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July, 2008




A team of the Planning Commission of India led by Prof. VL Chopra, Member undertook the annual review of the performance of Punjab's State Plan for the year 2007-08 here today.

The Punjab Government team comprising Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh and senior officials of the State Government apprised the Planning Commission officials of the plan performance of the state in 2007-08. As per the data collected by the Punjab State Planning Board, the State incurred a Plan expenditure of Rs. 5184 crore against an original Plan allocation of Rs. 5111 crore which was subsequently revised to Rs. 5050 crore.

Expressing satisfaction on the State's overall plan performance in 2007-08, Prof. VL Chopra stated that it was necessary for Punjab to further consolidate its performance in the remaining years of the 11th Five Year Plan in order to regain its position as a premier State in the country. He urged the Chief Secretary to accord utmost priority to ensuring timely release of funds to the Administrative Departments by the State Government for the Departments to access their due share of funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes. The Member impressed upon the Punjab Government the need to not only achieve quantitative targets but also pay equal attention towards qualitative achievements. He reflected on the mismatch between the State's economic and social indicators and urged the State Government to devote greater attention to improving their health and educational indicators.

Chief Secretary RI Singh assured the delegation that the State Government was fully conscious of the problem areas and had taken steps to streamline the working of important national flagship programmes such as Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan (SSA), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) among others. The State Government would ensure timely release of State share of Centrally Sponsored Schemes in order to optimally access the due central share, he stated. He also highlighted before the visiting delegation some of the unfavourable criteria in various Centrally-sponsored schemes which Punjab had taken up with various line Ministries in the Government of India. Prof. Chopra asked the State Government to send a detailed note on the subject so that the Planning Commission could help facilitate early clearances from Government of India.

Earlier, Prof. Chopra called on Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and briefly discussed some of the significant issues related to Punjab's economy.

Among those who attended the day-long meeting were Alka Sirohi, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission, DS Kalha, Principal Secretary Finance, Satish Chandra, Secretary Planning, Director Planning Tejveer Singh and all concerned Administrative Secretaries as well as officers of the Planning Commission and Punjab State Planning Board.



Making a strong plea for revolutionary initiatives for agricultural resurgence in Punjab, The Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today announced a series of measures to revamp farm economy through adoption of modern and scientific techniques.

Presiding over a day long interactive session with a cross section of progressive entrepreneurs from agriculture and allied fields. Mr. Badal have detailed discussions with the representatives from these fields to have first hand information about their problems and act on their suggestions.

Taking part in the deliberations, Mr. Badal asked the Financial Commissioner Development to undergo zoning of agriculture in the state in view of better prospects of certain crops in a particular areas depending upon the texture of the soil and the climatic conditions. He also emphasized the need to enact the Seed Act and Nursery Act to ensure the quality of the seeds and saplings to be provided to the farmers as per the stipulated high quality norms prescribed by the Punjab Agricultural University. He lamented the gross exploitation of the farmers by the seed firms which were supplying spurious quality seeds in the guise of hybrid ones.

The Chief Minister also directed the Vice Chancellor of PAU Ludhiana to strengthen its extension wing to bridge the knowledge gap between the experts and the farmers. Likewise, Mr. Badal also asked the directorate of state agriculture to depute its field staff to ensure close liaison with the farmers and update their knowledge on the quality of breeder seeds, pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers. Mr. Badal also underscored the need to bring awareness amongst the farming community about the pricing of their commodities which they produced. He however said that the time was not very far off when the Punjabi farmer would have to work out the economics of its produce after taking in to account the cost of agricultural inputs. He advocated the concept of direct selling of agricultural produce thereby eliminating the middlemen which was the need of the hour. He said that our farmers should be duly compensated for their toil and efforts put in by him for their produce.

Appreciating the conventional wisdom of the Punjabi farmer, Mr. Badal said that he (farmer) was ever ready to do any experiment or try innovation provided he was ensured remunerative return for that. "His innovative approach and adaptability to new farm practices resulted in first green revolution in the mid sixties and now Punjab needed a second push for second green revolution as Punjabi farmer had enormous capacity and capability to achieve it", said Mr. Badal.

The Chief Minister pointed out that a network of soil and water testing laboratories was being set up in the state to facilitate the farmers to get their quality of soil and water tested before sowing. He said that the government was contemplating to issue soil health card to the farmers to regularly monitor the level of micro nutrients and recommend suitable fertilizers in case of any deficiency. He also asked the agricultural department to encourage the allied farming activities amongst the farmers to achieve the targeted agriculture growth rate of 4%.

