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    Forces should be ready for conventional warfare along borders: Army Chief Rawat

    Forces should be ready for conventional warfare along borders: Army Chief Rawat
    General Bipin Rawat addresses the media. Tribune file photo

    New Delhi, March 23

    The armed forces should be prepared for conventional warfare along the country’s borders and advanced technology for military must be made available on a fast track mode, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday.

    He said that adequate focus must be given to ensure that “trial procedure” for procurement of military systems do not linger on for too long.

    Without naming any country, Rawat said India will continue to face conventional or non-traditional forms of warfare and the armed forces will have to be ready to deal with any such challenge.

    “The armed forces will have to remain prepared for conventional warfare along our borders,” the army chief said while addressing a two-day conference on military communication.

    Addressing the gathering, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said the government was committed to fulfil requirements of the armed forces and that information technology can act as a force multiplier.

    Rawat also stressed on the need to adopt the latest technologies for the armed forces without any delay so that it does not become obsolete after induction.

    “We will have to identify the correct type of technology for the armed forces and ensure that our trial procedure do not linger on for long,” he said.

    Communication technology for the armed forces must be simple, light-weight and easy to maintain as they will be required for wars on the borders, he said, adding the technology must work in extreme weather conditions.

    Referring to social media, the Army Chief said the “adversaries” appeared to be taking advantage of it.

    He also talked about the need for having proper encryption mechanism, both for voice and data, for communication network for the armed forces.

    Speaking on the occasion, CII’s Chandrajit Banerjee pitched for early notification of the strategic partnership for defence production between the government and the defence industry. — PTI


    Pak Army unlikely to allow strategic shift in ties with India

    ‘Pak Army unlikely to allow strategic shift in ties with India’
    Army and ISI exert a controlling influence over most of Pakistan’s core state policies, says Markey. Reuters file photo

    Washington, March 23

    The “controlling influence” of Pakistan Army and intelligence services on Islamabad’s “core state policies” is unlikely to allow any strategic shift in its ties with India, a top expert on South Asia has suggested.

    “US policymakers, for their part, have come to terms with the reality of Pakistan’s deep state. As a practical matter, they find it nearly impossible to get anything important done on security issues without working through the Pakistani military and intelligence services,” Daniel Markey, from the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in an op-ed piece in The Cipher Brief.

    This, he said, has been especially frustrating for Americans who would have opted to use their influence to tip the scales in favour of a more transparent, accountable system grounded in the constitutional rule of law in Pakistan.

    “US policymakers also cite the controlling influence of Pakistan’s military, often complemented by a permanent establishment, as a reason to doubt prospects for any sort of ‘strategic shift’ by Pakistan on ties with militant proxies, relations with India, and expanding the nuclear programme,” he said.

    Markey said academic and policy analysts generally agree that Pakistan’s army and directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), exert a controlling influence over most of Pakistan’s core state policies.

    “This entrenched, unelected, and opaque ‘deep state’ is complemented by a near-permanent ‘establishment’ comprised of a relatively small cadre of politicians, senior bureaucrats, and well-connected business families who have led, managed, and owned most of the country since its independence in 1947,” he wrote.

    Markey said questions plague any discussion of Pakistan’s foreign and defence policies. “Why is it that even when Pakistan’s top military and civilian leaders profess to be fighting terrorism in all its forms, their own intelligence institutions continue to support and provide a safe haven for anti-Indian and anti-Afghan terrorists, like Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani network?”

    “Why have Pakistani diplomats repeatedly failed to ink trade deals with their Indian counterparts, even when civilian leaders in Islamabad claim to favor them? Why wasn’t Pakistan’s elected president (Asif Ali Zardari) free to reassess Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine despite his 2008 claim to be doing precisely that?” Markey asked. — PTI


    Your PAN could be invalid without Aadhaar by Dec

    Existing accounts must be linked with unique­identity details

    NEW DELHI: Permanent account numbers (PAN) not linked to Aadhaar cards will likely become invalid after December 31, a government source said on Thursday, as the Centre pushes to widen the use of the 12-digit biometric identity project.

    Currently, all taxpayers need to have a PAN number to file income tax return but others, such as students outside the tax bracket, also use the card as a proof of identity.

    The government says many of these PAN cards are fraudulently obtained, a practice that can be checked by a unique identification number.

