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Punjab News: 2010
March 12 :





New Delhi/Chandigarh March 12:

                        Member Parliament from Bathinda Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal today sought complete waiver of Rs. 62000 crore loan of Punjab or at least stopping of interests on the loan and complete restructuring of the debt  to save Punjab from the vicious debt trap.

Participating in the debate on Union Finance Bill – 2010 in Lok Sabha today, Mrs. Badal passionately gave blow by blow account of deterioration of Punjab’s economy due to prolonged nine years of President’s rule in the State during the period of violence in the State. She said that it was the longest President’s rule in any state except J&K with a policy of high expenditure and no raise in taxes and plugging the huge deficit gap by taking special term loans has put Punjab on the trajectory of spiraling debt. She pointed out as year after year the interest on the loan kept multiplying due to the un-sustainability of the debt and no raise in the state taxes.  She said that debt has today multiplied and reached a whopping 62,000 crores with interest liability of Rs. 5600 crores.

                        Giving the graphic details of reason for indebtness, Mrs. Badal pointed out that out of total taxes the Punjab collects was around Rs. 12,000 crores with another 4600 crores received as our share of central taxes and against centrally sponsored scheme’s totaling to Rs.16, 600 crores. He said that besides serving interest to the tune of Rs. 5600 crore besides increased salary payment due to 5th pay commission hike to the tune of Rs. 12000 crore, leaves nothing with the state for the development.  

Mrs. Badal recounting the neglect of Punjab farmers said that last year State Government that spent Rs. 1420 crore from its battered resources and the diligent farmer mortgaged their houses to save his crops due 65% deficient rains.  In their combined efforts, they produced 157.33 lakh tonnes of wheat and 168.35 lakh tonnes of paddy defying the nature’s fury and ensuring food security of the country. She said that despite this the farmer was not getting a fair price for his produce and this disparity has gradually led to most farmers being trapped in a vicious cycle of debt with 72% farmers in the debt trap. She regretted that out of Rs. 71000 debt relief provided by Union Government, Punjab farmers got 1.5 % share of it.

The young and dynamic Member Parliament from Punjab pointed out that instead of rewarding Punjab to sustain food security of the country, Punjab was not even considered for drought relief, considering only those states crops failed. She said that Punjab farmer was punished for nurturing the crop despite 65% deficient rain. Seeking Punjab to be declared as Special Agriculture Zone with Zero taxes on agriculture inputs and linking of MSP with price index, Mrs. Badal demanded a package of Rs. 3500 crores to rehabilitate our 150 year-old irrigation system besides Rs. 1000 crore spent by farmers on the diesel. 

Demanding tax free holiday package on the pattern of neighboring hill states Mrs. Badal said that non inclusion of Punjab has made it highly taxed island, resulting in flight off capital from the State.

Seeking drastic change in the formula for devolving funds to the states, Mrs. Badal said that since the formula was loaded in favour of the underdeveloped states and developed states like Punjab were at such a disadvantage that out of 30% of total central revenue that is shared with states, Punjab received only 1.3%. Punjab was not given any additional funds despite the State having the highest SC population i.e. 29% in the country.

Seeking to overcome the discrimination meted out to Punjab in the fields of agriculture, industry and central taxes, Mrs. Badal demanded more share in centrally sponsored schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,  Rajiv Gandhi Gram Vidyutikaran Yojana, Single-Bulb Scheme for BPL families and NAREGA.

Mrs. Badal pointed out that Punjab with an active international border. prolonged militancy, stagnation in agricultural growth, flight of industry, extremely low central investment in the state deserved special package from the Union Government.  




Seeks PM's intervention to streamline DAP supply


            Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today expressed grave concern to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh over the present non-availability of DAP Fertilizer in the State.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Badal said pointed out as a stock of only 6,000 MT of DAP against last year's stock of 98,000 MT, was available with the state and there would be a large requirement in the coming 2-3 months.

            It may be recalled that this situation had arisen due to the non-fixation of subsidy on different nutrients under the proposed NBS regime, which had let to uncertainly among the Fertilizer Companies, and had yet not finalized their import contracts. The Chief Minister urged Dr. Manmohan Singh to immediately direct the concerned authorities to make adequate arrangements for import of Phosphate Fertilizers without any further delay.

            Mr. Badal also mentioned that the state would welcome any step to bring efficiency and innovation in the fertilizer sector, besides ensuring not any further hike in the prices of DAP beyond reasonable limit, but also lessen the element of uncertainty in these prices to the extent possible. These initiates would enable the Centre to safeguard the interests of farming community, added Mr. Badal.



Chandigarh March 12:

          Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Punjab today assured Punjab Vidhan Sabha that he along with the Chief Minister would soon meet Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention for release of 37 illegal Punjabi Migrants reportedly languishing in the jails of Spain.

