Posts Tagged ‘Chandigarh’
Chandigarh, Dec 8 (IANS) In its bid to resolve the power crunch in the state, Haryana has approached Bhutan to provide hydel-power, an official said Saturday. The state plans to purchase 2,000 MW power from the country.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda would lead a high-level delegation to Bhutan from Dec 14 to 16 for talks on the power purchase, the official added.
“Visit of the chief minister to Bhutan in connection with the purchase of 2,000 MW of hydel power is very significant step for making the state free of any power shortage in the coming days. Senior officers of power utilities department would be part of this high-level delegation to Bhutan,” said Haryana Power Minister Ajay Singh Yadav.
“Coal based power plants are operational in the state, but keeping in view the limited resources and increasing rate of power, other alternatives of power generation needed to be sought to meet increasing future demands. Hydel power is available at cheaper rates as compared to coal-based power plants,” he added.
However, Haryana has already started working in this direction as senior officers of power utilities department had visited Bhutan and interacted with their officials.
Yadav said that the rates of the power would be as per the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) that would be signed between the two countries during Hooda’s visit.
If this MoU is successfully signed then it would help to ensure uninterrupted power supply of 14 to 20 hours to the rural consumers in the state. Besides, Haryana government is also exploring the possibilities of purchasing hydel power from Arunachal Pradesh in the future.
Chandigarh, Dec 7 (IANS) A British Columbia Trade and Investment Office opened here Friday to boost trade between the Canadian province and the Indian state of Punjab.
British Columbia’s Minister of Finance Michael de Jong inaugurated the office.
Jong said the office was expected to serve as a catalyst to strengthen trade ties between India and Canada, and British Columbia in particular.
The office is located in the Consulate General of Canada here.
“The office will represent British Columbia in north India and help people from Punjab interested in investing in Canada. We will also facilitate people from British Columbia willing to invest in Punjab,” Jong said.
The population of British Columbia is around 4.4 million, of which about 350,000 have their roots in Punjab.
Chandigarh, Dec 7 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana Saturday as the chief guest for its golden jubilee convocation.
The convocation will be attended by Punjuab Governor and university chancellor Shivraj Patil, state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
The chancellor will confer the degrees of doctor of science (honoris causa) on Manmohan Singh and Prakash Singh Badal. The prime minister will also speak on agriculture.
Security has been beefed up in Ludhiana and a special cavalcade of vehicles, including a BMW 7-series, in which Manmohan Singh would travel, have reached the city. Special Protection Group (SPG) commandos have been deployed in the city.
This will be the second high-profile visit to the university campus in the last 10 days.
President Pranab Mukherjee visited the campus Nov 27 and addressed the faculty and students. He had said a rethink was needed on agriculture to ensure food security of the country.
PAU is known for pioneering work in agriculture, especially wheat and paddy crops, to herald the Green Revolution in 1960s to make the country self-sufficient in the production of food grains.
Chandigarh, Dec 7 (IANS) It may not be a leaf from V.S. Naipaul’s “A House for Mr. Biswas”, but another drama is being enacted in Punjab’s political circles over a sprawling bungalow in an upscale and high-security zone of Chandigarh.
The issue revolves round the allotment of the government bungalow to Punjab’s new Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar of the Congress. Jakhar has been holding the position for over six months now, but he is unable to move into the bungalow allotted to him in Sector 2, as his party colleague Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has refused to vacate it. Jakhar, the son of former Lok Sabha speaker and union minister Balram Jakhar, continues to live in his private house in Haryana’s Panchkula town, 15 km from here.
Bungalow No. 46 in Sector 2 has Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other VIPs as its neighbours. Bhattal, who was Punjab chief minister in 1996-97 and deputy chief minister 2002-07, has been living in the house for nearly two decades now. She continued to live in 2007-12, being the leader of opposition in the assembly.
She was not re-appointed after the assembly was reconstituted following the January elections, the results for which were announced in March and in which the Congress failed to oust the ruling Akali Dali-BJP combine.
Citing security issues, Bhattal has refused to vacate the bungalow – which has a swimming pool, luxury facilities and high security – for the new incumbent despite the state government serving notice asking her to move. The penal rent that she has to pay for over-staying has mounted to Rs 68 lakh but that has also not compelled her to vacate.
The fight over the house has not only got the two top Congress leaders involved but also the Punjab government and even Governor Shivraj Patil.
Faced with a situation where Bhattal has refused to vacate, Jakhar approached Patil for another house. Being the administrator of Chandigarh, Patil got house No. 500 in Sector 16 allotted to him. Thus, Jakhar now has two houses allotted to him in Chandigarh.
However, he is still unable to move even into the second house because it was vandalised, allegedly by officials of the Punjab Police Housing Corporation a few days ago.
The story behind the vandalism is that the house was occupied by previous Punjab director general of police P.S. Gill. The police corporation and the Chandigarh administration had spent a whopping Rs.1.2 crore renovating the house to make it “liveable” for Gill. However, when he finally vacated the house, several months after his retirement, the fittings were removed, allegedly by the police corporation officials.
