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October, 2008



Chandigarh October 1, 2008

Paddy procurement has picked up momentum in Western Punjab with early arrival of paddy as 2.65 lac tones of paddy was procured in Punjab by yesterday.

According to an official spokesman by Tuesday on PUNGRAIN procured 60267 tonnes of paddy (25.5%) whereas MARKFED procured 66946 tonnes of paddy (28.3%) PUNSUP procured 47213 tonnes of paddy (20%) whereas Punjab State Warehousing Corporation procured 34806 tonnes of paddy (14.7%) besides 25410 tonnes of paddy (10.7%) procured by Punjab Agro. The Central Government Agency FCI procured only 1912 tonnes of paddy (0.8%). The Millers procured 29372 tonnes of paddy (11%) on the 1st day.

The mandis in Amritsar division recorded 1,20,452 tonnes of paddy with Tarn Taran recording maximum paddy on the 1st day to the tune of 44,833 tonnes. The mandis of Ferozepur division recorded 1,37,916 tonnes of paddy with maximum of 55881 tonnes of paddy being recorded by Ferozepur district.

The Punjab Food Supply had setup 1622 procurement centres throughout the state to ensure smooth procurement of paddy.

The spokesman said that farmers of the state have been assured payment of paddy procured by the government agencies within 48 hours of lifting of paddy from the procurement centres.

Punjab to establish seven mist chambers for producing quality seedlings

Chandigarh, October 1, 2008

The Punjab Forest Department would establish seven mist chambers at Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ropar, Moga, Phillaur and Bathinda to promote production of quality seedlings using clonal technology.

Disclosing this here today Mr. Tikshan Sud, Forest Minister said that in order to improve the tree planting stock in forests and farmers' fields the Department was all set to produce over 10.00 lakh clonal seedlings of fast-growing and economically important tree species such as Eucalyptus, Shisham and Drek. He said that these seedlings would be supplied to the farmers for planting in their fields at subsidized rates besides to be used for departmental plantation to enhance productivity.

The Forest Minister said that the clonal technology had been adopted by the Punjab Forest Department as it increases productivity of seedlings fourfold as compared to traditional method. The productivity of clonal plantations varies from 20 to 44 m­­³/ha/year compared to 6-10m3/ha/year of seed raised seedling plantations. He said that the growing of clonal trees would not only increase the income of the farmers from land under the agro-forestry systems, but would also help to diversify the land use. He said that agro forestry was becoming quite attractive for the farmers who want to switch away from the wheat/paddy cropping pattern as that it was fast becoming unsustainable and unprofitable for them. He said that increased paddy cultivation was also exhausting the nutrients and water table of the state soil.

Mr. Sud said that Punjab Forest Department has evolved a new agro-forestry model that allows a combination of crops along with trees and the State Forest Department was striving to achieve a target of 15% land area under tree cover and forests by the year 2017.

He said that with the increase in productivity through clonal plantations Punjab would have surplus wood to attract mega wood-based industries such as paper, pulp and plywood. The Forest Minister said that there were already 61.2 million trees existing outside the forests and the number is expected to increase to 100 million by 2010. Efforts were also afoot to involve the farmers in the campaign for clonal tree planting and the Department was expected to supply sufficient number of clonal seedlings in coming years from forest nurseries situated in different parts of the State, Mr. Sud added.


Chandigarh September 30, 2008

Punjab Government has issued a notification to rename the existing district Nawanshahr as 'Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar' with immediate effect.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the Punjab Government said that the copy of the notification has also been forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner of Nawanshahr to immediately effect the change in the relevant revenue record.


Patiala, September 30, 2008

Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today declared that the state government would not take any decision relating to unbundling of PSEB without taking board Engineers' into consultation.

Addressing the General Body Meeting of PSEB Engineers' Association here at Guru Teg Bahadur Hall in Punjabi University Patiala, Mr. Badal clarified that state government had not yet made up its mind for unbundling of State Electricity Board because the similar process initiated in few other states like Orissa, Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pardesh, Uttar Pardesh and Karnataka had evoked mixed response, as in some states it had proved to be successful and an utter failure in the rest. He said the state government was not keen to implement the process of unbundling rather it was far more interested in improving its financial health. He said , ' PSEB is one of the most efficient state electricity boards in the country with proven track record of expertise coupled with efficient man power and excellent infrastructure which could further improve its economic viability'.. He said the state government would deliberate upon all the relevant aspects of unbundling with the representatives of the Engineers' Association at a special smaller meeting to be shortly convened at Chandigarh to thrash out the issues viz unbundling, strengthening of transmission and distribution (T & D) systems and augmentation of generation capacity.

The Chief Minister called upon the engineers of the board to chalk out an action programme to prevent the theft of electricity with a firm hand. He said if we were able to check this menace which resulted in the loss of revenue worth crores could further help in improving financial health of board. At the same time, the chief minister asked the engineers to keep a strict vigil around the clock to nab the defaulters and erring officials who in connivance with these anti social elements were responsible for huge loses accumulated by the board over past many years due to these malpractices. He asked the engineers that their respect and prestige symbolizes the respect and prestige of the government and reiterated that their interest would be safe guarded at all costs. He impressed upon them to perform their duties with utmost dedication, sincerity and professional commitment in the larger public interest as the salary they get was paid from the hard earned money of the public by way of taxes paid by them.