    The official — who refused to be quoted because he isn’t authorised to talk to media — said the government had arrived at the tentative cutoff date of December 31 as it believed the Aadhaar enrollment process will be complete by the end of the year.

    “Considering that 98% of the adult population is Aadhaar card holders, a timeframe till the end of the year is more than adequate for linking PAN with Aadhaar,” said State Bank of India group’s chief economic adviser Soumya Kanti Ghosh.

    More than 1.08 billion Indians have the unique identification number that was aimed at plugging leaks in the distribution of government entitlements and benefits. Over the past few years, the Centre has linked Aadhaar to a growing list of subsidies and schemes, such as the mid-day meal.

    On Wednesday, the Lok Sabha passed a controversial bill that made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns or applying for a PAN card.

    According to the amendments in the finance bill, taxpayers can’t file income tax returns from July 1 if they fail to quote the Aadhaar number or show proof of having applied for the document.

    At present, there are 250 million PAN cards that are mandatory for cash transactions of hotel or travel bills exceeding ~50,000. It is also mandatory to quote the number for purchase of jewellery above ~2 lakh either in cash or by plastic money, and while making large deposits in banks.

    But the government says many of those PAN cards are duplicates or obtained through fraud. “The government has proposed quoting the Aadhaar number mandatory for filing (IT) returns to eliminate discrepancies …many individuals hold multiple PANs and filing returns multiple times; once quoting of Aadhaar becomes binding, this problem will not be there,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia told HT. People with existing PAN cards will either have to link them to Aadhaar or show proof of having applied for the 12-digit ID by December 31, the source added. The recent push to expand the usage of Aadhaar has triggered a torrent of criticism but the government has remained undaunted.

    Finance minister Arun Jaitley indicated on Wednesday that Aadhaar would be made mandatory for all income-tax related issues to weed out fraud and duplicates.


    Punjab Cabinet expansion before Budget Session in June: CM

    Punjab Cabinet expansion before Budget Session in June: CM
    Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh arriving for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI photo

    Tribune News service

    Chandigarh, March 23

    Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday indicated that his first Cabinet expansion would be before the Budget Session in June.Amarinder said in a statement that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had given him the freedom to choose his council of ministers and he saw seniority, experience and regional parity as key parameters for selection. Professionalism and experience would be given high priority for appointments to other government positions such as bureaucrats.  He said that his Cabinet would ensure all regions of the state were represented.The chief minister also justified his decision to continue with DGP Suresh Arora because he was a “professional man” while the chief secretary was changed because of his proximity to the previous regime.The chief minister has called a Cabinet meeting on March 27 to approve a vote-on-account that it will table in the first session of the new assembly that begins on Friday.


    Uproar in Rajya Sabha over naming Chandigarh airport after Bhagat Singh

    Uproar in Rajya Sabha over naming Chandigarh airport after Bhagat Singh
    Pratap Singh Bajwa.

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, March 23

    The Rajya Sabha on Thursday witnessed brief uproar over the naming of Chandigarh airport, as the Opposition alleged that the BJP government in Haryana does not want to name it after Bhagat Singh.

    During the Zero Hour, Ritabrata Banerjee (CPI-M) said there has been a controversy over the naming of the Chandigarh airport.

    “The Punjab Government had agreed that the airpot will be named after Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh, (but) the Haryana Government, the Haryana Chief Minisger said ‘no’. They want to name the airport after Mangal Sein,” he said.

    The CPI-M member said there were agitations yesterday to demand naming of the airport after Bhagat Singh. Today is the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

    Joining the issue, Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa also demanded that the airport be named after Bhagat Singh.

    He said one side there is a demand to name the airport after the great freedom fighter, but on the other hand, the BJP wanted to name it after the party’s ex-Chief Minister.

    As several opposition members were up on their feet and created an uproar, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi countered the allegations saying “we have never said it and nobody has said it. Its not proper to make such sweeping statements”.

    The minister said Bhagat Singh was a martyr and was respected by everyone.

    As the uproar continued, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked Naqvi to take note of the suggestion to which the minister said “yes”.

    As senior JD-U member Sharad Yadav associated himself with the opposition demands, Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad wanted to know from the Centre whether or not it has decided to name the airport after Bhagat Singh.

