Sanjha Morcha

Don’t commit suicide, govt committed to debt waiver: Capt to farmers

Don’t commit suicide, govt committed to debt waiver: Capt to farmers
Capt Amarinder Singh takes salute from the march past at Patiala. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 26

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday appealed to the state’s farmers not to commit suicide saying his government is committed to the total implementation of its farm debt waiver programme by November 2018.He also launched the release of benefits under a unique scheme aimed at the inclusive growth of the distressed sections of society.In his brief speech after taking the salute and unfurling the national flag at the Republic Day parade at the YPS Stadium here, Amarinder assured the beleaguered farmers of the state that each of the 10.25 lakh farmers covered by the debt waiver scheme would receive its benefit by November this year.

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Underlining his government’s commitment to the development of Patiala, which had been “sidelined” by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government completely during its 10-year rule, the Chief Minister announced a development grant of Rs 45 crore for rural areas and Rs 5 crore for urban areas over and above the Rs 100 crore already announced by him for the upgrade of infrastructure in both urban and rural segments of the district.Holding the Akalis solely responsible for the ruin of the state’s economy, Capt Amarinder pointed out that when his government demitted office in 2007, the total debt burden on state was Rs 46,000 crore, which had now mounted to Rs 2,08,000 crore due to the misrule and ill- conceived policies of the SAD-BJP government.Listing out the various initiatives taken by his government to bring about the development of the state, which had been totally ruined by the Akalis, Capt Amarinder inaugurated a Rs 2000 crore project to repair 16,000 km rural link roads. This was the first time that the state government was investing such a huge amount for the development of rural link roads, he added.

Launching the benefits under the Mahatama Gandhi Sarbat Vikas Yojana, with the aim to ‘Wipe every tear from every eye’ as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi, Amarinder said the programme’s objective is to give the distressed sections the help they needed, socially or economically or psychologically.

The government had identified a large number of such needy people who had so far been deprived of the pro-poor initiatives, he said, adding that of these, two lakh people would start getting the benefits of 20 different schemes of the government from today onwards.Extending Republic Day greetings to people, Amarinder recalled the historic moment in 1950 when India adopted its Constitution.He said the government had also decided to waive loans up to Rs 50,000 of Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (Backfinco) given to the beneficiaries.Amarinder also launched the e-POS scheme to cover the state’s fair price shops to replace the earlier blue card system for distribution of atta-dal.The Chief Minister lauded the visually and hearing and speech impaired students who participated in the parade and presented a taekwondo show. He announced Rs 1 lakh per school/college which participated in the cultural function, from the CM’s fund.The CM honoured freedom fighters and their families with shawls and sweets. He also honoured 67 eminent personalities from different walks of life for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields.

Chief of Army staff visits Jalandhar Cantonment

Chief of Army staff visits Jalandhar Cantonment
General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, interacts with Army jawans and officers during his visit to Jalandhar Cantonment on Saturday. Tribune Photograph

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 20

General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, visited the Jalandhar Cantonment today. He reviewed the security situation and the operational preparedness of the formations guarding the Western Theatre in the state of Punjab.The Chief of Army Staff was received by Lt Gen Surinder Singh, Army Commander of Western Command and Lt Gen Dushyant Singh, Corps Commander of the Vajra Corps.Lt Gen Dushyant Singh briefed the Army Chief on the operational preparedness as also the security issues including ways to counter the proxy threat.The matter of Punjab continuing to contribute a large number of youth for enrolment in the Armed Forces also came up for discussions on the occasion. In the past wars and the ongoing counter insurgency operations in J&K and elsewhere, a number of service personnel from Punjab have laid down their lives in the line of duty, it was said.“There are also a large numbers of veterans in the region who continue to be a part of the larger family of the Armed Forces,” it was shared on the occasion.Lt Gen Dushyant Singh also briefed the Army Chief on outreach programmes for veterans including settling of pension issues, resettlement avenues, helplines introduced for medical support in the twilight years of ex-Army personnel and other welfare measures.General Bipan Rawat also interacted with the officers, Junior Commissioned Officers, other ranks and veterans during their visit.


Sitharaman flies in Sukhoi for 40 minutes in Rajasthan

JODHPUR: India’s first woman defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday donned an olive green flight suit to fly in Indian Air Force’s frontline aircraft, Sukhoi Su-30 MKI — an indigenously-built twinengine fighter jet capable of carrying out nuclear strikes.

HT PHOTO■ Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the Air Force station in Rajasthan on Wednesday.

The supersonic jet carrying Sitharaman, piloted by Group Captain Sumit Garg, took off from the Air Force station here in Rajasthan. She was seen seated in the cockpit for the 40-minute sortie. The minister told the media that she felt “very proud and thankful” to the Air Force for the experience.

