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July, 2008





Road infrastructure in Punjab is all set for a transformation through new express ways, state highways and modernization of existing key linkages along global standards. The ambitious initiative with an out lay of Rs 3000 crore was kick started with the laying of foundation stone of Ludhiana – Malerkotla- Sangrur 4 lane express way by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal at Malerkotla this morning. This segment alone stretching about 72 km would cost Rs 226 crore, according to Media Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. H S Bains.

Addressing a well-attended function on this occasion, the Chief Minister said that the SAD-BJP Government had planned a network of Greenfield Express Ways in addition to upgradation of the existing infrastructure. "The scale of fiscal lay out for this initiative is unprecedented in the history of the state and would well cross the Rs 3000 crore mark presently envisaged", said Mr. Badal. With the upgradation of this critical surface transport artery, the travel time between these three major towns of the Punjab would be reduced by a substantial 45 minutes, resulting in crucial savings in terms of fuel and other attendant expenditures.

On this occasion Mr. Badal was accompanied by Senior Akali Leader and Member Parliament Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and PWD Minister Mr. Parminder Singh Dhindsa.

It may be recalled that World Class Super Express Highway connecting the Mohali International Airport with Jalandhar and Amritsar via Phagwara is all set to start very shortly and is expected not only to showcase Punjab new surface transport dynamism, but also to open up an entire new belt for economic boom. A similar Super Express Highway would also role between Mohali International Airport and the Industrial hub in Baddi (Himachal Pradesh).

This road Project has been divided into two phases. Under Phase I the civil works on 700 kms of plan road length is underway. The physical works comprise of about 150 km of Upgradation (3 Works) , 200 km of rehabilitation (6 Works) and 350 km of periodic maintenance (10 Works) . Out of these works under Periodic Maintenance have been successfully completed and the Rehabilitation and Upgradation works are currently in the execution stage. Major works in this phase involving widening to 4 lane or 2 lane with paved shoulders are Ludhiana-Malerkotla-Sangrur Road (project cost of Rs. 226 crores and four laning length of 40 kms) and Kharar-Banur-Tepla Road (Length 40 km, project cost of Rs. 109 crores and four laning length of 9 kms).

Other important corridors which involve 2 laning with 1.5m gravel shoulders and an overlay of 40 mm Bituminous Concrete are the rehabilitation works comprising of Kapurthala-Tarn Taran-Attari Chabal Road (Length 88 kms, completion of Tarn Taran Attari Chabal stretch of road by Dec, 2008 and the rest by mid 2009), Phillaur Nagar-Aur-Rahon Road (Length 33 kms and target completion date of mid 2009), Ferozepur-Zira-Dharamkot Road (Length 60 kms and target completion date of mid 2009) and Chandigarh-Sirhind-Patiala Road (length 65 kms and completion of Sirhind Patiala section by year end and the rest by mid 2009).

Phase II of the project would comprise of network management of about 650 km of roads to be taken under Output & Performance Based Road Contracting (OPRC). This is new form of contracting in which the payments to the contractor shall be made based upon the performance of the road instead of the quantity of work executed. The roads under this pilot shall primarily be from southern part of Punjab comprising of Sangrur, Bathinda, Mansa and Barnala districts. The consultancy agreement for OPRC has been signed and the works under this phase are likely to start by mid 2009.

Meanwhile replying to a question of a media person the Chief Minister said that in case of any irregularity in Wakf Board's funds was brought to the government's notice, the matter would be thoroughly investigated.

Replying to an other question on the levy of toll tax, Mr. Badal said that it was the gift given by the previous congress government, as the provision of this toll tax was an integral part of the tenders flouted by the last government for inviting bids from the executive agencies. Asked to clarify the state government's stand on federalism, Mr. Badal said that our party SAD had been a votary of true federalism and always advocated that the states should be given more autonomy, so that they could implement the development programs as per the needs of the people.


Chandigarh, July 31 2008, 2008

Pushpajeet Sahi, wife of former IAS Officer GPS Sahi passed away here today after a protracted illness. 61 year old Mrs. Sahi had recently retired from the Indian Revenue Service after having served in important senior positions, including Chief Commissioner, Income Tax. She had also served as Deputy Director (Administration) in PGI, Chandigarh.

Her cremation in Chandigarh was attended this evening by a large number of distinguished personalities, including political leaders, serving and retired civil servants, members of the legal fraternity, doctors and other dignitaries. Punjab Chief Secretary RI Singh and President of Punjab IAS Officers Association Tejinder Kaur were among those who were present on the occasion.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal expressed his deep condolences to the bereaved family at the untimely demised of Mrs. Sahi.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today virtually sounded a bugle for the next Parliamentary elections and appealed the people to get ready to oust Congress in order to pave a way for the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government at Centre for seeking justice and equity for the long pending demands of the state be it economic, agriculture, industry, inter-state issues etc. which had been blatantly ignored by the Congress for its apathetic attitude prejudicial towards the legitimate rights of the state.