    “Government has said that the suggestion has been taken note of. They will consider it,” Kurien said, adding Bhagat Singh was a great martyr and everbody respects him.

    Partap Singh Bajwa of Congress also made a demand that two-minute silence should be observed on every March 23 before starting the business of the House. —PTI


    Islamic State claims responsibility for British parliament attack

    Islamic State claims responsibility for British parliament attack
    Medical attention being provided to an injured on the south side of Westminster Bridge, close to the Houses of Parliament in London, —PTI

    London/Cairo, March 23

    Islamic State was responsible for an attack outside Britain’s parliament which left four people dead, the group’s Amaq news agency said on Thursday, even as police arrested seven people in the investigation into a lone-wolf attacker who also injured 40.The attacker was shot dead by police near parliament in London, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said.

    “The perpetrator of the attacks yesterday in front of the British parliament in London is an Islamic State soldier and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition,” the Amaq statement said.

    Islamic State, which has controlled parts of Iraq and Syria in recent years, has lost territory this year to local forces in those countries supported by a US-led military coalition. (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, said there were four dead, including the attacker, and 29 people still being treated in hospital, seven of whom were in a critical condition. Police had said on Wednesday that the death toll was five in the worst such attack in Britain since 2005.

    “We are not afraid…An act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal,” Prime Minister Theresa May told the packed House of Commons which reopened today with a minute’s silence a day after the attack.“What I can confirm is that the man was British born and that – some years ago – he was once investigated in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure,” she told sombre-looking lawmakers.”It is still believed that this attacker acted alone, and the police have no reason to believe there are imminent further attacks on the public. His identity is known to the police and MI5, and when operational considerations allow, he will be publicly identified. Our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology,” May said.

    The attacker sped across Westminster Bridge in a car, ramming pedestrians along the way, then ran through the gates of the nearby parliament building and stabbed a policeman before he was shot dead.

    Authorities have described the attack as a “marauding terrorist incident” and said they were working on the assumption that it was Islamist-related.

    Britons have been left shocked by the fact that the attacker was able to cause such mayhem equipped with nothing more sophisticated than a hired car and a knife.

    Police believe they know the identity of the attacker but have not named him.

    Rowley said police had searched six addresses in London, Birmingham and other parts of the country in their investigation.

    “It is still our belief … that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism. At this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public,” Rowley said.

    He said there was a mix of nationalities among the dead but gave no details. The victims were the policeman who was stabbed and two members of the public, a woman in her mid-40s and a man in his mid-50s. The fourth dead was the assailant.

    Three French high-school students aged 15 or 16, who were on a school trip to London with fellow students from Brittany, were among the injured.

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was expected to arrive in London to visit them at hospital, French media reported.

    There were also five South Koreans among the injured, South Korea’s foreign ministry said in Seoul.

     

     

     

     

    Leave.EU, a group that has campaigned for immigration to be severely restrained as part of Britain’s exit from the European Union, accused mainstream politicians of facilitating acts of terror by failing to secure borders.

    “We are sick, tired but perhaps even more so we are angry that recent governments across Europe have enabled these attacks through grossly negligible policies that have left us vulnerable,” the group said in a statement.

    In France, far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen also drew a link, saying that events in London highlighted the importance of protecting national borders and stepping up security measures. — Reuters


    Within week, rumblings audible in Capt cabinet, party over posts

    There’s discontent, especially due to ‘meatier’ portfolios given to Aruna Chaudhary, Razia

    I have requested the CM that the urban development and local government are under one minister at the Centre and compliment each other. It should be the same in Punjab as well. NAVJOT SINGH SIDHU, local government minister

    CHANDIGARH : It’s barely a week since the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress assumed power in Punjab, but the first rumblings are already audible in the corridors of power. Reason: While wings of some leaders have been clipped, others are “flying high”.

    On March 16, when Amarinder took oath as CM along with nine ministers, former leader of opposition Charanjit Singh Channi was sworn in seventh in the pecking order as a cabinet minister. Even the portfolio allotted to the three-time MLA is technical education and industrial training.

    In contrast, Aruna Chaudhary, a minister of state with independent charge, has been given the meatier department of school and higher education. Another minister of state with independent charge, Razia Sultana, has been allotted PWD (B&R) along with women and child development. Razia’s husband, Mohammad Mustafa, a DGP-rank officer in Punjab, is known to call the shots in her constituency and had lobbied for either being appointed as state DGP or a plum department for Razia.