Thus, Jakhar has not shown any inclination of moving into the house. He has reportedly asked the Punjab government to get the Sector 2 house vacated for him.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at email@example.com)
Chandigarh, Dec 6 (IANS) The Punjab government will bring two new laws for the welfare of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), a minister said here Thursday.
The new laws will be ‘Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act’ and ‘Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act’. Both legislations will be tabled in the forthcoming assembly session beginning Dec 17,” NRI Affairs Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said.
Majithia said the law to prevent human smuggling was aimed at saving youth from the state “from the illegal network of unauthorized travel agents”.
He said that after enactment of the act, travel agents would have to register themselves with the competent authority of Punjab government. He said that Punjab would be the first state in the country to introduce a stringent law against the illegal practices of unauthorized travel agents.
He added that the new act would encourage youth to go abroad through proper and legal channels.
About the act for compulsory registrations of marriage, Majithia said that it would tighten the noose around grooms indulging in fraud marriages. He said that it would be mandatory for NRIs to register their marriage with the Registrar of Marriages along with their full details of their address abroad and in India.
Chandigarh, Dec 6 (IANS) The leader of a religious sect shot himself dead with his rifle near Haryana’s Yamunanagar town, police said Thursday.
Tirath Das, a mahant of the Dera Om Sewa, was found dead by sect members in his room. Police officials said that the religious man shot himself with his own rifle.
“The reasons for this are not yet known. We are investigating,” a police official said.
The incident took place during the ongoing Kapal Mochan fair, which draws lakhs of people annually in Yamunanagar district, about 100 km from here.
Chandigarh, Dec 5 (IANS) The Haryana government has decided to develop a sanctuary in Fatehabad district to conserve black bucks which are on the verge of extinction, an official said here Wednesday.
An official spokesman of the government said black bucks were found in 26 villages of Fatehabad district and were believed to be 500 in number.
“The sanctuary would also help in saving the black bucks from dogs. Panchayats have been asked to create awareness about this among villagers,” he added.
Black bucks are revered by the Bishnoi community in Haryana and Rajasthan. The deer species is on the endangered list of wildlife in India.
Chandigarh, Dec 5 (IANS) The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday asked the Punjab government to furnish a list of people enjoying police protection outside the state, along with the reasons for providing them the facility.
A division bench of Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.K. Jain issued the direction on a public interest litigation filed by lawyer H.C. Arora.
Punjab Police security was provided to billionaire liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep without their holding any official position in the state. The brothers were killed in a shootout at a farmhouse in Delhi’s Mehrauli area Nov 17.
Police sources said that up to eight armed security personnel were provided to the Chadha brothers, mainly owing to their proximity to politicians.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the home minister, had earlier this year cut down the number of security personnel provided to VIPs. However, the security of the Chadha brothers was not cut.
Chandigarh, Dec 5 (IANS) One of them is just nine years of age and a few others are 10 to 12, while the the rest are teenagers. But their age is no deterrent to their enthusiasm. These 24 children from Poland – 10 boys and 14 girls – have been offering the people of Chandigarh a glimpse of their culture through performances at different venues.
The group of folk performers, “Cepelia-Poznan”, is not here on a student exchange programme; neither is this an academic trip. The children are here to promote their culture among Punjabis.
In the group are children from kindergarten, primary and secondary schools from Poznan and towns in its neighbourhood in Poland.
Swirling colourful skirts, tapping shoes, traditional Polish hats, with a Polish folk touch – these have attracted large audiences in Chandigarh. Whether the children perform in schools or at the local carnival, as they did recently, they find enthusiastic reception.
While the children busy themselves promoting Polish culture in Chandigarh, they are also fascinated by the warmth of the Punjabis they have met.
“The culture here is so vibrant. We performed at the Chandigarh Carnival and saw so many things going on at one place,” said 12-year-old Koczorowski Mikolaj.
The children have enjoyed spicy Punjabi food and taken a boat ride on Sukhna Lake. They have gone shopping at the Sector 22 Rehri (hand-cart) market.
And they seem to be enjoying their stay.
Dembski Kacper, 9, the youngest of the group, said: “People are very warm, very friendly.”
Most members of the group drew comparisons between Chandigarh, designed by French architect Le Corbusier, and cities in Europe.
Miczek Weronika, 10, another dancer, told IANS: “Though the local language is alien to me, I have been enjoying my stay here. With planned roads, aligned trees and parks, this place is so similar to Europe.”
The trip has been arranged by the Chandigarh chapter of the Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) to foster Indo-Polish ties.
Chairman of PRSI’s Chandigarh chapter, Ashutosh Kapila told IANS: “They seem to be enjoying their stay and they are getting an equally enthusiastic response from people here.”
On the occasion of Gurpurab, the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev, Nov 28, the group participated in festivities and had the langar (community meal) at a local gurdwara (Sikh temple).
