very warm and hospitable people and a wide variety of folklore, these resources provide Punjab with an outstanding opportunity to develop and sustain a major and diversified tourism sector with resultant economic and social benefits for the people of the State.

As the birthplace of Sikhism, visitor flows are dominated by Sikhs- from within the State, elsewhere in India and from the estimated 10 million strong Sikh diaspora around the world. They are drawn by devotion to the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the many other Gurdwaras around the State, and on pilgrimage routes such as to the site of the first guru's enlightenment at Sultanpur Lodhi.

The waterways of Punjab are the lifeblood of the State providing irrigation to vast tracts of farm land. The rivers- the Beas, the Satluj and the Kanjli- along with the extensive canal system serve to attract large colonies of migratory birds in the winter (in particular at the wetland of Harike, Kanjli and Ropar wetlands). The natural beauty of the areas created by the Ranjit Sagar Dam and Talwara Lake (Pong Dam) offers strong prima facie opportunity for the development of an upscale resort, a wide range of boating opportunities and ecotourism activities.

Prominent amongst those who were present on the occasion included Tourism & Cultural Affairs Minister Mr. Hira Singh Gabaria, Chief Secretary Mr. R.I. Singh, Secretary Tourism Mr. D.P. Reddy, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and MD PIDB Mr. S.S. Sandhu, Mr. Parveen Kumar and Mr. Gagandeep Singh (both Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister) and Director Information and Public Relations Punjab Mr. Tejvir Singh beside senior functionaries of the state administration.



Chandigarh, January 11:

The Irrigation Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational Programme for irrigation for the current Rabi Season through canal water from 14th January to 21st January, 2008. The channels of Sirhind Canal System would run on priority basis from Bhatinda Branch, Bist Doab Canal, Sidhwan Branch, Abohar Branch and Patiala feeder respectively.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman of the Irrigation department said that direct distributaries of Bhakra Main Line, being in the first preference would run to their indent. Balance water supplies would be utilised in Ghaggar link and its off taking channels i.e. Ghaggar Branch and Patiala Minor in group 'B' respectively.

He further added that the Punjab channels off taking from Harike and Ferozepur Head Works & Branches i.e. all the direct distributaries of Sirhind Feeder in group "A" being in the first preference, would run to their indent. Balance water supplies would be utilised in Abohar Branch off taking from Sirhind Feeder and its distributaries/minors in group "B".

He also said that the channels off taking from Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) Kasur Branch Lower with its distributaries being in first preference would run to their indent. Balance surplus water available would be utilised in Sabraon Branch, Lahore Branch, Main Branch Lower and with their distributaries respectively.



CHANDIGARH, 11 January 2008:

In a major relief to Industry and Small & Medium Investors in the real estate sector, Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today announced a comprehensive package for slashing the existing rates of External Development Charges (EDC) and Change of Land use (CLU) within the state.

Addressing the media persons at Punjab Bhawan, Mr. Badal informed that in free enterprise zone within periphery and in industrial zone of Local Planning Area of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, EDC had been reduced from Rs.53.51 lakh per acre to Rs.5.50 lakh per acre. In the rest of the State there would be no CLU charges on industry and EDC had been reduced from Rs.30 lakh per acre to Rs.1 lakh per acre, added Mr. Badal. He further said that the industry would also include warehousing, logistics and IT Parks etc and notification regarding all these concessions would be issued within a day.

On behalf of the Chief Minister, Secretary Housing & Urban Development Mr. Arun Goel informed the Media persons that EDC, CLU Charges on petrol pumps and gas godowns had been reduced from Rs.334 lakh to Rs.35 lakh per acre in periphery and from Rs.175 lakh to Rs.21 lakh per acre in medium potential zone and from Rs.105 lakh to Rs.7 lakh in the low potential zone. Petrol pumps and gas godowns would no longer be required to obtain CLU, the Deputy Commissioner had been authorized to give final NOC, added Mr. Goel.

