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June, 2008



Chandigarh June 07

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal said here today that the Centre's reported of refusal to exclude Punjab from an agricultural package would not only dampen the morale of the farmers from the State but would also negatively impact the farm market sentiments.

Mr.Badal was commenting on the statement of the Union Finance Minister Mr. P.Chidambram in which the letter ruled out any economic package for the Punjab farmers despite their record performance in wheat production this year.

Meanwhile the Chief Minister also pressed for the inclusion of the State in National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Rice during the current Kharif session. He also demanded that the entire State be covered under the National Mission for Wheat also Wheat so as to improve ecological sustainability of agriculture in the State in view of Punjab's immense contribution of over 40% of Rice in the Central pool and the highest ever procurement of over 105 lac MT of wheat this year.

In a statement released here today, Mr.Badal lamented that Punjab had been excluded from the Mission which was aimed at improving the productivity of paddy in those districts which had less yield than the State's overall average..

It may be pointed out that the Govt.of India had selected 133 districts of different State for implementing the National Mission on Rice during the current Kharif session, but no district from Punjab has been included in this programme.

Nine districts of the State, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Ropar, Mohali, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Kapurthala had recorded less yield of paddy than the State's average. Mr.Badal said that the State had to over-exploit ground water resources to sustain the present productivity level. Besides, System of Rice-Intensification (SRI) had already been initiated in some districts like Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, and Amritsar and the results were quite encouraging, resulting in the saving of over 35% of irrigation water and increase in its yield potential over the traditional methods of plantation.

It may be recalled that the Mission was being implemented in ten districts of the State for increasing the productivity and production of wheat crop. The State has implemented this programme with full vigor and spirit and that had resulted in tangible outcome in the concerned districts. In view of the demand of farmers, the same interventions have been made in the remaining 10 districts of the State, although it had to be done from the State's own resources, concluded Mr.Badal.

Centre trying to pass the buck on fuel fiasco to states


Chandigarh June 7 - Member of Parliament and Shiromani Akali Dal President Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today criticized the centre for asking the states to bear the brunt of its disastrous economic policies and said that the moves in this direction were "an extreme example of the centre trying to pass the buck for its gross failures on the economic front to the state governments."
In a statement released here this afternoon, the youthful Akali supremo said, "The centre's homilies are especially irrelevant and uncalled for in the case of Punjab where the government has already initiated unprecedented schemes like free power to farmers and Dalits and cheap atta-daal for the poor. It is in fact for the centre to do something to match the example set by the Punjab government in reducing the burden on the poor and the common man." Mr. Badal pointed out that controlling prices was entirely in the hands of the centre since it had control over the prices of both the inputs and the produce. "But they have been unsuccessfully trying to blame the states for the burgeoning pace of inflation. If the UPA seriously believes that it can not manage the national economy on its own, it should step aside and allow other parties to set the country's fiscal house in order before the people force this change," said Mr. Badal.
The SAD president further said that the government of India's economic policies had always been biased against any fiscal freedom to the states. Provinces were given hardly any space to make development plans peculiar to their needs. While there was a premium on backwardness and lethargy, states which performed better were penalized for their performance by denying them funds for speeding up development activity. Centre controls 70% of revenue resources and it now expects us to fund its fiscal incompetence from the 30% left with the states. " It is utterly unfair and unjustifiable for the centre to first fatten its own kitty through steep hike in fuel prices, pushing the common man to the brink of crisis, and then to expect the state governments to cushion the oil shock by sacrificing their meager resources meant for development and the welfare of the poor and the common man."
The SAD chief was reacting to a reported communication from the Union Petroleum Minister Mr. Murli Deora to the state governments asking them to " moderate their sales tax structures and to forego the incremental tax on increased prices."
He said that the fuel price-hike was in fact going to add to the woes of the state governments which were already reeling under unjust dispensation of distribution of resources between the Centre and the states.
The Akali chief further said that the centre should have acted in time to rationalize oil price structure by making necessary adjustments in fiscal allocation, especially with regard to import of crude oil.
Also, the centre needed to make a long term policy for energy diversification through a gainful utilization of local resources, especially on the non-conventional front. "Nothing of the kind is being done. On the contrary, the centre merely expects the states to bail it out of the mess created by its short-sighted economic policies," concluded the Akali president.


