Sanjha Morcha

Motion in UK parliament against Pak’s occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan

Motion in UK parliament against Pak's occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan
Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman has tabled the motion in the House of Commons. — AP/PTI file

London, March 27

A motion has been tabled in the UK parliament condemning Pakistan’s “arbitrary” move to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering disputed PoK, as its fifth province.Bob Blackman, a Conservative Party MP, who regularly speaks out in support of the rights of Kashmiri Hindus in the House of Commons, tabled the Early Day Motion (EDM) titled ‘Annexation of Gilgit-Baltistan as by Pakistan as its fifth frontier’ on March 23.

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EDMs are formal motions tabled in the House of Commons as a means of drawing attention to a particular issue or cause.The motion said Gilgit-Baltistan has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947 and the country is attempting to annex the already disputed area.The EDM reads: “That this House condemns the arbitrary announcement by Pakistan declaring Gilgit-Baltistan as its Fifth Frontier, implying its attempt to annex the already disputed area.”It noted that “Gilgit-Baltistan is a legal and constitutional part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, which is illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947, and where people are denied their fundamental rights including the right of freedom of expression.”It further said the attempts to change the demography of the region in violation of State Subject Ordinance and forcibly and illegally to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which further aggravates and interferes with the disputed territory.”Other British MPs are expected to sign the EDM during the course of this week as a show of support to the motion.A spokesperson for Blackman’s office indicated that a formal debate on the issue is also likely to be proposed in coming weeks.Pakistan’s minister for inter-provincial coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada on March 14 told Pakistani media that a committee headed by Adviser of Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.He also said a constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region, through which the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes.India has termed as “entirely unacceptable” any possible attempt by Pakistan to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering disputed PoK, as the fifth province.External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said any such step would not be able to hide the illegality of Pakistan’s occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir which it must vacate, forthwith.Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional assembly and an elected Chief Minister.Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are the four provinces of Pakistan.It is believed that China’s concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan prompted Pakistan to change its status. — PTI


Testing the limits Push Aadhaar after privacy law

The Union Government’s move to force citizens to quote the Aadhaar number in the filing of income tax returns has raised certain issues which have not been adequately dealt with. A failure to link Aadhaar and tax filing can lead to the cancellation of the user’s permanent account number (PAN). Citizens are being asked to make their personal details public by a government which itself is becoming increasingly non-transparent. The surreptitious way the government slipped in crucial changes in the Finance Bill 2017 at the last minute is intriguing. There was almost no debate.  There are obvious advantages of bringing in transparency in financial deals. Income tax officials can compare citizens’ spending with income tax paid and find out evasion, if any. But there is a downside to it. Government machinery will gain access to personal user information such as bank details, education data and health records. The law allows official tapping of phone calls and data usage. The Aadhaar Act has not been subjected to sufficient judicial scrutiny. It permits surveillance of citizens on the pretext of “national security”, which is a vague term undefined in the Act. A citizen suffering the loss of privacy or personal data has no recourse to justice as Section 47 of the Act allows only the Unique Identification Authority of India to file a criminal complaint for the theft of data. The crucial twin issue of privacy and security of personal data has been sidestepped.  Besides, one of the amendments to the Finance Bill apparently violates the Supreme Court’s recent order that had directed it not to make Aadhaar mandatory for citizens except in case of certain specific services. The court is yet to judge the constitutionality of Aadhaar and decide whether privacy is a fundamental right. The government stand on the issue of privacy as stated in the Supreme Court is troubling. Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi had contended in the court that “violation of privacy doesn’t mean anything because privacy is not a guaranteed right”. The government’s open violation of the Supreme Court order and Parliament’s failure to flag concerns on Finance Bill amendments should be a cause of concern to all those who value democracy and the rule of law.


Do you want to make ministers corrupt: Capt on Sidhu TV show issue

Do you want to make ministers corrupt: Capt on Sidhu TV show issue
Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh and Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has quashed reports of any controversy over the issue of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s participation in TV shows after taking over as minister in his cabinet.Captain Amarinder Singh said he personally felt Sidhu should be allowed to make his living by continuing to earn through TV shows, if that was his main source of income.“How does one live without adequate income,” asked Captain Amarinder Singh, adding, “Do they (those opposing his TV shows) want to make Ministers corrupt (by stopping them from earning their livelihood)?”While he did not know the legal position in the matter, and would wait for the state Advocate General’s report, the Chief Minister said he did not personally think there was any conflict of interest, as stated by the Attorney General of India in a TV interview.Captain Amarinder Singh had earlier said he had no objection to Sidhu continuing to appear on television but would change his culture portfolio if that was in conflict with his TV shows.


Fauji bonding: An officer and his buddy

A ROBUST REDRESSAL SYSTEM DISPENSED QUICK JUSTICE. EVERY JAWAN WHO WORKED WITH ME IS A PART OF MY FOND ARMY MEMORIES

Media reports fuelling disquiet about an officer and his buddy are saddening. Encouraged, a few disgruntled jawans put out videos that portray mass discontent. Serving officers say this is untrue. When I was still in service, one did come across an occasional oddball be it an officer or a jawan. A robust redressal system dispensed quick justice. Every jawan who worked with me is a part of my fond army memories.

I remember when my son was six years old, he stopped eating dinner. His worried mother spoke to me. I discovered he had started dining with our sahayak. I saw the two buddies sitting cross-legged and merrily dipping langar rotis in a mug full of tempting mutton curry. I told my wife to stop worrying.