          Intervening in the issue of illegal Punjabi migrants raised by Congress MLA Mr. Sukhpal Singh Khaira during Zero hour, Mr. Badal said that problem of Punjabis going to other countries using illegal routes was a serious problem and he would request Prime Minister to intervene so that all Indian Embassies would be issued instructions to identify jailed illegal migrants in their respective countries and provide protection and if required, legal help to them. Mr. Badal sought details from the Congress MLA regarding 37 Punjabi youth so that Government of India could be requested to take up this issue with the Spain Government.

          Mr. Badal also narrated his personal experience when he was studying in USA and working in a hotel when he received a distress call from a Punjabi illegal migrant in US. He said that he was happy that he could bail him out with financial help and that migrant is now owner of chain of hotels in US.  He said that at that time illegal migrants were using the route of Mexico to enter US through California Border.

          It may be added that Mr. Sukhpal Singh Khaira raised the issue problem of illegal migrants as highlighted by a report released yesterday by the Chief Secretary Punjab and sought initiative of Deputy Chief Minister to approach Union Government for this.



Chandigarh, March 12:

          The Irrigation Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational Programme for irrigation for the current Rabi Season through Canal water from 16-3-2010 to 23-3-2010. The channels of Sirhind Canal System would run on the priority basis from Patiala feeder, Abohar Branch, Bist Doab Canal, Sidhwan Branch and Bathinda Branch respectively.

          Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the irrigation department said that Ghaggar link and its off taking channels i.e. Ghaggar Branch and Patiala Minor in Group 'B'  being in the first preference will run to their indent. Balance water supplies available will be utilized in direct distributaries of Bhakra Main Line in group 'A'  respectively.

        The spokesman further said that Abohar Branch off-taking from Sirhind Feeder and distributaries in Group "B" being in the First preference will run to their indent. Balance water supplies available would be utilised in direct distributaries of Group 'A'.

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



Chandigarh, March 11:

          Mr. S.C. Aggarwal, Chief Secretary Punjab released a report on smuggling of Migrants from India to Europe in particular to UK a study on Punjab and Haryana 2009 during a workshop hosted in collaboration with the governments of Punjab and Haryana here today. The study was conducted by United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

          Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Aggarwal said that the Punjab Government has already taken stringent legal steps to check the illegal migration of the youth to foreign countries in search of greener pastures. The State Government has drafted legislation, Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act 2010 to curb this problem. It has been with the government of India for its approval. Finally a law would be enacted in order to strengthen the hands of the police and the administration with a view to dealing firmly with issues of irregular human trafficking, said Mr. Aggarwal. He emphasized the need of generating more employment avenues for the youth within the country. He, however, said that the problem of migration has been reduced to a certain extent in Punjab because of the centrally sponsored schemes like National Rural Employment guarantee Scheme and various on going infrastructure projects aimed at absorbing more youth of the state within India in gainful employment.

       It may be added here that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was established in 1997 as part of the UN reform combining the previous United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Center for International Crime Prevention. The mandate of the Office is enshrined in the United Nations (UN) conventions like the three UN conventions on drugs, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols on Trafficking in Persons, on Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and on Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the universal instruments against terrorism. With the help of these instruments, UNODC helps Member States address illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. The Regional UNODC Office for South Asia, based in New Delhi works in six countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

         Speaking on the occasion Ms. Cristina Albertin, Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for South Asia, said that the number of youth attempting irregular migration every year is likely to be more than 20,000. Haryana, is fast emerging as a state for irregular migration. The pattern of irregular migration is undergoing changes every year, whereby it has not only spread to new areas in Punjab but also to the neighboring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, which had hitherto not seen high numbers of  irregular migrants going to other countries.

Regulation of agents and strict legislation against them is needed as agents lure people into irregular migration and proliferation of a large number of sub-agents in rural areas has also been noted. These agents are able to carry on their business without any hindrance from the local law enforcement authorities and the civil society as they operate clandestinely, she added. She also said that the agents adopt various methods to facilitate irregular migration. These include use of forged Indian passports, photo substitution in Indian and foreign passports, jacket substitution of Indian passports, use of re-stitched passports, the exchange of boarding cards in the security areas and the use of forged foreign passports, visas and residence permits. Mr. K. C. Saha, a former Consultant with UNODC and the principal author of the report, presented the key findings of the report.



Chandigarh March 11: Mr Pardeep Mehta, District Attorney Roopnagar and SAS Nagar after getting promotion today joined as Joint Director Prosecution, Vigilance Bureau Punjab, Chandigarh. Earlier to this he had also served as Deputy District Attorney in Vigilance Bureau from 2002 to 2006. An experienced prosecutor, Mr Mehta had also contested the much debated Katia case.






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Smuggling of Migrants from India(Click Here For Ppt Presentation)