    Aruna’s husband, Ashok Chaudhary, is a retired bureaucrat and Congress leader. The Chaudharys courted a controversy on Wednesday after the husband was seen perusing department files sitting next to his wife. Some Congress leaders are already asking why both Razia and Aruna were given minister of state ranks with the high-profile departments and why Channi was given a cabinet rank and a “light-weight” department.

    “In the previous government, the industry minister also had department of technical education was with the department of industry. It is for the first time that a cabinet minister has been just given technical education and industrial training department that too when there are just seven ministers with cabinet rank,” sources in the government said. Channi, when contacted, said it was the CM’s prerogative to divide departments and he has no complaints.

    Navjot Singh Sidhu wanted the department of urban development along with local government. “I have requested the CM that the two departments are under one minister at the centre and compliment each other. It should be the same in Punjab,” Sidhu told HT. The urban development department is presently with the CM.

    Amarinder as CM has kept the department of vigilance with himself. He is facing two highprofile cases being invetigated by the vigilance department — the Amritsar Improvement Trust case and the Ludhiana City Centre scam — that came to haunt Captain’s government during his first tenure as CM (2002-07).

    SCRAMBLE FOR RANKS IN CORE TEAM

    Even the allotment of posts among Amarinder’s aides and core team could take place after a bitter tug-of-war over positions that come with pay and perks of a cabinet minister or minister of state, the appointment of Raveen Thukral as media adviser was made only after his former media adviser Bharat Inder Singh Chahal was rehabilitated as adviser to the CM. Both will hold minister of state ranks.

    Between his three other aides — Captain Sandeep Sandhu, Major Amardeep and Karanpal Sekhon — it was decided to appoint Sandhu as political secretary and the other two as protocol secretaries, which did not go down well with them. Amarinder had to finally appoint all three as political secretaries.

    Amarinder’s old friend, Lt Gen Tajinder Singh Shergill (retd), who also co-authored a book, ‘The Monsoon War’, with him has been appointed as senior adviser to CM with a cabinet rank. After MP Singh, another five were on Wednesday appointed as OSDs to Amarinder. And those raising questions over the spree of political appointments in the CM’s office are also those from his own party. “All the government’s first moves have been about symbolism, from low-key swearing-in ceremony to removing red beacons from cars of VIPs. The coterie was kept out of frame during elections but it is back with a bang in the CMO. The first casualty will once again be the CM’s accessibility, which proved to be his bane in his last term,” a Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.

    It takes two to tango in the new Punjab cabinet

    CABINET MINISTERS HAVE COURTED CONTROVERSY AFTER THEIR SPOUSES WERE SEEN ATTENDING TO OFFICIAL MATTERS

    CHANDIGARH: There are many “better halves” in the cabinet of Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. And they are working in tandem within the government, for better or for worse.

    On Monday, it was Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a former MLA who opted out of her Amritsar East seat for him, who courted a controversy by attending an official meeting of the local bodies department. She defended it saying that as a former legislator she knows civic problems and was just sitting and listening to officials while it was husband Sidhu who was chairing the meeting.

    On Wednesday, it was minister of state Aruna Chaudhary who made headlines as a TV grab of her husband, Ashok Chaudhary, a former government officer and now Congress leader from Gurdaspur, perusing official files sitting next to the minister went viral. The only distinction in hierarchy was that the back of the minister’s chair was taller! Ashok Chaudhary later described it as ‘good couples do things together’.

    Razia Sultana, also a minister of state with independent charge like Aruna, is anyway seen as a proxy of her husband Mohammad Mustafa, an officer of the rank of director general of police (DGP) known for his proximity to Amarinder.

    Though Mustafa has not been seen in Razia’s public works department, according to Congress sources he had lobbied hard for getting the department for his wife. Mustafa was barred by the Election Commission from entering Sultana’s constituency, Malerkotla, during the elections.

    As for the CM himself, Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur, who opted out of Patiala Urban for the husband but managed his entire campaign as he, as the Congress unit chief, campaigned across the state, is happy issuing specifications for the CM’s new official residence.