Mr. Badal appreciated the Association's concern for strengthening the power sector. He said, 'you and me both are equally concerned for the augmentation of power generation because power alone is the growth engine of economic development'. He said when our government took reins in March 2007 we had a total power generation capacity of 6250 MW which had now been stepped up to 6609 MW with the start of Lehra Mohabbat Phase II thermal plant. He pointed out the state government was committed to generate additional power capacity of 6980 MW with in next three years with the setting up of three new thermal plants in Mansa, Rajpura and Goindwal Sahib besides these additional power would also be generated from the bio-mass and due to state's share from the Center Assisted Super Mega thermal plants. He stressed on the need for long term planning specially in the power sector since it was a crucial sector for an overall development of the economy and its demand was ever increasing. He cited an example of Japan 's economy where advanced planning for even 100 years was done to execute government plans and schemes in a meticulous manner.

To improve the functioning of the board which had been badly hit due to paucity of staff, Mr. Badal said that the state government had given in-principal approval to the board to fill up 225 posts each of Sub Divisional Engineers (SDEs) and Junior Engineers besides 125 Sub-Station Assistant (SSA) through a special recruitment drive. He said all these posts would be filled strictly on the merit in a transparent manner.

In his address President of PSEB Engineers' Association Mr. H.S. Bedi categorically said that before deciding on corporatization & restructuring of PSEB, Punjab Government must decide whether it intends to run this organization on purely commercial lines or as a service sector for the welfare of the public.

Speaking on the occasion Patron of the PSEB Engineers' Association Mr. M.S. Bajwa mentioned that the Electricity Act 2003 was widely misinterpreted that it was mandatory for the states to unbundle their SEBs as per the Act. He clarified that as per section 131 of the Act SEBs could be converted into a company i.e. one company which would be a distribution licensee and State Transmission Utility (STU) owning generation assets, He pointed out Kerala government had issued notification to convert Kerala SEB in to one company and like wise, PSEB could also be notified.

In his address All India Power Engineers Federation Secretary General Mr. Shailender Dubey said that the Punjab government should look into all the pros and cons of unbundling because before taking up this process. He said the government must bear one of the most important factors in the mind that public utility service was the sole motto of the SEBs being primarily the service providers and not the commercial entities alone.

Earlier, the Chief Minister released a Souvenir and honored the Retd. Chief Engineer Mr. Nirvair Singh and Executive engineer Mr. S.S.. Josan for their out standing services towards the development of board. Prominent amongst who were present on the occasion included Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Harcharan Bains, Principal Secretary Irrigation & Power Mr. Suresh Kumar, Chairman PSEB Mr. Y.S. Ratra and Secretary PSEB Mr. Husan Lal President NRI wing SAD Mr. Surjit Singh Rakhra, Deputy Commissioner Patiala Mr. Vikas Garg besides the senior officer and members of the board.

Earliest, the Chief Minister met the representatives of the District Bar Association at Court Complex and listened to their grievances. He presented a cheque of Rs. 23 lacs to the President of the District Bar Association Mr. K.P. Singh for the installation of elevator in the premises of Advocate Chambers. Mr. Badal also assured the members that he would soon take up the matter for the construction of additional chambers for the advocates with the PUDA.

During his last leg of the Sangat Darshan Programme in Patiala the Chief Minister also held Sangat Darshan in Ward No. 25,44,43,22,21,20,27 & 26 with this, he completed his entire Sangat Darshan Programme here.



CHANDIGARH, Sept 30, 2008

The Chandigarh Press Club has become the first media club in the country to provide medical insurance to its members through a special agreement signed with New India Assurance Company. Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today announced that the Punjab Government would contribute 50 percent of the premium required to provide a comprehensive health insurance cover to the Journalist members and their families.

Badal who was addressing a "Meet the Press" programme at the club said, "I have an announcement to make, my government wants to fulfil the assurance given in the manifesto of Shiromani Akali Dal to contribute 50 percent premium of medical insurance of Rs 1 lakh to all regular members of the Club". He said that the Shiromani Akali Dal – BJP government headed by Chief Minister, S. Parkash Singh Badal was seized of the problems faced by the journalistic community. The media, he said was the fourth pillar of Indian Democracy and Punjab Government would do everything to help the media in discharge of their duties According to the club President, Sarabjit Pandher, "underscoring its social obligation, the Chandigarh Press Club has negotiated a "tailor made" scheme with New India Assurance to provide a health and accident insurance cover to its members".

The "floater" policy comes into force from October 1 and would provide a accident cum health cover of at least Rs one lakh to each journalist, his or her spouses and up to three children. The scheme is being extended to only those journalists, who opt to be a part of the scheme. The Club has asked its regular Journalist members to furnish details and provide necessary documents to the club at the earliest.

The Finance Minister clarified that the Punjab Government would provide its share in the premium for Rs one lakh per member of the Chandigarh Press Club. However, the Club Management and the Insurance Company clarified that members could seek more coverage by paying the extra premium from their own resources. The insurance cover comes into force from tonight.








Daily Punjab press release