In a major relief to Educational Institutions the charges have been reduced from Rs.42.70 lakh per acre to Rs.8.18 lakh per acre in periphery, from Rs.38.50 lakh per acre to Rs.6.94 lakh per acre around Municipal Corporation towns and from Rs.25.50 lakh per acre to Rs.1.79 lakh per acre in the rest of the State.

To encourage sports infrastructure in the State, charges have been reduced from Rs.57.84 lakh per acre to Rs.50,000 per acre. Charges for Hospitals and Hotels have been reduced from Rs.42.70 lakh per acre to Rs.15.85 lakh per acre in periphery and from Rs.25.50 lakh per acre to Rs.3.33 lakh per acre in most of the Punjab.

In a major step to attract investment and channelize land from unproductive use into productive hands, hospitals, institutions, film/media centres and hotels have been allowed up to 25% of the industrial component of industry parks. Residential colonies, less than 10 acres, who had applied before 16.07.2007 would be granted licenses, irrespective of size. In periphery, stand alone commercial centres, multiplexes would now be allowed in a minimum of 5 acres against the previous 10 acres.



(Punjab to appoint 24 ASPs)


The Punjab Government would appoint 24 new Assistant Superintendent Prisons (ASPs) soon to streamline the functioning of the Jails in the state.

A decision to this effect has been taken at a high level meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal regarding the Jail administration in the state here late last evening.

Mr. Badal asked the Senior Jail Officers to initiate measures to tone up the Jail Administration in an effective manner to avoid such unruly incidents that had recently happened in Jalandhar Central Jail. He said that in order to meet with the new challenges efficaciously, the Jail administration requires immediate Jail reforms in terms of ensuring basic requirements in jails like fresh and clean drinking water, flush system in toilets, sewerage, Tube well and water tanks etc. The Chief Minister has also directed the finance department to release Rs. 11 crore immediately for providing these facilities to the Inmates beside Rs. 25 lac for the repair work of the damage caused by the inmates' rampage in Jalandhar Jail.

Regarding the over crowding in most of the Jails Mr. Badal said that Punjab Government had already announced the construction of new Jails at Faridkot and Kapurthala to substitute Jalandhar and faridkot Jails. These Jails would accommodate about 3000 prisoners, plans had been finalized to complete these jails by the beginning of 2009.

Prominent amongst those who were present in the meeting included Jails, Tourism & Cultural Affairs Minister Mr. Hira Singh Gabria,Chief Secretary Mr. RI Singh, Principal Secretary Home Affairs and Justice Dr. BC Gupta, Director General of Police (Prisons) Mohamad Izhar Alam, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Parveen Kumar beside senior functionaries of the state administration and Jail Superintendents from variou s Central Jails of Punjab.

Later, while presiding over another meeting Mr. Badal asked the Forest Department to workout a comprehensive strategy to maintain the Panj Piaras Park at Sri Anandpur Sahib. He also approved the Rs.28.33 lac rehabilitation plan prepared by the Forest Department which included fencing, earth work for removal of deep rooted weeds, plantation of trees, lights, gates, iron railing, repair of fountains, fixing of red stone and Payment of pending electricity bill along the renewal of the connection etc.




Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal today sought whole-hearted cooperation from the people to successfully run the SAD-BJP government because it was the people's government for people's welfare and we were merely their representatives who have been elected through their mandate.

These views were expressed by Mr.Badal while dedicating the ultra modern Amar Shaheed Sukhdev Interstate Bus Terminal at cost of Rs.21 crore on BOT basis. He said that Government, Official machinery and Public were the three integral organs of the state administration. Mr.Badal said: "any government could not function efficiently unless there is completely harmony and cohesiveness amongst these organs". The Chief Minister also asked the officers of both and civil administration to pay due respect and regard to the party workers of SAD-BJP and said that the Government would suitably reward such deserving officers who comply with these instructions in true spirit.