The local visits and performances are being co-organised by Yuvsatta, a city-based NGO.
Promod Sharma, coordinator of Yuvsatta, told IANS: “These children are strengthening what we talk of as the global village. They are not only conveying their culture, but also learning of Punjabi culture.”
Although this is the first trip to India by many of the children, members of the group have already performed in France, Holland, Germany, Russia, Austria, United Kingdom, Italy and Turkey.
At most of their performances in Chandigarh, the group has been singing that popular old Bollywood song, “Udde jab jab zulfein teri”, from the 1957 movie “Naya Daur”.
“An old Hindi song in Polish accent is the best part of their performance. It is commendable that they have studied a little of our culture to convey their own,” said Kumud Sen, a resident of Chandigarh who has witnessed one of the group’s performances.
They performed at Carmel Convent School, Gurukul Global School and St. John High School.
“Their performances were mesmerising. I am amazed to see that they have travelled all the way from Poland to showcase their culture. We enjoyed their dance steps,” said Piya, 10, a student of the Carmel Convent School.
“Their dresses were very cute, they sang, they danced and they also played musical instruments, all by themselves. They were very talented and very confident on stage,” said Arnav, 12, another spectator.
(Ritika Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chandigarh, Dec 4 (IANS) The Punjab government has urged the union commerce ministry to allow air-conditioned containers and a food storage centre at the Attari-Wagah border so that perishable goods could be exported to Pakistan, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said Tuesday.
Badal said that the commerce ministry has been urged to allow export of perishable goods to Pakistan and other countries through the Attari-Wagah border through air-conditioned containers. He said that the containers will increase the shelf life of perishable goods from Punjab and to put the products at par with international products.
Addressing the valedictory session of the Agrotech-2012 organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, Badal said that the opening up of the Attari-Wagah border and giving a dry port status to it by allowing export of nearly 6,000 goods could be a game changer for the whole of northern India.
He said that Punjab government has asked the central government to set up an integrated container depot at integrated check post (ICP) at Attari, 30 km from Amritsar, and a food storage centre.
“During last month alone, 5,000 trucks have crossed the Attari-Wagah border, when we were allowing only export of 137 items. We are seeking additional infrastructure at the ICP because with the likely approval of export of 6,000 goods to Pakistan next month, there is an urgent need to expand the capacity of the dry port,” said Badal.
Chandigarh, Dec 4 (IANS) Paddy procurement in Punjab and Haryana has hit a new high this year. Both states have procured over 184 lakh tonnes of paddy this season, food and supplies officials of both states said here Tuesday.
While Punjab has procured nearly 133.5 lakh tonnes paddy, Haryana has procured nearly 51 lakh tonnes. Bulk of the paddy (over 95 percent) has been procured by government agencies while the rest has been procured by private millers in Punjab.
“In Punjab, the paddy crop has been a bumper one despite 42 percent deficient rainfall in the state this year. This is a record of sorts,” an agriculture department officer said.
Farmers in Punjab have been made payments of over Rs.16,000 crore this season, officials said here.
In Punjab, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Patiala were leading in procurement.
Punjab’s procurement of paddy this season was nearly 16 lakh tonnes higher than the paddy procured (118 lakh tonnes) in the same period last year.
A state government spokesman said the high paddy production was owing to hard work of Punjab farmers.
“This could be possible as farmers of Punjab nurtured the crops this season with their hard work and incurring extra expenditure of Rs.900 crore on diesel to save the paddy. The Punjab government provided free electricity worth Rs.5,200 crore to farmers,” the spokesman said.
In neighbouring Haryana, nearly 51 lakh tonnes of paddy has been procured compared to over 44.53 lakh tonnes that arrived during the corresponding period last year, officials said.
Kurukshetra, Karnal and Kaithal were leading in paddy procurement in Haryana.
Procurement of paddy in both states started Oct 1 but the bulk of the stocks started arriving only after Oct 10.
In Punjab, the state government has set up 1,770 procurement centres.
The minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government this time is Rs.1,250 and Rs.1,280 per quintal for common and grade-A varieties of paddy, respectively.
Chandigarh, Dec 3 (IANS) Blaming the faulty policies of the central government for the miserable economic condition of the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday rejected a move by a central panel recommending a freeze in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat.
Outrightly rejecting the “irrational” proposal of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Pricing (CACP) to freeze the MSP on wheat and suggesting a Rs.40 per quintal as bonus on it, Badal Monday slammed the Congress-led UPA government for its “anti-farmer stance”.
He demanded that the MSP of wheat be fixed at Rs.1,800 per quintal against the last year’s MSP of Rs.1,285 per quintal.
Punjab alone contributes over 50 percent of the food grains (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty every year.
Badal said that the non-remunerative MSP coupled with anti-farmer policies of the central government was primarily responsible for the slowdown of the agricultural growth. He claimed that farmers were under a debt of thousands of crores.
He said that the central government should realize the contribution of Punjab farmers to make the country self-sufficient in food production and to ensure national food security.