My first sahayak in 1977 was Ram Singh, a sturdy lad from Haryana. He had about a year’s service and had injured himself playing hockey. Rendered temporarily unfit for military duty, he was assigned the duty of a sahayak.

Ram Singh was a simpleton. When told to get a particular trouser slightly flared at the bottom ironed, he conformed ‘Roger Wilco’ by replying ‘Aapke paas ek hi goonda type pant hai’. A few of my traits might have been questionable but Ram Singh meant no offence.

The scaling of sahayaks used to be one jawan for two subalterns thus Ram Singh from Bravo Company was sahayak to Lt Sharma of Alpha Company and I, who like Ram Singh too was from Bravo Company. Sharma and I were neighbours in the officers’ mess.

Alpha and Bravo were sworn inter-company rivals. Ram Singh had suffered an injury in a bitterly contested Alpha versus Bravo hockey match thus every time he saw Sharma he saw red.

Ram Singh’s day used to start at 5am with ‘chhota hazari’. A cup of tea with biscuits for Sharma and me. He would ensure that our ‘rig’ for the first parade was ready and while we were away, our uniforms for the day were readied by him.

Tuesday was a difficult day for Ram Singh. Tuesday morning’s Officers’ BPET (battle physical efficiency test) was conducted. This is a test of physical fitness conducted in full ‘battle gear’ and a few tests are graded by timing achieved. As far as Ram Singh was concerned, if Lt Sharma finished ahead of me then I stood defeated even if I was graded ‘excellent’. Invariably, Sharma would beat me to the finish line in the 2 mile test by at least a yard. Ram Singh would be hanging around the finishing point shaking his head in sorrow to see his hero from Bravo beaten by his bête noire from Alpha.

After his words of encouragement did not translate into vanquishing the demon from Alpha, Ram Singh changed his strategy. He once gagged me by shoving a hanky into my mouth prior to the start of the test. The tea served in the mess began to taste bad. It was realised that to build up my stamina, Ram Singh had started lacing my cuppa with desi ghee.

It was Monday evening. Over a drink in the mess bar, Sharma and I were guffawing over Ram Singh’s ham-handed tricks. I kept needling Sharma that for Ram Singh’s sake, he should for once turn off the turbo fitted in his backside and allow me to take the lead. When it came to Alpha versus Bravo it was no quarters given!

Ram Singh strapped my ‘web equipment’ and handed me my carbine. Sharma and I ran neck and neck. At the finishing point, Sharma stumbled and I breasted the tape. Armchair breast beaters will never understand the arrogance of Ram Singh’s eyes.


Manipur CM served as BSF constable in Jalandhar

Manipur CM served as BSF constable in Jalandhar
Manipur CM N Biren Singh in the Assembly on Monday. PTI

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 20

N Biren Singh, country’s first sportsperson Chief Minister, was reportedly part of the BSF soccer team that won the Durand Cup by defeating Mohan Bagan in Jalandhar.BSF DIG RS Kataria says: “I have been told by football coach Suraj Bhan Handa that Biren served here in 1981 and was an ace football player. I am also told that he was a cheerful, energetic jawan who had a short stint here. He was just 20 then.”Another senior official said Biren was 18 when he was spotted by the BSF playing a football match in Imphal in 1979. “Recruited, he served the force representing its national football team for 14 years,” he said. The BSF personnel said there was an excitement about the development at the headquarters here. “We have begun keenly following the political activities of this ex-serviceman from our force through TV and newspaper reports,” he said.

New Manipur CM has a Punjab connection

JALANDHAR: The pride is palpable among Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at its Jalandhar headquarters for the western border, and the reason is close to the eastern extreme of India. One of the footballers from the BSF team here is now the chief minister of Manipur.

Officials here are busy finding more history and photographs of N Biren Singh, BJP’s first chief minister of Manipur who took oath on March 16. “Biren was posted in BSF as a constable,” Suraj Bhan Handa, the present coach of the team, said.

As per information from the BSF, Biren Singh came to Jalandhar in 1981 after he cleared the inter-frontier level in the force. His position was ‘right fullback’ on the field. Other officers say that as part of the team in Jalandhar, he also won the Durand Cup in 1981. Biren’s batchmates now reside in various parts of the nation. They remember the CM as a “jolly” and “funloving” person who was always popular.

Pardeep Kumar, who is a retired BSF employee and is now living in Siliguri, told HT that Biren and he stayed in the same room. “We would visit markets and go to watch movies,” said Kumar.

He added, “Biren had interest in politics at that time too, but his becoming a chief minister is something we batchmates are proud of.” He recalled that Biren Singh had a “very good diet” and was fond of rice. “He often cooked for himself.”

Vishwa Miter, who at present is the coach for Jammu Sports Council, said Biren was witty too. “We always talked to him in Punjabi, and he would understand little at first. With time, he started understanding the language.” Shyam Kumar Sharma, one of the coaches of Biren who now resides in Australia, said over phone that he was a great player and a true sportsperson.

As for the old pictures, the BSF officials are planning to get them framed and send to Biren Singh, the constable who is now CM.