    CAPT TO TELL ARUNA TO CHECK HUSBAND’S INTERFERENCE

    CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh said on Thursday he will talk to minister of state Aruna Chaudhary on her husband’s reported interference in her official functioning.

    Aruna, who handles higher and school education in the newly constituted council of ministers, was in news after a picture of her husband, Ashok Chaudhary, a former government officer and, perusing official files sitting next to her in her office in the Punjab secretariat went viral.

    In response to a question during a television interview, the chief minister agreed that such behaviour was not proper and could not be condoned.

    Captain Amarinder said he will personally speak to Aruna and was confident the minister would be able to control any such interference in future.

    Manpreet exhorts youth to shun drugs, help govt in nation-building

    HUSSAINIWALA : Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Friday exhorted people, particular youths, to refrain from drugs and come forward to help the government in nation- building.

    SANJEEV KUMAR/HTPunjab minister Manpreet Badal laying a wreath at the martyrs’ memorial in Hussainiwala on Thursday.

    Manpreet was presiding over the state-level function to pay tributes to martyrs Shaheed-eAzam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on the 85th martyrdom day here, Manpreet reached Hussainiwala, 11 km from here, accompanied by local Congress MLAs Parminder Singh Pinki, Kulbir Singh Zira, Davinder Ghubaya and Satkar Kaur besides a battery of civil and police officials.

    “There are challenges before Punjab and the country. These challenges can be met only if we work together, think together,” said Manpreet.

    The finance minister announced a grant of ₹4 crore to further beautify the national memorial at Hussainiwala in response to a demand raised by Parminder Pinki.

    “The government, led by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh was committed to make the dreams of martyrs come true and put an end to corruption, unemployment, illiteracy and drugs,” said Manpreet, after paying floral tributes at the martyrs’ memorial.

    He said that the state government would be organising a state-level function to commemorate Baisakhi at Jallianwala Bagh, Sri Amritsar Sahib on April 13.

    “People of border districts have faced problems from the times of India’s struggle for freedom till today and the Punjab government was well aware of these problems,” he said.

    He announced that industry will be set up in the border districts to provide means of livelihood and employment to the people here, which will also propel state’s economy.

    Manpreet also honoured family members of the martyrs and freedom fighters.


    2 cops suspended as Manpreet films them taking bribe

    FM catches traffic cops taking bribe near Doraha
    Traffic cop Harjit Singh, caught taking bribe, seeks pardon from Finance Minister Manpreet Badal near Doraha on Thursday. Tribune photo

    Nikhil Bhardwaj

    Tribune News Service

    Ludhiana, March 23

    Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal caught two traffic cops while they were taking bribe from a commuter near Doraha this morning.Manpreet referred the matter to Ludhiana Police Commissioner Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh. Later, DIG, Ludhiana Range, SK Kalia suspended Manjit Singh and Harjit Singh of the Khanna police and initiated an inquiry.Sources said Manpreet was on his way to Chandigarh from Ferozepur in his Innova. He was driving the car, which had no beacon or escort vehicle. When he reached near the Gurthli bridge, he spotted the duo taking bribe for not challaning a motorist.Harjit folded his hands and asked Manpreet to pardon them. “The government pays you around Rs50,000 per month as salary and you people are still resorting to corrupt practices. You should sit at home. There is no room for corruption,” the FM told him.When Harjit asked Manpreet to “shoot” him rather than taking “strict” action, the minister said, “There are many people who don’t have jobs… You are still getting a handsome salary.”More than 100 ‘unfit’ traffic cops shiftedLudhiana: A day after giving compulsory retirement to three traffic cops over challaning of a Sikh girl, Commissioner of Police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh on Thursday shifted over 100 traffic police personnel who were found unfit for the job during a recent exercise conducted by senior cops. Their ranks range from constable to inspector. “These cops have been sent to other departments,” Kunwar Vijay Pratap said. Meanwhile, when contacted on the challan row, DGP Suresh Arora said, “I have sought a report from the Commissioner of Police. I will take action after going through the report.” Traffic ASIs Davinder Singh and Kulwinder Singh and head constable Neelkanth had been given compulsory retirement. TNS