The Chief Minister also asked the Financial Commissioner Development to send a joint delegation of progressive farmers and the scientists of PAU and Guru Angad Dev University of Animal & Veterinary Sciences abroad to study the farm and dairy practices there and replicate here to improve the yield both qualitatively and quantitatively. He also impressed upon the progressive farmers to go for value addition as the cash crops like durum wheat and baby corn has wider acceptability in the international market. He cited the example of Pasta which was in great demand abroad and Punjab had a tremendous potential to produce it here and the state government was exploring the possibilities to have a joint venture of Pasta with Italy- that had a world wide brand patronage in pasta products.

Conceding the demands of the progressive farmers, Mr. Badal asked the agricultural department to devise ways and means to create a corpus fund to finance the freight expanses borne by the vegetable export growers which would be refunded by them within a period of three months to the state government. Mr. Badal also agreed to give certain amount of subsidies on the installation of cooling chambers and heating plants in the fields of vegetable growers. The first heating plant would be set up in Amritsar district as a 'pilot project'. The Punjab Agro Corporation would also provide reefer vans to the vegetable growers on the subsidized rates to dispatch their consignments at the cargo for export. The Mandi Board was also asked to provide steel structured green houses to the vegetable growers at the subsidized rates to ensure better quality of vegetables. Mr. Badal also agreed in principle to open grading-cum-waxing units for citrus fruits especially 'kinnow' to improve its prospects for export.

The representatives from the dairy and fishery sectors also highlighted their problems in the meeting. The dairy farmers impressed upon the Chief Minister for upward revision of milk rates in view of the recent escalation in the prices in green fodder and cattle feed. The Chief Minister asked Principal Secretary Animal Husbandry to formulate a self contained policy of dairy and fishery to the advantage of dairy and fish farmers.

Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting included Agricultural Minister Sucha Singh Langha, Media Advisor to Chief Minister Harcharan Bains, Chief Secretary RI Singh, Financial Commissioner Development RS Sandhu, Principal Secretary Animal Husbandry SC Aggarwal, Managing Director Punjab Agro SK Sandhu, Director Agriculture BS Sidhu, Director Horticulture Dr. Baldev Singh and Director Fisheries Darshan Singh Sayal.

The progressive farmers who attended the meeting included Jagjit Singh Hara, Ajminder Singh Grewal, Pawanjot Singh, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Jaspal Singh, Damajit Singh Thind, Kuldeep Singh, Sandeep Singh Randhawa, Mehraban Singh, Davinder Siongh,. Bhagwant Singh Ahluwalia, Anil Setia, Balwinder Singh Tikka, Sukhjit Singh Bhatti, Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha, Avtar Singh Dhindsa, Harinder Pal Singh Bajwa, Bhupinder Singh Randhawa, Karmvir Singh Sidhu, Gurinder Singh Sarai, Daljeet Singh Gill, Parminder Singh, Tej Singh, Ajit Inder Pal Singh Cheema, Manjit Singh Sandhu, Ranjit Singh Sidhu, Mohinder Arora and Satwinder Singh.


Chandigarh, July 7, 2008

The Punjab Government in line with the Reserve Bank of India has proposed to float a state loan of Rs. 500 crore to raise part of the barrowings through auction system.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the government said that the consent of the Central Government has already been obtained to the floatation of this loan required under Article 293 (3) of the constitution of India. The stocks would be of 10 years tenure and the tenure of the stock would commence on July 11, 2008. The loan would be repaid at par on July 11, 2018, he added. The interest however, would be paid every half yearly on January 11 and July 11.


CHANDIGARH, July 7, 2008

The Irrigation Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational irrigation Programme for the Kharif Season through Canal water from 8 July to 15 July, 2008. The channels of Sirhind Canal System would run on priority basis from Bist Doab Canal, Sidhwan Branch, Bhatinda 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, in Group 'A' 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.

The spokesman further said that the Punjab channels off taking from Harika 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".

The spokesman also said that the channels off taking from upper Bari Doab Canal i.e. Main Branch Lower with its distributaries being in first Preference would run to their indent. Balance Surplus water available would be utilised in Lahore Branch, Sabraon Branch, Kasur Branch Lower and with its distributaries.



Punjab Legal Services Authority has issued schedule of Quarterly Lok Adalats and Special Lok Adalats to be held in all over Punjab for the period from July to September, 2008.