“It actually tells me with what rigour, practice, what level of readiness and how quickly they (defence personnel) have to respond to situations. It was eye-opening and memorable,” Sitharaman said.

With this, Sitharaman became the second Indian woman leader to fly in a Sukhoi-30 jet. Earlier, then President Pratibha Patil had flown in the fighter in 2009.

Sitharaman donned a helmet with oxygen mask and wore a flight overall and a G-Suit, also called anti-gravity suit — worn by pilots for comfort when the jet takes turns.

The minister tweeted her pictures familiarizing herself with the fighter aircraft before taking off. The Sukhoi SU-30 MKI is a multi-role fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

After taking over as defence minister in September, Sitharaman has been visiting Army, Air Force and Naval bases frequently.

‘India, China should resolve border differences calmly’

‘India, China should resolve border differences calmly’
Besides a mechanism to discuss border tensions, India and China also have special representative-level border talks to resolve the differences over the disputed border.

Beijing, January 29

India and China should look at their border differences, including over Dokalam, in a “calm way” and resolve them through existing mechanisms, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.Reacting to Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale’s interview to Chinese daily, the Global Times, where he said the status quo should not be changed along the sensitive areas of the 3,488-km border, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said here that differences could be addressed through existing mechanisms.“Indeed we have noted that the ambassador talked about it while addressing the issue,” she said.

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“I should say the two sides should look at border issues in a calm way and resolve relevant issues through the existing border-related mechanisms so that we can create conditions and enabling environment to properly solve our differences,” she said.Besides a mechanism to discuss border tensions, India and China also have special representative-level border talks to resolve the differences over the disputed border.About the new satellite imagery showing buildup by both sides, Hua reiterated that Dokalam, over which Bhutan also claims sovereignty, is Chinese territory and said China is building facilities in the area.She referred to the 1890 treaty between the UK and China and said “the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary has been demarcated by historic treaty and treaty under effective jurisdiction of China”.“China has always upheld our sovereignty along the border area including (Dokalam) Donglang,” she said.About the satellite imagery, she said, “I should stress it (area) falls within China’s sovereignty that we conduct facility building in Donglang area.”“Some Indian media have carried reports about the military buildup and infrastructure building in the area. They are very excited about it,” she said.India and China ended a tense 73-day standoff on August 28 last year at Dokalam area after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stopped building a strategic road close to India’s narrow Chicken’s Neck area connecting the northeastern states.
Bhutan also claims the Dokalam area to be its part.About the local commanders’ meeting held on Republic Day during which they exchanged pleasantries, Hua said, “The local military personnel and border troops of the two sides held a meeting on India’s Republic Day.”“We think this is conducive to enhancing mutual trust and upholding peace stability along the border areas. We are also willing to enhance our communication and cooperation to better safeguard the security there and to create a better environment in this regard,” she said.About the ambassador’s comments that India and China are partners, not rivals, and both sides should carry out dialogue at all levels, she said “the Chinese government’s position remains consistent”.As two neighbours in Asia and major developing countries, the two sides should treat each other as an opportunity for development, she said.“It is also a consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries. We will surely treat India as our cooperation partner and we hope to enhance people-to-people ties and friendship through such communication exchanges and to enhance our mutual trust so that we can lay more solid foundation and public support for our bilateral relations. In this we can create better conditions to resolve our differences,” she said. PTI

PM Narendra Modi pays tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti

PM Narendra Modi pays tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti
Narendra Modi at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. Image credit: Twitter

New Delhi, January 26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid tribute to soldiers who laid down their lives for the country by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate on the occasion of Republic Day.Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.After laying the wreath, Modi observed a two-minute silence to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers. IANS

I’m very proud and thankful’

‘I’m very proud and thankful’

In an olive green pilot’s G-suit and a helmet, Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday soared high on a Sukhoi-30 MKI jet, the first Indian woman Defence Minister to go on a sortie on the all-weather, long-range fighter. The supersonic jet took off at 1 pm; after a 45-minute flight seated behind the pilot, Group Captain Sumit Garg, Sitharaman, 58, was back at Jodhpur Air Force station. Then President Pratibha Patil had also flown in the jet in 2009, as did APJ Abdul Kalam. In 2003, then Defence Minister George Fernandes had also taken a sortie aboard an SU-30 jet.