Declare assets in 15 days: Yogi to officials

Curbing graft: Tells them to ensure implementation of ‘sankalp patra’ | Asks DGP to improve law and order

Declare assets in 15 days: Yogi to officials
UP CM Yogi Adityanath with Deputy CMs Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya at a meeting of police officers at Lok Bhawan in Lucknow on Monday. PTI

Lucknow, March 20

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath today directed officials to declare their assets within 15 days, following up on a similar order to ministers after assuming office yesterday, a move aimed at uprooting corruption.Separately, Adityanath directed state DGP Javeed Ahmed to ensure that there was no laxity in improving law and order situation, hours after a BSP leader was shot dead in Allahabad.At his first interaction with senior officials in Lok Bhawan, the CM also instructed them to ensure implementation of BJP’s ‘sankalp patra’ (manifesto). “It was an introductory meeting with UP government officials. The officials were told that the sankalp patra has to be implemented,” Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said.The CM also asked officials to declare their assets — immovable and movable — within 15 days, Maurya said. The meeting was attended by nearly 65 senior officials. The officials were given a copy of the BJP’s ‘sankalp patra’ and instructions have been issued to them to prepare a roadmap for their respective departments, a senior BJP leader said.“As uprooting corruption is the main agenda of our party, the CM in his first introductory meeting with his new ministers directed them to give details of their income, movable and immovable properties, within 15 days,” cabinet minister Srikant Sharma had said yesterday.Sources said Adityanath expressed concern over the attack on the BSP leader and stressed that restoring law and order was the top priority of his government.BSP leader Mohd Shami, 60, was last night gunned down by assailants close to his residence in Mauaima police station area, 40 km from Allahabad.The UP DGP has been asked to hold video conference with the district magistrates and the superintendents of police of all the 75 districts of the state to take stock of law and order situation and other administrative issues, they said.Deputy CMs Maurya and Dinesh Sharma also met Adityanath. Maurya told reporters that the first meeting of the state Cabinet would discuss all key issues mentioned in BJP’s ‘Sankalp Patra’, which include loan waiver to farmers and ban on mechanised slaughter houses.Sharma told mediapersons that his meeting was just a courtesy call. “We will work for the welfare of the people with full vigour and ensure that the work is visible on the ground,” he said. — PTI

‘Purifying’ CM’s bungalow

  • Hindu seers and priests on Monday made elaborate arrangements for sacred purifying rituals at the CM’s bungalow that will be the new home for Yogi Adityanath
  • Adityanath stayed at the VVIP guest house overnight and has decided not to enter the bungalow without conducting prayers and purification rituals
  • Even before dawn broke, seven priests from Gorakhpur and Allahabad trooped into the CM’s official residence to conduct prayers

HALTING THE SURGING RIGHT IN EUROPE : HOLLAND’S EXAMPLE MAY BE INSUFFICIENT by Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain

Holland is such a beautiful country that it is difficult to associate anything negative with it. To even transit through Europe to the trans-Atlantic I would always prefer a few hours at Amsterdam airport for a change over halt. That positive image of the country, however, was under apparent threat as it went to the polls on Wednesday, Mar 15.  What was expected was a potential demonstration of what may happen to Europe in the coming year or the near future; the feasibility of political  parties adhering to the Far Right ideology, across nations, coming to power riding on the back of perceptibly increasing sentiments against immigrants, particularly Muslims. In addition an apparently emerging consensus against the concept of the European Union on the basis of increasing Nationalist ideology seemed to be on the cards.   The results have surprised many as Prime Minister Mark Rutte romped home successful but his Centre Right VVD party lost eight seats in the bargain. The Far Right Wing leader, Geert Wilders and his PVV party, mostly expected to garner a better standing came out second but did gain marginally from the third place that his party earlier occupied. For the well informed, it is premature to surmise anything from the elections. The real measure of the move of Far Right ideology into European politics will come once we have the results of the German and French elections later this year. UK was the trend setter but that was more specifically about the European Union and UK’s exit (Brexit), not necessarily a referendum on immigration and Islam. The arrival of President Trump, seen as an ideological turnaround, is also still not making enough sense to political pundits the world over.

For the mildly less informed there may be a need to delve a little deeper into the background which needn’t go as far as 1789, when France, Europe and the world received the first great ideological message of the proletariat; Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Politics and ideology of the Right and the Left wing have never been fully identified and canned into compartments. The interplay has seen attempted demarcation but progressively this has changed on the basis of the order of international politics and ideologies.  In Europe’s current context it is more a competition between Centre Right and Far Right than anything to do with Left Wing. It is safer to assume that the Centre Right constitutes less isolationism, more liberalism and greater tolerance towards religious radicalism, though not necessarily linked to violent extremism and appeasement of immigrants. The Far Right which has a more populist approach today generally focuses against immigration and Islam while also harping on narrow nationalism and the need to dismantle the European Union; anti-globalization being the natural fallout.

In this election in Holland there were as many as 28 political parties in the fray leaving much to the post-election coalition politics but the significance does not lie in the details of Dutch politics; more in the agenda.  Geert Wilders’ one-page election manifesto included pledges to close borders to immigrants from Muslim nations, shutter mosques and ban the Koran, as well as to take the Netherlands out of the European Union. Where did this agenda come from?

It is important to know that post World War II liberal ideology proliferated as a result of the backlash against radical Right Wing ideas associated with the Axis powers. A country such as Turkey, the core center of the Ottoman Empire, Islam’s longest standing Caliphate, had in 1923 already been converted to the  liberal and secular model after the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Ata Turk (Mustafa Kemal) decided to  shun Islamism  and take the country closer to Europe. Western Europe’s progress after 1945 was also based upon immigration, especially from former colonies of the colonial powers to make up for the huge need for labor and many other lower end jobs. Germany got much of its immigrants from Turkey. The secular and integrative model was much in evidence by one look at the various football teams of European nations participating in the World Cup football tournament. The secular and liberal model worked well although racism never ever ended and demarcation of the types of jobs in the job market ensured it remained alive. Signs of things to come and strain in relationships within nations began to emerge once demographics started to be perceived as threats to security of the original inhabitants; the sons of the soil. Thus we had an Enoch Powell in Britain fuming against immigrants as early as the Seventies. In France, in particular the immigration from the Franco-phonic parts of the Maghreb continued through the Eighties.

