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Press release for Punjab Govt
Jan 19, 2008


(Punjab to issue long-term licenses to the Arhtias)


Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal here today announced a welfare package for the Farmers and Arhtias (Commission Agents) during an Arhtias-Kisan Sammelan, jointly organized by various Arhtias' and Farmers' organizations of Punjab.

While addressing a mammoth gathering Mr. Badal announced that the issue related to the direct payments to the farmers through cheques would not be made mandatory, as an experiment the farmers could opt for any mode of payment for their produce, as per their convenience. He said that he was fully familiar with of present poor economic condition of the farmers in the state. "Over a period of time, agriculture has become heavily over-capitalized, increasing per unit cost of production and heavy investments by individual farmers on farm machinery have contributed the alarming magnitude of farmers' indebtedness. He announced that the government would provide 30% subsidy for setting up of block level pools, equipped with common farm-machinery in the state and rest 70% would be made available through some Bank.

Underlining the need to give another push to one more Green Revolution in the state he said that SAD-BJP Government was fully committed for the welfare of the Farmers as well as Arhtias as both had age old socio-economic ties between them. He further said that Arhtias were licensees under section 10 of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961 and they were one of the most important stakeholders of the Agricultural system and working as facilitators between the buyer and seller of agricultural produce in the state.

He called for wholehearted support and co-operation to the state government for creating a congenial Farmer-Arhtia relationship for the agricultural development in the state. Pointing out some politically motivated forces for creating mischief between Farmer and Arhtia communities, Mr. Badal said that no one would be allowed to do so.

Mr. Badal said that conceding the demands of Arhtias on priority their government had amended the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing ( Sale and Transfer of Plots) Rules, 1999 and relaxed the conditions for the allotment of the plots to the Arhtias. Earlier, the eligible Arhtias had to pay reserve price alongwith the 35% of the additional amount as the price of the plot, that had now been slashed to reserve price plus 5% only said Mr. Badal.

He also announced that the state government would issue long-term licenses to the Arhtias having the validity for 20 years at a very nominal fee of Rs. 2000 only.

Regarding the delay in allotment of the plots, Mr. Badal said that under the amended rules in future the process of allotment would be completed within 31 days from the date of publication of the notice inviting applications. He also announced that if more than one firm were operating from a single shop, two plots would be allotted to these firms. Similarly, the discount of 2% as an incentive would be given to all the eligible Arhtia, who deposit the whole amount in one go. The minimum time period for the transfer of a plot once allotted had also been reduced from seven to five years.

Mr. Badal said that Market Committees in the State had also been directed not to suspend the license of any Arhtia on flimsy grounds, except this could only be done in case of some glaring discrepancy and violation of the terms of the license.

The condition of having a valid license for the past five years (from the date of publication of the notice inviting applications), has also been relaxed by the Punjab Government upto only 3 years to facilitate maximum number of Arhtias.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Balbir Singh Rajewal, President Bharti Kisan Union blamed the Centre Government for acting as a tool in the hands of some multi national companies which were out to capture the marketing net work system of the state. He said that presently existing procurement system in the state was perfect and satisfactory and there was no need to replace it.

Mr. Ravinder Singh Cheema, President Punjab Arhtias Association thanked the Chief Minister on behalf of the various Arhtias associations for conceding their demands and creating a harmonious environment to promote trade and agriculture in the state. On this occasion the members of the associations also honoured the Chief Minister for showing magnanimity towards the Farmer Arhtia communities.

Prominent amongst those who spoke on the occasion included. Secretary General, SAD and MP Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Senior Akali leaders and Ex- Minister Jathedear Tota Singh, BJP Leader Mr, Satwinder Singh Bhandari, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Mr. Sital Singh, Former Minister Mr. Chiranji Lal Garg and President Rice Millar Association Mr. Tarsem Lal Saini. Besides the senior leaders and party workers of the SAD-BJP who attended the Sammelan.


Chandigarh, January 19:

In order to bring down the pendency of criminal cases in the state of Punjab, ways and means have been discussed at length in a workshop, organized by Punjab State Legal Service Authority (PSLSA) attended by district and sessions Judges, Chief Judical Magistrats, Senior Superintendents of Police, District Attorneys Experts from Forensic lab etc, here today.

Addressing the inaugural session, Mr. Justice, Vijender Jain, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court said that people's faith in dispensation of Justice delivery system was eroded if there was delay in speedy disposal of cases. He said the initiative taken by judicial system in Haryana has shown considerable results in reducing the pendency of old criminal cases.

Giving more relevant reasons for delay in giving Justice Hon'ble Mr. Justice Jain said that, a witness after long delay in trial cannot suppose to remember the sequence of events in correct manner, non-production of witnesses, absconding of the accused, lack luster approach of investigating officers, delay in getting forensic Lab reports, inadequate number of Judges, adjournment culture. All these factors contribute in delay the successful termination of a trial. Today in this workshop all stake holders have joined their hands to resolve new methods and tools for efficent disposal of criminal cases and reduce the pendency of criminal cases in the Subordinate Courts in Punjab and Union Territory, of Chandigarh, he added.

Mr. Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court and executive Chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority said that the workshop had provided a forum through which the legal luminaries and police officers could jointly evolve a strategy to speed up the criminal Justice delivery system in Punjab.

Mr. Justice Gill said that Punjab State Legal Services Authority (PSLSA) has organized 4960 Lok Adalats of all kinds since the year 1991 till 30.10.2007, in which 718692 cases were taken up and 414989 cases were Mutually settled. The total number of beneficiaries who were provided with the help of free advocates and free Legal advice were 51762. PSLSA has till date organized 2736 seminars/Legal literacy camps all over the state of Punjab to generate legal awareness campaign among the masses and to eradicate social evils afflicting the state of Punjab especially aberrations like female foeticide and drug addiction, he added.

Mr. N.P.S. Aulakh, Director General of Police Punjab said that there was an urgent need to expedite the trial of criminal cases to keep the deterrent value of criminal law intact in the minds of criminals in particular and public in general.

Earlier the Chief Justice and D.G.P Punjab jointly light the ceremonial lamp to inaugurate the workshop.