Hockey Olympian Lt Col Haripal Kaushik passes away

Hockey Olympian Lt Col Haripal Kaushik passes away
Lt Col Haripal Kaushik. File photo

Rachna Khaira

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 26

Lt Col Haripal Kaushik, who represented India in hockey and was the vice captain of the 1956 (gold medal), 1960 (silver medal) and 1964 (gold medal) Olympic teams, passed away at his residence in Jalandhar cantonment on Thursday night.According to his daughter Veronica, Kaushik was suffering from dementia since 2015 and was in the last stage.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)“He was a fighter throughout his life and struggled hard against the disease,” Veronica said. He was 84 and was going to celebrate his next birthday on February 2. He was survived by his daughter. His wife Prem Bala Kaushik had died long ago. Kaushik was commissioned in 1st Sikh regiment in 1959. He was a superb athlete and an exceptional hockey player and rose through various services and national-level hockey competitions to become the vice captain of the “unbeatable” Indian Olympic hockey team in 1956 (gold medal), 1960 (silver medal) and 1964 (gold medal).He was awarded the ‘Vir Chakra’ for displaying exemplary courage and self-disregard in the 1962 Indo-China war when he led his company from the front in the face of the enemy. The Haripal Stadium, raised in honour of the officer, is a lush green and sprawling multipurpose sports field in MIRC.It has a standard athletic track, field for conducting various athletics events, a hockey and a football ground, a multi-gym complex and a spectators seating all around.

Sangrur village mourns death ‘Mandeep motivated village youths’

Sangrur village mourns death
Sepoy Mandeep Singh

Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 20

A pall of gloom descended on Alampur village in the district after the arrival of the news of death of Army Sepoy Mandeep Singh (23) in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan Rangers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Krishna Ghati sector this morning.“We were expecting that he would come on vacation in February. But the family got the news of his death today around 11.30 am. Since then, all villagers have been sitting at the house of my brother,” said Kewal Singh, uncle of the deceased soldier.As per media reports, the Pakistan army started firing this morning and Sepoy Mandeep Singh was grievously injured and later succumbed to injuries. He is survived by his father Gurnam Singh, mother Baljit Kaur, brother Jagsir Singh and sister Kuldeep Kaur.“After completing senior secondary, he joined the Army in 2015 and it was his first posting. He motivated village youngsters also to join the Army during his last vacation in October last year,” said Jagmale Singh, an ex-serviceman from the village.Sardara Singh, former leader of the ex-servicemen league, said they were in touch with the Army authorities and the body would reach the village on Sunday.

Defence Minister Sitharaman flies in Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves from the cockpit of IAF’s Sukhoi-30 MKI plane before taking off for a sortie, in Jodhpur on Wednesday. PTI

IAF’s Sukhoi-30 MKI plane, carrying Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, takes off for a sortie, in Jodhpur on Wednesday. PTI

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman boards IAF’s Sukhoi-30 MKI plane for a sortie, in Jodhpur on Wednesday. PTI

Our Correspondent

Jaipur, January 17

After her recent visit to INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday flew in the formidable Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft of 31 Squadron on her visit to Air Force Station Jodhpur. In her 45 minutes of sortie, she was demonstrated some of the unique characteristics and strengths of this mighty twin engine Air Superiority Fighter (ASF). She is the first woman defence minister of India to fly a sortie in an IAF Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft, according a Defence Ministry PRO Lieutenant Colonel Manish Ojha here.       To gauge the operational capability and preparedness of the defence forces, the minister has been visiting various establishments of the armed forces.These visits go a long way in enhancing the motivation of the defence personnel as they get an opportunity to personally interact with the defence minister herself, Ojha said.       After her sortie on the multi-role ASF, she addressed and interacted with the air warriors of the Air Force Station, Jodhpur, and congratulated them on their professionalism, high state of morale and motivation.During the visit, she was also briefed on employment of air power in the defence of our country.Owing to its versatile capabilities, Sukhoi-30 MKI forms an integral and the most potent component of our nation’s air power. 

Beating Retreat marks end of R-Day celebrations with foot-tapping music

Beating Retreat marks end of R-Day celebrations with foot-tapping music
Military bands performing at Vijay Chowk during the Beating Retreat ceremony on Monday. — ANI

New Delhi, January 29

Amid soulful classical renditions and foot-tapping numbers rending the air, the Beating Retreat ceremony was held here today, which marks the culmination of Republic Day celebrations.The ceremony this year at Vijay Chowk saw several military bands, pipes and drums bands from regimental centres and battalions enthralling the crowd, with a clear sky and relatively warm weather adding to the cheerful atmosphere.The function began with President Ram Nath Kovind arriving at the venue, his first appearance as the Head of State during Beating Retreat ceremony.Several performances by Army, Air Force and Naval bands, among other troupes, thrilled the audience with patriotic fervour, as they cheered loudly against the backdrop of a delightful twilight.Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other dignitaries along with chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were present on the occasion. — PTI