Chandigarh June 7, 2008

– The Punjab government today clarified that there was no shortage of DAP in the state and the government had made adequate arrangements for the supply of the fertilizer to the Punjab farmers during the ensuing paddy season.

"The Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal had camped in New Delhi for three days last month to get an assurance on the subject at the level of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the concerned ministries. As per the commitments made by the Union Government, Punjab is very comfortably placed in the supply of this critical input," the C.M.'s Media Advisor Mr. Harcharan Bains told newsmen here today, categorically dispelling any possible apprehensions about shortage of the fertilizer both for paddy and cotton operations.

Giving details of the present status of the DAP availability and future supplies, Mr. Bains said that said that the Chief Minister had sought a supply of 77, 000 Metric Tons of DAP for the current season and that the centre had promised a timely supply of the same to the state. Of this, three rakes of 2500 MT each had already arrived for Ludhiana, Mukatsar and Jalandhar while three others of the same quantity were on the way from Mundra for the districts of Nawanshehar, Bathinda and Batala. The total requirement for the month of June is 30,000 MTs. The Government of India had already directed the Ministry of Railways to ensure timely dispatch of the total supply.

Mr. Bains said that the Union Railways Minister Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav had assured Mr. Badal during their meeting in New Delhi last week that the movement of DAP to Punjab would be the first priority of his ministry as it concerned the critical issue of food security for the whole country. "If necessary, we would not hesitate to reschedule trains to ensure that the fertilizer supplies reached the Punjab farmers well ahead of time," Mr. Lalu Yadav had told Mr. Badal. All the major suppliers of the DAP, namely IPL, IFFCO, GSFC and the Tatas had been assured that there would be no bottlenecks in evacuating the fertilizer from their plants to Punjab, Mr. Bains added.


Chandigarh June 7, 2008

The State Election Commission, Punjab today announced to hold the general elections of all such remaining Gram Panchayats on Sunday 22nd June, 2008 where the polls were earlier postponed or countermanded.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the State Election Commission, Punjab said that the general elections to Gram Panchayats in the State were held on 26.5.2008. The general elections to some erstwhile Gram Panchayats, which have been split into two or more new Gram Panchayats on or after 11.4.2008, were postponed and election to various Gram Panchayats had also been countermanded by the State Election Commission on representations from public or by the District Electoral Officers-cum-Deputy Commissioners or their representatives pursuant to the directions given by the Hon'ble Punjab & Haryana High Court.

He further added that in pursuance of the provisions contained in Section 35 of the Punjab State Election Commission Act, 1994 (Punjab Act No.19 of 1994), the State Election Commission has appointed the following dates with respect to the election of those Gram Panchayats where the polls were earlier postponed or countermanded, with 9th June, 2008 as the first day of filing nominations.


(a) 12th June, 2008 (Thursday)

as the last date for making nominations;

(b) 13th June, 2008 (Friday)

as the date for the Scrutiny of nominations;

(c) 14th June, 2008 (Saturday)

as the last date for withdrawal of candidatures;

(d) 22nd June, 2008 (Sunday)

as the date on which a poll shall, if necessary be taken and;

(e) 24th June, 2008 (Tuesday)

as the date by which the election shall be completed.

Note: 14th June, 2008, is not a holiday under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, as such the withdrawal of Nominations will take place on that date.

In pursuance of the provisions of Section 57 of the Punjab State Election Commission Act, 1994 (Punjab Act No.19 of 1994), the Election Commission has fixed the poll hours from 8.00 AM to 4.00 PM during the polls on 22nd June, 2008 to conduct the general elections of the members of Gram Panchayats in the state.

The State Election Commission has also directed to all the District Magistrates in the State to declare ' Dry Day' on 22.6.2008 in the respective areas of districts in pursuance of the general elections in some of the Gram Panchayats which were to be held on 22.6.2008.





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