Post 1989 things began to change, even as liberalism took greater hold, globalization became the buzz word, the European Union emerged strongly and the trends towards human rights became a political compulsion. However, the growth of Islamism and anti-West (read anti developed world) increased progressively almost in tandem. Violent extremism which accompanied it had an unnerving effect in the West. Post 9/11 and the series of violent incidents in Europe the seeds of cultural and faith based antipathy were sown and the effect was immediately felt by immigrants. Issues such as hijab, minarets and other cultural symbols enhanced the standoff. Disdain for immigrants took greater shape even as the need for labor increased. The intent of the Islamists was always to cause mayhem, disruption and turbulence in the Western societies and economies. The immediate effect was increasing struggle between the Liberals and the creeping ideologues of the Far Right. That is how the politics of Europe and to a great extent the US changed.

2014 is just recent times and perhaps not even within range of being termed history. Yet, it was a defining year. The emergence of ISIS (Daesh), the slick social media based propaganda, the attraction of western fighters to the battle arena, the employment of Lone Wolves in Europe and the US and larger terror attacks, changed the attitude of the sons of the soil. Anti-Islamism came to the fore, as also Nationalism, as a throwback from the events of 2014-16. It all happened at break neck speed. It was evident that Far Right ideology was taking shape faster than imagined and its grain was finding favor most in the US, France and UK with some strains in Germany too. It was the surge of human migration from the battle zones of West Asia and some of the failing states of North Africa which proved to be last straw. Much of 2016 witnessed barbed wire fences across national boundaries in Europe; the same nations which first believed in open borders. It strengthened the hands of the Far Right even further as nations squabbled on quotas of immigrants to be admitted and the general treatment to be meted out to them. That is where the current status is.

The emergence of Trumpism and Brexit have both been viewed as symbols of success of the Far Right, although they are not necessarily in congruence in ideological terms. 2017 has democratic electoral processes lined up in France and Germany among many other countries. All eyes were on Holland for the current elections which have somehow proven that the Far Right may have gained but not as substantially as was expected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the champion of the Centre Right and rights of immigrants is possibly seeking re-election in a personal vindication of her open door policy on immigrants.   Far Right party the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has made gains in the wake of the migrant crisis and Brexit victory in the UK. However, events through to Sep 2017 when the German federal election takes place will decide her future and perhaps that of Europe. Prior to that France’s presidential election in April 2017 will attract much attention and is being viewed as one of the major political risks in Europe this year. Marine Le Pen of the anti-European Union National Front leader is the Far Right populist leader on the lines of Geert Wilders.

So Brexit, Trump and now Rutte (Holland) in progression do not give enough of what is in store ideologically in Europe. Perhaps France and Germany may give clearer indications. An event which cannot be forgotten in the rush of looking at the US and West Europe is the fact that Turkey too has a referendum lined up in Apr 2017. It’s a referendum for enhanced powers to Erdogan through conversion to a presidential system and would be counted as a vote for his ideology of taking Turkey on the opposite path from liberal secularism. Will that too have an impact on the coming elections in Europe is something that analysts will watch with much interest. 


Sanjha Morcha Team Get Appreciation from Capt Amarinder Singh ,CM Punjab

The Contribution of the dedicated Team of Sanjha Morcha ( Ex-Servicemen Joint Action front) during Punjab  Election campaign  has been appreciated by none other than Capt Amarinder Singh ,Chief Minister Punjab.

Sanjha Morcha spear headed the Campaign and collectively as Team work with other ESM organisation  of Punjab ,Mustered support to Capt Amarinder Singh and MLA’s with two targets 

(A) Save Punjab and its youths,farmers,education and drug evil and business oriented misrule of SAD.

(B) To Save Punjab from rule of outsiders who would have further Plundered Punjab.

(C ) To bring back lost glory of Punjab and bringback status of ESM and their neglected welfare in Punjab State by supporting a able and experienced Administrator.

Sanjha Morcha whole heatedly thank all Veterans especially the JCO’s and Other Ranks to achieve the target and convert their dream to see Maharajah Capt AmarinderSingh as Chief Minister Of Punjab

The Letter of appreciation handed over to

Lt Gen JS Dhariwal,Chief pattron ,Sanjha Morha

Col RS Boparai President,Sanjha Morha

and Col Charanjit Singh Khera,Gen Secy,Sanjha Morha

speaks volumes in few lines. 