Addressing a massive gathering at State level function held at sunam grain market after paying the floral tributes to Shaheed Udham Singh, Mr. Badal said that the people of Punjab had lot of expectations from the UPA government but they were completely dejected due to the step motherly treatment meted out to our state despite the Punjabi Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the helm of affairs. Clarifying SAD's stand on casting a trust vote against UPA government, Mr. Badal said that it was a unanimous decision taken at the party level based on strong convictions that how the state was subjected to sheer discrimination by the Centre at all fronts. He cited the example how Punjab was completely ignored in the Centre's debt waiver scheme of Rs.71000 crore where it could managed to get just 1% and likewise hardly 1% was allotted to the state out of Central grant of Rs.3125 crore earmarked for the development of agriculture in all the states despite our significant contributions of 60% of food grain in the national pool. Similarly the state had been denied its due share in the Central government schemes of Pardhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana and Rajiv Gandhi Vidhutikaran Yojana due to the stringent conditions laid down by the GoI. He said: "It is all done deliberately to keep Punjab out of these schemes by stipulating hard parameters because the state had already laid a network of link roads in villages and rural electrification way back in seventies. It implies that the growth and development achieved by us at our expanse has today become an impediment in our way for seeking additional grants and funds for centrally sponsored schemes".

On agriculture front, Mr. Badal pleaded that states should not beg for remunerative MSP for the crops rather Centre should evolve a permanent solution either linking it with the consumer price index or MSP should be equal to the cost of production plus 50% as recommended by an eminent farm economist Dr.MS Swaminathan. 'Had Congress serious to the core the farming community of Punjab had not been pushed deep into the vicious circle of debt trap', said Mr.Badal. He said that agriculture was no more a profitable occupation due to the negligible returns out of it due to non remunerative and stagnant minimum support price (MSP) for which Centre had always adopted an approach of 'negativism'. He said that our farmers even after exhausting all its natural resources in terms of ground water and soil texture had contributed significantly towards the national food pool but what we got in return except penury, humiliation and depression which had forced our farmers to end their lives by committing suicides.

Admiring the role of Punjabis in the freedom struggle, Mr. Badal said that Punjabis have not only played a vanguard role in the Indian Independence movement but also made outstanding contribution for maintaining the hard earned freedom and ushering an era of overall development of the State. He said that it was the pious duty of everyone to nurture the feeling of nationalism amongst our youth through the commemoration of such occasions in a befitting manner by paying homage to the great warriors and patriots like Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Shaheed Udham Singh. He appealed to the younger generation to draw inspiration and the spirit of patriotism and nationalism from the supreme sacrifices made by our great martyrs during the freedom struggle of India.

While unveiling a life size statue of Shaheed Udham Singh here at ITI Chowk, Mr. Badal said that it was our bounden duty to construct such monuments in the memory of our martyrs who made supreme sacrifices to liberate our country from the clutches of imperialism and colonialism and inspired the future generations with the values of patriotism and nationalism. It may be recalled that this statue had been got installed by the State Information & Public Relations department at a cost of Rs.18 lakh.

Unfolding the plans for over all round development and progress in the state, Mr. Badal said that Punjab would be transformed from a power deficit to power surplus state within next four years. He mentioned that three new thermal plants at Rajpura, Mansa, Goindwal Sahib and Giddherbaha would be set up in the state to overcome the shortage of power supply in the state. He hoped that the day was not very far off when Punjab would be selling extra Power to the other states. He said that as on today our State was short of 30% of power and would soon augment the power supply in a phased manner. He said Once Punjab becomes self reliant in power consequently it would kick of industrialization at a quicker pace. Mr. Badal categorically said that industrialization was the only answer to get rid of state's stagnated economy because agriculture had already reached a point of saturation. The rural road network was also being strengthened with 7200 KMs of link roads at a cost of Rs.450 crore. He said that the state Irrigation and Drainage Department had undertaken a massive programme at a cost of Rs.3200 crore for the de-silting and lining of the canals and water courses to enhance the intake capacity of water for irrigation purposes by atleast 30% especially at the tail ends in the Malwa region.

On the occasion the Chief Minister honoured the lineal decedents of Shaheed Udham Singh and announced a grant of Rs.13.5 crore for the provision of drinking water and sewerage facility for the Sunam town. He also declared that Sunam has been included as one of 6 major towns in the state for the upgradation of civic infrastructure by the local government department.

Speaking on the occasion, Member Parliament and Secretary General Shiromani Akali Dal Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said that the history of Indian freedom movement was replete with saga of numerous sacrifices made by the unsung heroes from time immemorial during the national freedom struggle but we had a short memory and seldom remember our freedom fighters who laid down their lives for achieving the ultimate goal of Independence. He urged the Chief Minister to establish contacts with the wards of Shaheed Udham Singh who were reportedly living in United States through the Ministry of External Affairs GoI to bring them back in Punjab to suitably honour them. The whereabouts and the antecedents of the progeny of Shaheed Udham Singh were established on the basis of research conducted by local based Prof.Sikandar Singh.