    LUDHIANA : The Punjab government’s asking its ministers to give up red beacons, escort and security has started showing results! Finance minister Manpreet Badal on Thursday caught on camera a traffic cop accepting bribe. Travelling in a private vehicle without a sign of VIP, the minister saw the cop accepting bribe at Gurthali Bridge in Doraha. He shot a video of the episode and forwarded it to Ludhiana police commissioner Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh.After finding that the cop was from Khanna, the commissioner referred the matter to Khanna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajjit Singh Hundal. After investigation, the Khanna SSP suspended two cops, identified as head constables Manjit Singh and Jagjot Singh

    2 cops suspended as Manpreet films them taking bribe

    LUDHIANA: The Punjab government’s asking its ministers to give up red beacons, escort and security has started showing results! Finance minister Manpreet Badal on Thursday caught on camera a traffic cop accepting bribe. Travelling in a private vehicle without a sign of his position, the minister saw the cop accepting bribe at Gurthali Bridge in Doraha.

    He shot a video of the episode and forwarded it to Ludhiana police commiss ionerKunwar Vijay Partap Singh.

    After finding that the cop was from Khanna, the commissioner referred the matter to Khanna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajjit Singh Hundal. After investigation, the Khanna SSP suspended two cops, identified as head constables Manjit Singh and Jagjot Singh.

    Manpreet Badal was on way to Chandigarh from Ferozepur via Ludhiana after attending the martyrdom day function of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at Hussainiwala border.

    Manpreet was driving his Toyota Innova SUV when he saw the cops accepting bribe from a commuter at Gurthali Bridge. Manpreet filmed the episode through his mobile camera.

    Police commissioner said the finance minister telephoned him and also sent the video clips on Whatsapp. “I investigated and found that the errant cop was from the traffic wing of Khanna police and referred the case to Khanna SSP,” he said.

    Khanna SSP Hundal confirmed the suspension of the cops.

    “We will investigate from whom the cop accepted bribe and how much money he had taken. But they have been suspended with immediate effect and a departmental inquiry initiated against them,” said the SSP.

    He said the video has only confession of the policeman seeking apology from the minister.

    APOLOGY DRAMA

    After the cops came to know that they have been videotaped, head constable Manjit Singh came near finance minister Manpreet Badal’s vehicle, seeking apology. “Tuhadi jutti te mera sar, ek baar bakhsh do” (You can hit my head with shoe, forgive me once)”. Manpreet rebuffed the cop saying “you are getting ₹50,000 as salary and still accepting bribe”.

    50% of cops at meeting were drunk: Ludhiana police chief

    ‘20% of cops didn’t attend meeting, 30% of men in traffic wing unfit’

    On Wednesday, when Ludhiana police commissioner Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh gave premature retirement to three traffic cops for challaning a Sikh woman in defiance of his order, nearly half of the cops who attended a briefing convened by him in the evening were drunk, if the officer is to be believed. As per the commissioner, 20% of the cops didn’t attend the meeting and about 30% of the men in the traffic wing comprising 254 personnel were physically unfit.

    The commissioner ordered a major reshuffle in the department on Thursday, transferring almost all the staff posted with the traffic wing elsewhere. He also reduced the strength of the traffic wing in city by 60% to ‘streamline traffic through selfpolicing’.

    The commissioner also ordered that no cop will be deployed in the traffic wing for more than a year. Also, those aged 40 and above will not be posted with the traffic wing, he said. He also abolished the post of traffic munshi with a duty officer, who will an assistant sub-inspector level officer and at least a graduate, assisted by a constable.

    CALL WAS MADE TO DGP TO DEFAME ME

    The commissioner said a call was made to the DGP (law and order) by ‘someone’ from within the police department informing him that “I had ordered that Sikh women should be challaned”. He said challaning a Sikh woman two-sheeler rider for not wearing a helmet was a well-planned conspiracy to defame him by creating a controversy on the basis of religion. The commissioner had ordered that no challans be issued in Ludhiana for the next one month.

    “It was a well planned attempt to defame me by creatinga controversy and giving it a religious colour,” he said. He, however, said he was reconsidering his ‘no-challan’ order.

    Those given premature retirement on Wednesday were: ASIs Kulwinder Singh, Davinder Singh and head constable Neel Kanth.

    To prevent crime against women, the commissioner has formed two all-woman teams to check eve teasing and harassment of women.