Col Charanjit Singh

Gen Secy

Sanjha Morcha

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Rs1 lakh cr debt, state in fiscal mess: CAG Calls situation alarming | May lead Punjab into debt trap | 60% loans to be paid in seven years

Rs1 lakh cr debt, state in fiscal mess: CAG

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29

The last five years of the SAD-BJP government saw public debt increase by almost Rs10,000 crore every year. This was the time when then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal made claims about ‘Progressive Punjab’.The outcome of the financial mess is that Punjab is now under debt of more than Rs1 lakh crore. A bigger worry is that around 60 per cent of the loans have to be paid in seven years.The Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its report released today, called it an alarming situation.The report on the state’s finances said the total debt on Punjab was around Rs64,000 crore in 2011-12 and it swelled to Rs1.03 lakh crore in 2015-16. This means that in five years, debt shot up by Rs10,000 crore every year. During 2015-16, public debt increased by Rs16,377 crore.Another worry for the state government is nearing of loan deadlines. As per CAG, the state has to repay 58.51 per cent of its debt (more than Rs60,000 crore) in next seven years. The state government has to repay 18 per cent (Rs18,500 crore) of its debt in three years, 18 per cent (Rs18,500 crore) between three and five years, and 23 per cent (Rs23,367 crore) between five and seven years.“This is an alarming position and the state is heading towards a serious debt repayment position, especially when its major irrigation projects had accumulated losses of Rs1,600 crore during 2011-16 and the application of debt raised by the state government towards creation of new assets remained below 6 per cent of total expenditure during 2011-16.“The state needs to formulate a well-thought-out debt management strategy and step up resource mobilisation to ensure debt stability. Unless such efforts are made, the state would face serious debt servicing challenges, which could lead to a situation of debt trap,” the CAG observed.On reasons behind the financial mess, the CAG found that the state’s revenue expenditure increased more than revenue receipts in the past five years. As per the report, revenue receipts increased from Rs26,234 crore in 2011-12 to Rs41,523 crore in 2015-16 at an average annual growth rate of 8.86 per cent. But at the same time, revenue expenditure grew at an average annual growth rate of 8.95 per cent. The revenue expenditure includes salaries, pensions and interest repayment.“The revenue expenditure continued to constitute a dominant proportion (85 per cent to 95 per cent) of the total expenditure during 2011-16,” the CAG said.Jagbans Singh, Principal Accountant General (Audit), Punjab, said: “Earlier, Haryana was considered a much smaller economy than Punjab. But recent Budget figures of Haryana suggest that it is almost one-and-a-half times bigger than Punjab.”The capital expenditure decreased by Rs59 crore (1.89 per cent) over the previous year. “The capital expenditure incurred during 2015-16 was 62.98 per cent of budget estimates which indicates that asset creation was not given as much priority as intended in the budget estimates,” the CAG report observed.

Manpreet blames it on SAD ‘misgovernance’

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29

“Dekhte hi dekhte kafila lut ta chala gaya;Hai sad afsos lutne walon ko bhi khabar nahi hui.”This poetic rendition was given by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal as he described the poor fiscal health of the state while presenting the vote-on-account. He sought the permission of the House to okay the supplementary grants of Rs25,199 crore, the money spent over and above the Budget estimates for this fiscal.Calling the fiscal mess left behind by the previous Akali-BJP government as sheer misgovernance, he said he was appalled at how the government could be so off the mark in presenting its Budget estimates that Rs25,000 crore was spent over and above that. “Meri zubaan katti jave….but these people (pointing towards the Opposition benches where the Akalis were seated) have left generations of Akalis in chains of slavery,” he said, adding that future earnings of the next five years of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB), Punjab Mandi Board and several other government undertakings, had been hypothecated by the previous government with various banks.Though former Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Bikram Singh Majithia did try and defend his party’s government by saying that there was no illegality in spending funds, he was silenced by Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who said, “Tu na idhar udhar ki baat kar, bata karwan kyun luta.”He also accused the Akalis of doing “chori te seena zori”, when the Akali MLAs tried to scream against the tirade launched against them.Manpreet’s tirade against the previous government continued through most part of the session, who said: “Angrezan ne vi Punjab nu ihni buri tarhan nahin lutteya jiven pichli sarkar ne luttya hai (even the British did not plunder the state as was done by the previous government).”Manpreet said they were working to bring austere governance in Punjab. “No one will be spared… I have no choice,” he said, reiterating his government’s commitment to fix responsibility for the fiscal mess and to conduct a third-party audit of the PSPCL and the PIDB.For a change, if only for a brief while, Leader of Opposition HS Phoolka too supported the Finance Minister’s decision to bring a White Paper. He, however, insisted that the White Paper should cover the fiscal mess which had been created under different governments during the past 20 years.Sukhpal Khaira, too, supported him, saying the custodians of the treasury were the ones who looted it, and urged the Congress against making political appointments that would be a drain on the state exchequer.Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa demanded that the government punished all, including the bureaucrats, who helped the previous government in cheer haran of Punjab.Manpreet, who presented the vote-on-account for Rs29,389 crore for the first three months of the next fiscal, beginning April 1, said that the White Paper on the state of economy was being prepared and it would be presented in the House during the Budget session. He sought the permission of Punjab Vidhan Sabha to consider and pass Rs29,389 crore.Other than this, the Vidhan Sabha passed the supplementary grants worth Rs25,199 crore (of which Rs6061.38 crore is on the revenue account), which is the amount that was spent over and above the budgetary estimates.

Bill on engaging law officers passed

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29

The Vidhan Sabha today passed The Punjab Law Officers (Engagement) Bill 2017, which paves the way for engagement of law officers in a transparent and fair manner.Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh presented the Bill. Advocate General Atul Nanda was present in the House at that time. The Bill paves the way for appointing senior Additional Advocate General, Additional Advocate General, senior Deputy Advocate General, Deputy Advocate General, Assistant Advocate General and advocates on record.The bill says the number of law officers to be engaged under each category may be notified from time to time based on the assessment made by the government. This assessment will to be based on the number of courts, the number of cases and the number of officers already engaged.Of the total posts, 5 per cent have been reserved for district attorneys. Law officers on the remaining posts will be appointed after inviting advertisements. For this purpose, the government will form a scrutiny committee, which will forward applications to the selection committee headed by the Advocate General. The AG has been given the right to engage seven law officers on his own.The Bill also mandates that an advocate whose professional annual income for the past three years is up to Rs20 lakh can be engaged as a senior Additional Advocate General (he has to have 20 years of standing). The income criterion is Rs15 lakh for Additional Advocate General (designate senior having 16 years of standing); Rs10 lakh for senior Deputy Advocate General (14 years of standing); Rs7 lakh for Deputy Advocate General (10 years of standing); Rs3.5 lakh for Assistant Advocate General (three years of standing).