Stating this here today, a spokesman of the Punjab Government said that Lok Adalats would be held at Mansa, Sardulgarh, Budhlada on 26.7.2008; Hoshiarpur, Garshankar, Dasuya, Amritsar, Patti, Ajnala, Baba Bakala, Tarn-Taran on 02-08-2008; Labour Court, Bathinda on 8-8-2008; Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi, Phagwara, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Malout, Gidderbaha on 9-8-2008; Bathinda, Talwandi Sabo, Rampura Phul, Fatehgarh Sahib, Amloh on 16-8-08; Ropar, Mohali, Anandpur Sahib, Kharar on 23-8-08; Labour Court Amritsar on 29-8-08; Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Nakodar, Phillour, Balachaur, Labour Court Jalandhar on 30-8-08; Labour Court Gurdaspur on 5-9-08; Gurdaspur, Batala, Pathankot on 6-9-08; Ludhiana, Jagraon, Khanna, Samrala, Labour Court Ludhiana on 13-9-08; Sangrur, Munak, Barnala, Malerkotla, Dhuri, Sunam, Ferozpur, Abohar, Fazilka, Zira, Jalalabad West on 20-9-08 and Patiala, Rajpura, Nabha, Samana, Labour Court Patiala on 27-9-08.

The Spokesman further said that Special Lok Adalats would be held for all types of Civil & Criminal Cases at Ropar on 23-8-08; Jalandhar on 30-8-08; Ludhiana on 13-9-08 and Patiala on 27-9-08. Adding further he said that the main objective of the Lok Adalats was to dispose of litigation on the spot and make it hassle free. It also saved the precious time and money spent on the litigating by public.

The spokesman said that this authority was constituted on 20-2-1998 and since then till date, the Authority has organized 4653 Lok Adalats in which 6,94,016 cases were taken up, out of which 3,83,363 cases were mutually settled and the parties were awarded compensation to the tune of Rs.1114, 45,23,921. He further said that from 1998 to the financial year 2007-08 legal aid was provided to 31,278 persons which includes 3846 persons belonging to ST/SC community, 15693 persons in custody, 3879 women and children and 7860 poor persons.


Ajit Kanwal Singh Hamdard

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today called for 'a culture of conscious, cordiality and understanding' among political parties.

Mr. Badal strongly decried 'the growing trends towards political confrontation, as witnessed in Punjab in recent years' and said that 'the creative energies' of the people, the politicians and the government must never be frittered away in futile enmities amongst leaders. The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering at a function organised by Shri Ram Navmi Utsav Committee, Jalandhar to honour the representatives of various Ram Lila and Dussehra Committees of the state here this after noon.

Mr. Badal said that the tendency among some political leaders to place personal agenda alone people's welfare had already resulted in considerable wastage of national time and energy and it is time to get back to an atmosphere where personal relations are befit free from political differences.

The Chief Minister also called for the consolidation of the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state and work with full dedication to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between all sections of the society to begin an era of world's exemplary peace, amity and multi dimensional growth in the country.

The Chief Minister said that Lord Sri Ram had showed us the path of ideal and virtuous living to carve out a prosperous and harmonious society. He said that to bring 'Ram Raj' back every one should follow the teachings of Lord Sri Ram in the real spirit, which were still relevant in the present materialistic society besides redeeming the mankind from the yoke of evils. He said that pious occasions like Ramnaumi, and Dussehra not only promote a sense of communal harmony and mutual understanding amongst the people but also showers joy and prosperity on them. He also appealed the people to celebrate these sacred days in unison and with religious fervour and gaiety rising above the petty considerations of caste, creed and religion.

Earlier, Mr. Badal paid obeisance to Lord Sri Ram by lighting a holy lamp in front of Lord Sri Rama's portrait and honoured the representatives of various Ram Lila and Dussehra Committees of the state. On this occasion Mr. Vijay Chopra, Chief Editor, Hind Samachar Group of News Papers presented a memento to the Chief Minister.

Amongst others who attended the function included Medical Education Minister Mr. Tiksan Sood, Revenue Minister Mr. Ajit Singh Kohar, Transport Minister Master Mohan Lal, Technical Education Minister Chaudhary Swarna Ram, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister Mr. Harcharan Bains, Mr. Swarn Singh Phillour and Mr. Avinash Chander both Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Balramji Dass Tandon, Mr. Kamal Chaudhary, Mr. Maninder Singh Bitta former Minister and Mr. Iqbal Singh former Member Parliament beside former leader of the opposition Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Baba Kashmira Singh Ji.


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