Mr.Badal lauded the Transport Minister Master Mohan Lal for naming this ultra-modern interstate bus terminus after great martyr Amar Shaheed Sukhdev. He said that it was a right step to perpetuate the memory of national heroes and to infuse the spirit of patriotism amongst the youth. He also announced a grant of Rs.10 lakh for the maintenance and preservation of the native house of great martyr Sukhdev which would be developed into a memorial. He said that the previous government had ignored these martyrs and it was the pious duty of our government to pay befitting tributes to them by putting up suitable memorials. He said that more than 80% sacrifices in the terms of executions and imprisonment made by our forefathers during the freedom struggle were from Punjab. He said that Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev, Lala Lajpat Rai, Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarbha and Shaheed Udham Singh were amongst the legendary heroes who made supreme sacrifices to free our mother from the clutches of British.

Mr.Badal bemoaned that the dreams and the aspirations of our freedom fighters had not yet been cherished because they wished for a nation free from illiteracy and unemployment. Mr.Badal said: "60 years have passed after freedom and yet we have not been able to provide our public with the basic amenities of healthcare, education, drinking water and electricity". He said that almost 30% of country's population was living in penury and just thriving on a daily wages of Rs.20. He held the congress government responsible for this social divide which ruled our country for more than 50 years. "Why congress was not sensitize to the basic problems of a common man", asked Mr.Badal. The Chief Minister said that it was Congress government's deliberate effort to create a wedge between rich and poor because it always followed the policy of divide and rule to pursue their vested interests and common man's welfare was never a part of their political agenda.

Mr.Badal said that our government since inception had taken several initiatives for the overall development of the state and the welfare of people. He said that SAD was a party of grass root people and we were committed to serve them in the right earnest. He said that our government had taken various measures to ensure development in the facets of power, industry, agriculture, education, infrastructure and health care. Ruling out any sort of financial crisis in the state, Mr.Badal confidently said that the economic position of the state was stable. He said that the several on-going development projects and welfare programmes were a testimony to this fact. He squarely blamed the congress government led by Capt. Amarinder Singh for pushing down the state at 5 th and 6th slot which was at No.1 in 2002 when our SAD-BJP government demitted office. He reiterated that our government was committed to make Punjab as front runner state thereby relegating it at No.1 .

Later, Mr.Badal alongwith Mr.Mohan Lal flagged off a fleet of 40 new PUNBUS buses.

Speaking on the occasion, State Transport Minister Master Mohan Lal said that the Transport Department had chalked out an ambitious programme to modernize and upgrade the 32 bus stands in the state on the Built Operate and Transfer basis. He said that bus terminals at Pathankot, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana had been made operational and Phagwara would be would be dedicated on January 16. He also said that Rajpura bus stand would be dedicated soon to the public and at a world class bus stand at the holy town of Anandpur Sahib would be developed on the priority. He informed that all the up-coming new bus stands would be named after the great martyrs and warriors for their heroic deeds.

Master Mohan Lal mentioned that the new bus terminus at Ludhiana with ultra-modern facilities would result in hassle free movement of 3800 buses with an influx of 1.25 lakh passengers every day. He said that with the commissioning of this prestigious project the long pending demand of the local residents had been fulfilled. He thanked Mr.Badal for formulating a pro-passenger and passenger-friendly new transport policy aimed at providing best public transport services at the affordable rates. He said that the state government would soon press in 200 AC buses at a normal fair to enable the common man to travel in AC buses.

Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included President BJP Punjab Unit Prof.Rajinder Bhandari, BJP, Deputy Speaker Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Attwal, veteran Akali Dal leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Tourism Minister Hira Singh Gabria, MP from Ludhiana SS Dhillon, nephew of Shaheed Sukhdev Vinod Thapar and District President Om Praksh Bhardwaj. The function was also attended by Deputy Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha Satpal Gosian, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Mr.Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, General Secretary SAD Maheshinder Singh Grewal, former Minister Jagdish Singh Garcha besides senior leaders and party workers of SAD-BJP. Principal Secretary Transport DS Jaspal, State Transport Commissioner Venkat Rattanam and Director Transport Mandeep Singh were amongst the senior officers of the district civil and police administration.