Sidhu tosses drug barb at Akalis

Chandigarh: Left without the leader of their party, Sukhbir Singh Badal, and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, Akali MLAs were forced to face the barbs directed at them from both the treasury benches and the Opposition benches occupied by AAP and its ally Lok Insaaf Party. The 16 MLAs of the SAD and the BJP (barring the Badals) were trounced by the other two parties over the financial condition of the state and the drug menace. It all began when Akali MLA NK Sharma began the debate, seeking CM’s clarification on a news report appeared in The Tribune on Wednesday regarding farmers being issued recovery notices by banks. “I want to know that if you have decided to get their debt waived, why farmers are being issued notices,” he said. Though CM Capt Amarinder Singh assured the House of expediting the matter, the MLAs on the treasury benches reacted sharply. Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said: “For 10 years you were sleeping like kumbhkaran, you have no right to speak against us as our Cabinet does not sell chitta like you did.”  tns

Out on debt recovery, bankers held hostage

Out on debt recovery, bankers held hostage
Two bank officials (sitting on chairs) detained by BKU activists at Raonta village in Moga on Wednesday. Tribune Photo

Kulwinder Sandhu

Tribune News Service

Moga, March 29

Two bank employees, including a manager, were today taken hostage for a few hours by activists of the BKU (Ekta) when they went to the house of farmers Gurjeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh, both brothers, at Raonta village here to recover a loan of Rs 10 lakh from their father, Tek Singh.Tek Singh told mediapersons that the bank officers threatened to arrest him, besides insisting on attaching his property even as their total credit limit was Rs 50 lakh.“We suffered financial losses in the last couple of seasons due to which we could not repay the loan,” Gurjeet Singh said. As the bank officials were sitting in their house, neighbours informed the local BKU activists, who reached the spot and detained the officials. They also raised slogans against them.The farm activists claimed that the government had asked the bank employees not to conduct raids on the houses of farmers for forcibly recovering the loan amount.Later, the bank officials assured the gathering that they would not visit any farmers’ house to recover loan, following which they were released. Bank official Chandan Kumar said both brothers had credit limit of Rs 25 lakh each and the total interest had accumulated to Rs 10 lakh in the past couple of years. “We issued several notices to them but they did not even visit the bank in the past two years,” he claimed.The bank is likely to declare them defaulters on March 31 and they went to their house to inform about it and request them to at least pay the interest amount

Improvement Trusts’ heads, trustees removed

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29

To revamp a “collapsed structure” of local bodies, Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu removed chairmen and trustees of all 28 Improvement Trusts in the state.Now, administrators (DCs or SDMs) would head the trusts appointed by the government till further orders, he said.Sidhu said, “The work in local bodies was not specified. The deadlines were never met. There was no verification of the quality of work. A case in point is a Rs 6 crore work in Hoshiarpur that was sublet through illegal tenders.”The Improvement Trusts in the state are at Abohar, Amritsar, Barnala, Bathinda, Batala, Faridkot, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Kartarpur, Khanna, Kotkapura, Ludhiana, Malerkotla, Moga, Nabha, Nangal, Nawanshahr, Pathankot, Patiala, Phagwara, Rajpura, Ropar, Samana, Sangrur and Tarn Taran.The minister said, “An agency from outside Punjab will audit the quality of works of the Local Government Department. Display boards will be installed outside the project sites, mentioning the name of the contractor, job specification, total cost of the project and the deadline.” This week, Sidhu said, the department would divulge action on the loopholes in the current system. “Preliminary findings have brought out that bills were made in the back date because projects were not completed on time. The department’s engineering wing will conduct surprise inspections and report.”

Power corp CMD resigns

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 29

Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) KD Chaudhri today resigned from the post, a day after the state government amended rules “to ensure that a technocrat is replaced with a bureaucrat” to head the Rs 26,000-crore company.The government is yet to appoint a replacement but the new CMD will face a daunting task to run the company which is under a heavy financial burden.Sources say that Chaudhri sent his resignation, through Secretary, Power, A Venu Prasad and vacated his office here today, following which the government asked Prasad to look after the functioning of the company.During Chaudhri’s tenure as the head of the company, the power sector in the state took drastic steps as “from a power-hungry state, Punjab turned to be a power-surplus state”. With the previous SAD-BJP government giving extension after extension to Chaudhri, the PSPCL ensured round-the-clock supply to all sectors from the past two years.Chaudhri was first appointed in June 2010 for a period of one year. Thereafter, he kept getting extensions. The PSEB Engineers Association, a faction of engineers within the PSPCL, was against these extensions. However, the state government continued to back Chaudhri.The Rs 26,000-crore company, as is claimed by the government, faces a debt of over Rs 25,922 crore and is managing its affairs based on loans.