National General Secretary of BJP Balbir Punj said that the real tribute to the great Martyr Udham Singh would be to implement the change in name of Sunam to Sunam Udham Singh Wala in the right earnest to which a notification had already been issued by the GoI.

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Mr. Manoranjan Kalia also paid glorious tributes to Shaheed Udham Singh and said that their unparalleled sacrifices of great patriots like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev would ever act as a source of inspiration for our youth to serve their motherland. He emphasized the need to rewrite the history of India in the Indian context because the present Indian history had a impact of British. To substantiate his claim he cited a classic example of war of mutiny of 1857 as mentioned by Britishers in the Indian history where as it was the first war of independence from the India's point of view.

Earlier, in his welcome address local MLA and PWD (B&R) Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa also paid glowing tributes to Shaheed Udham Singh and described him a great martyr. He profusely thanked Mr. Badal for the installation of statue of great son of Punjab thereby acceding to the long pending demand of the region. He also mentioned that the design and the pattern of the statue had been approved by the Committee based on the documentary references from Archives Museum, Amritsar.

Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included General Secretary BJP State Unit Kamal Sharma, Gobind Singh Kanjla and Gobind Singh Longowal (both ex-Ministers), Senior leader Indian National Lok Dal Ajay Chautala, Vice President SAD Parkash Chand Garg, Ex Adminstrative Member PSEB Gurbachan Singh Bhattiwal, Ex-Member SGPC Tek Singh Dhanula and senior leadership and party workers of SAD-BJP besides the members of the SGPC were also attended the function.

City Bus Services to be launched From Jalandhar by Mid- August- Kalia

Chandigarh, July 31, 2008
Naginder Singh

Keeping in view to provide better Local Bus Services to commuters Punjab Government would launch Pilot project of city bus service from Jalandhar by mid-August.

Disclosing this here today Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Local Government Minister Punjab said that the pilot project was being implemented under a sustainable public-private partnership (PPP). He said Jalandhar was all set to have a fleet of 16 Buses which would cover four routes.

Mr. Kalia said that buses to be inducted would be pre-fabricated modern, high quality, low floor with wide doors to make boarding easier for children and the elderly. The buses would have seating capacity of 40 commuters and equal number of those standing.

Mr. Kalia further stated that for the convenience of passengers, about 120 good quality stainless steel bus-queue shelters have been planned in Jalandhar and were in advanced stage of completion. These shelters would be fitted with modern features like online Global Positioning System (GPS) which would provide information to waiting passengers regarding the exact time of arrival of the bus. Each shelter would cost about Rs. 10 laks which would generate revenue to the tune of Rs. 10,000 per month from advertisements.

Besides this Mr. Kalia said that modern hand-held electronic ticketing machines would also be linked to data-centre to monitor the rush and inflow of cash. After Jalandhar city bus service scheme would be launched in Ludhiana and Amritsar districts also.


Mjithia lambasted on Bhattal for Issuing Provocative Statement

Chandigarh, July 31, 2008

Reacting sharply to the provocative statement of Punjab Pardesh Congress President and leader of opposition Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in the assembly regarding the apprehensions of revival of terrorism in the State during the regime of SAD/BJP alliance, Mr. Bikram Singh, Majithia, Information and Public Relations Minister Punjab, & Patron of Youth Akali Dal, said that Mrs. Bhattal should check the records before issuing such irresponsible statements which could jeopardize the hard earned peace in the State.

In a Statement issued here today Mr. Majithia said that Mrs. Bhattal should realize that her Congress party was the mother of terrorism in the State.

He said," out burst of Mrs Bhattal was clearly understandable because she and her Congress party had faced debacle after debacle in the last assembly elections than consequently in corporations, Block Samities and Zila parishads, Panchayat and recently in Muncipal Committees which has led to utter despair and frustration in the rank and file of the Congress party".

Mr. Majithia categorically stated that the Congress was bereft of any Political agenda and they were now indulging in mud slinging and casting aspersion on the superb performance of SAD/BJP Government in the State.

Citing another reason to the growing desperation day in and day out Mr. Majithia said that Congress was almost sure of its crushing defeat at the hands of SAD/BJP alliance in the ensuring Parliamentary Elections.

He advised Mrs. Bhattal to instead of casting derogatory remarks on the credentials of the party like SAD which had always stood solidly against the divisive and antinational forces in an Endeavour to maintain the communal harmony peace and brotherhood in the State.

Mr. Majithia further asked Mrs. Bhattal to set her own house in order rather accusing Akalies for their (Congress) follies, with a deliberate attempt to tarnish the Sanguine image of the SAD.

"It is on the record that whenever SAD/BJP alliance Government came into power the State witnessed unprecedented Development on the Contrary the Congress Party always pushed the State at the brink of economic backwardness due to their wrong policies and vested interests.

Mr. Majithia said that Mrs. Bhattal by issuing such Statements could not befool the people of Punjab any more because now they were wise enough who was the perpetrator of the terrorism in the State/Congress or Akalies.




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