Crackdown on stone crushers in Pathankot

Crackdown on stone crushers in Pathankot
Despite crackdown, iIlegal mining going on in Abaadgarh village (Pathankot). tribune photo

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, March 29

The Pathankot administration, after identifying crushing units operating illegally, has ordered a crackdown.The noose has been tightened particularly against 42 stone crushers operating without the mandatory clearance of the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the PSPCL. To compound matters, these units are operating in river beds, violating the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders.“Owners of these units did not have pollution and electricity clearances yet they were operating because they were hand in glove with lower-level officials. They were the ones who had disturbed the already fragile ecological balance of the region,” said an official.People who have mining licences are elated. With the crackdown on unauthorised crushing units showing results and people no longer getting material from these, a heavy rush can be seen at the legal mining points which include Chak Ram Sahai (Gurdaspur) and Shan points (Madhopur). The owner of Guru Nanak Mines at the Shan point said the drive was paying dividends.However, despite the clean-up operation, some units are still operational like crushers in Abaadgarh village of Mirthal. “Crusher owners knew how to play cat and mouse with the administration and the police. The mining being done in Abaadgarh is a case in point,” said a police officer.“We supply material between Rs 135 to Rs 160 per tonne which are the rates decided by the government. However, crusher owners used to supply at a much higher price. Now, this is slowly coming to an end with the administration acting tough against unauthorised mining,” said a businessman who has mining rights.Pathankot Deputy Commissioner (DC) Neelima said action had been initiated against 15 out of 42 crushers. “We are taking action against others too after verifying the details,” she said.Balwinder Singh, Mining Officer, Pathankot, said 10 committees had been formed which had raided illegal points and stopped mining at Beria, Keeria and Narot (both on the Ravi river), Harial and Mirthal (on the Chakki river) and Anear (on the Beas).

Drugs case: Seven jailed for 15 years

Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 29

The Court of Additional Sessions Judge Rajiv K Berry has convicted seven persons in a case of recovery of 1,43,28,400 intoxicant capsules, tablets and cough syrups without any permit or licence.They were also facing accusations of indulging in drug smuggling activities worth crores of rupees in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal. They have been given 15 years of rigorous imprisonment each. They were also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh each. Those convicted are Pardeep Choudhary, and Prithi Choudhary of Karnal (Haryana); Sukhraj Singh, Pawan Kumar Goyal and Parveen Kumar of Moga; and Pawan Kumar Malhotra and Sadhu Singh of Ludhiana.However, the court acquitted Puneet Kumar of Sangrur, Deepak Soni, Salem and Sukhdev Singh of Ludhiana finding no convincing evidence against them.Initially, an FIR was registered against three persons on September 19, 2013. During investigation, the police booked other accused. The police claimed to have recovered Parvon Spas capsules (8,65,000), Rexcof cough syrup bottles (1,400), Phenotil tablets (83,50,000), Microtel tablets (9 lakh), Avil injections (12,000) etc.

One teacher each in 1,170 schools

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds were released short by Rs1,362 crore during 2011-16, according to the CAG report tabled in the Assembly here today.The SSA is the primary vehicle for implementing the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009, and to provide useful and relevant education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years.Besides, 1,170 primary schools in the state are running with single teacher and 572 upper primary schools with less than three teachers, the report said.It also observed that inadequate planning and implementation was evidenced by lack of mapping of neighbourhood schools and data relating to children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups.The CAG found that only one set of uniform was provided against the required two sets during 2011-16.Besides, excess expenditure of Rs6.76 crore was incurred on purchase of books against the norms fixed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development.Deployment of resource teachers was not related to the number of children with special needs and the nature of their disability. No norms were fixed by the state for deployment of resource teachers. No resource teacher was appointed in the state in cases of multiple disabilities, cerebral palsy, learning disability and autism spectrum disabilities resulting in deprival of resource support to 18,214 children suffering from these disabilities.The CAG observed that a performance audit of the implementation of the SSA for 2011-16 brought out lack of planning and deficiencies in both financial management and execution of the programme.

Capt Sukhjit Hara, MLA Vaid meet Amarinder

Capt Sukhjit Hara, MLA Vaid meet Amarinder
Capt Sukhjit Singh Hara (left) and Gill MLA Kuldeep Singh Vaid (right) with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during a meeting in Chandigarh. A Tribune photo

Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 29

Captain Sukhjit Singh Hara, a close associate of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, along with Gill constituency MLA, Kuldeep Singh Vaid, met the Chief Minister at his Chandigarh residence recently.They apprised the Chief Minister of various problems of Gill and Sahnewal. The focus of the discussion was Sahnewal airport which has almost been abandoned due to a meager number of flights.“I shared with Captain Amarinder Singh that Ludhiana based industrialists and business tycoons were facing a lot of problems. Foreign delegates reach Delhi but avoid visiting to Ludhiana for business meetings due to no flight connectivity. To finalise deals businessmen from Ludhiana have to go to Delhi, which is a major problem,” said Sukhjit Hara.While accusing the SAD-BJP led government he said “Akali government just believed in showing off. The last government spent a huge amount of money for the aerodrome but it was all futile,” he added.Kuldeep Singh Vaid also stated problems of drugs in his constituency. He made the Chief Minister aware about the number of ‘bastis’ in his constituency where drug menace was expected to be on higher side.Vaid told that if he is given assistance by the Chief Minister as well as proper coordination was maintained with the police and public, he would be able to do solve the problem of drug addiction. Hara said that the Chief Minister assured that he would take personal interest in solving the problems.

 


After hanging, rewards R. K. Kaushik

THE execution of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev was carried out on  March 23, 1931, in Lahore Central Jail by executor Kala Masih of Shahdra near Lahore. The execution  was supervised by the then District Magistrate, Lahore, AA Lane Robert — a 1909 batch ICS officer, along with GT Hamilton Hardinge, a 1915 batch IP officer, the then SSP of Lahore. Apart from them, the then IG prisons (Punjab) Lt Col F.A Barker, the then IG Punjab Police  Cherris Stead (1898 batch) were present. However, little did the officers know that the execution of Bhagat Singh would bring monetary and economic benefits for several others.After the execution, the British government honoured several persons as detailed:Hans Raj Vohra, Jai Gopal, Phonindra Nath Ghosh and Manmohan Bannerji — had all become government approvers and gave statements against them in the case. They were among the 457 witnesses produced by the Punjab Police in this case. After the executions, all four were rewarded. Vohra refused to take monetary benefits. But he was sponsored by the Punjab government to study in the prestigious London School of Economics.After a Masters in political science, Vohra got a degree in journalism from London University and was the correspondent of the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore till 1948. He later shifted to Washington and in the 1950s and 1960s was the Washington correspondent of a leading Indian daily. He died in July 1995, in Washington.Jai Gopal got an award of Rs 20,000. Phonindra Nath Ghosh and Manmohan Bannerji got 50 acres of land each in Champaran district of Bihar (their home district) in lieu of their services and loyalty to the British government. The then jail superintendent, Major PD Chopra, was promoted as DIG, prisons, Punjab, two days after the hangings. The Deputy Jail Superintendent, Khan Sahib Mohammad Akbar Khan, who had started weeping after the execution of Bhagat Singh and his two companions, was suspended but later taken back as Assistant  Jail Superintendent.His title of Khan Sahib was, however, withdrawn on March 7, 1931. The IG, Prisons, Punjab, Lt Col FA Barker, was honoured with the Knighthood of Sir and sanctioned ex-India leave before retirement. The DIG Prisons Punjab, Lt. Col. NR Puri, was promoted as IG Prisons Punjab after a few days of the execution. The Investigating Officer of the Lahore conspiracy case, Khan Bahadur Sheikh Abdul Aziz, SP, was given an out-of-turn promotion as selection grade SP, leading to his promotion as DIG three years later. His was the only example in 200 years of British rule in India, where a person who had joined as Head Constable retired as DIG (in July, 1937).Khan Bahadur Abdul Aziz’s eldest son, Masood Aziz, was appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police by nomination in November, 1931 in the Punjab Police. Khan Bahadur was also given 50 acres of land in Lyallpur. Sudarshan Singh, DSP, who disposed the bodies of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, was promoted as Additional Superintendent of Police, Kasur. He later retired as SP of Punjab Police in September, 1942. Rai Sahib Pandit Sri Krishan, PCS, a Kashmiri from Lahore was the SDM, Kasur, at the time of the executions. He was a trial magistrate in this case earlier. He was given an “appreciation letter” by the Governor and later  promoted as ADM, out of turn. Batala-born Sheikh Abdul Hamid, PCS, Additional District Magistrate of Lahore and Attock-born Rai Sahib Lala Nathu Ram, PCS, City Magistrate, Lahore were also given appreciation in person by the Governor of Punjab, FW DeMont’morency ICS (1899  batch). GT Hamilton Hardinge, SSP Lahore; Amar Singh, DSP; and JR Morris, DSP were given the King’s Police Medal. DSPs Amar Singh and Morris had accompanied DSP Sudharshan Singh of Kasur  for the cremation of the three martyrs. Appreciation letters were given to all constables and head constables, who accompanied the Police Officers by IG C Stead. The four articles written by Bhagat Singh, smuggled out of jail on the day of his execution by advocate Pran Nath Mehta, were later handed over to Bhagat Singh’s companion Bijoy Kumar Sinha, who was sentenced to transportation for life and had concealed these papers at a friend’s house in Jalandhar. The friend expected a police raid during the Quit India Movement days in July 1942 and burnt all of them in panic.So, four bunches of papers, written by Bhagat Singh and handed over secretly on the last day of his life, and read by Pran Nath Mehta and Bijoy Kumar Sinha, were lost forever. Bijoy died in Patna on July 16, 1992. He disclosed in a seminar in the late 1980s that Bhagat Singh on the last day of his life had predicted that the Britishers would leave India in 14-15 years. Prophetic words indeed!The executioner Kala Masih’s son Tara Masih hanged Pakistan’s Prime       Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on November 4, 1979. During the British period, jail superintendents and senior officers in the Jail Department used to be from the Indian Medical Services and had to serve in the Indian Army before being posting in the Jail Department.—The writer is an IAS officer of the Punjab Cadre.


Veteran soldier on a mission Cycles across country to raise awareness on martyrs

Veteran soldier on a mission
Maj Gen Somnath Jha (retd) in Ludhiana. Tribune Photo

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 24

To create awareness among people about sacrifices of soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation, a retired Major General is touching every nook and corner of the country on a cycle. Maj Gen Somnath Jha (retd) left on a mission on cycle on October 19, 2016.General Jha was welcomed by Col Darshan Dhillon, Zone Coordinator, RTI, AAP, and Amrit Pal Singh, sector coordinator, AAP, at Dakha Office of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Both accompanied General Jha on cycles till Ludhiana.So far, General Jha has covered over 9,000 km and passed through 26 states. He plans to cover around 12,000 km in his journey. He said around 21,000 Indian soldiers had sacrificed their lives for the country in various battles and operations.General Jha said “We live peacefully at our homes because our soldiers are guarding the borders at night. It becomes our duty and moral responsibility to remember them and care for their families.”