     


    Row over who sits in House front row AAP protests no seat for 2 LIP MLAs

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, March 23

    With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today rejecting the seats allocated to its MLAs and its ally, the Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), a confrontation seems inevitable on the opening day of the newly constituted 14th  Vidhan Sabha tomorrow.Pro tem Speaker Rana Kanwar Pal Singh will take a decision on the matter in consultation with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh before the start of the session.   AAP will decide its course thereafter.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)The conflict is regarding the 12 seats in the first row. AAP legislators are upset that no seat has been allocated to the Lok Insaaf Party in this row. The party has two MLAs — Balwinder Singh Bains and younger brother Simarjit Singh.The House has seating arrangements in three blocks — treasury benches on the Speaker’s right,  where the 77 Congress MLAs will be seated; the opposite block for the Opposition MLAs and the block facing the Speaker’s chair for other parties/Independents or members of the ruling party, in case there are not enough seats in the main block. AAP has 20 MLAs, the second highest, while the Akalis have 15. Both will get seats in the Opposition rows but AAP’s HS Phoolka, being the Leader of the Opposition, will be seated opposite the CM. AAP has been allotted five seats in the front row, the Akalis four and the BJP two. One seat is reserved for the Deputy Speaker. The LIP has been allotted two seats in the third block. The Bains brothers had occupied seats in this block as Independents in the last House as well.Phoolka told The Tribune he had rejected the seat arrangement. “The Lok Insaaf Party  had a pre-poll alliance with AAP as had the Akalis with the BJP.  If they can be seated together and their senior leaders allotted seats in the front row, why not AAP and LIP leaders?” he asked.Phoolka, contending that AAP and it ally would have a joint House strategy, said: “We have demanded that the Speaker allots the LIP seats to us.” Sources said in view of the Bains brothers’ tenacity to dominate House proceedings, AAP was keen on seeing at least one of them on the front seat.“We have allocated seats as per the party position. The seats are not allocated as per alliance or coalition,” explained Vidhan Sabha officials, who faced an unusual situation, having to accommodate the Leader of the SAD Legislature Party as also the former CM, the seniormost politician not only in Punjab, but the country too.

    Parliamentary secys next on Capt agenda

    Ministry expansion before June session

    Rajmeet Singh

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, March 23

    Barely a week after taking oath as Chief Minister and inducting nine ministers, Capt Amarinder Singh today not only announced the expansion of his ministry “before the Budget session in June”, but also said he would introduce a Bill in the Punjab Assembly to appoint MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, a clear indication that Congress MLAs have been lobbying hard with the high command for their elevation.The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in August last year quashed the appointment of 18 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries in the SAD-BJP government, ruling that they were acting as “junior ministers” in contravention of the Constitution’s intent to limit the Council of Ministers to 15 per cent of the strength of the legislature.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)Capt Amarinder said he intended to attach parliamentary secretaries with various ministers to acquaint them with matters of governance. He said he would be happy to see his party appoint his successor in the last year of his tenure.Capt Amarinder said he would give due representation to all regions and communities. As of now, there is one minister from the Doaba region, three from Majha and six from Malwa, including the Chief Minister. The Congress has 77 Congress MLAs in the Assembly. There is room for eight more ministers in the Cabinet.Meanwhile, justifying the decision to retain Suresh Arora as the Punjab DGP, Capt Amarinder said he was a thoroughly professional officer while the Chief Secretary had to be changed because of his proximity to the previous SAD-BJP government.

    Amarinder hails PM’s initiative on farm debt waiver

    ribune News Service

    Chandigarh, March 23

    Reiterating his commitment to farm loan waiver, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today welcomed reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had instructed the Niti Aayog to make an assessment and formulate a plan for debt waiver.While the state government had already initiated the debt waiver process in the state, it was heartening to see the Central government also moving towards the waiver of the debts of the beleaguered farmers around the country, said Capt Amarinder.The CM, who had raised the farm debt waiver issue with the Prime Minister on Wednesday, said he had received an extremely warm response from both Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, whom he met in New Delhi.Cong finding excuses: Badal Former CM Parkash Singh Badal said by linking its loan waiver promise with the demand for a Central package, the government was finding escape routes to run away from its promise on loan waiver. “The demand for the financial package should be de-linked from the Congress poll promise as that promise was not made on behalf of the Prime Minister. The CM should have announced the loan waiver in a Cabinet decision before going to Delhi,” he said.

    MCD: Cong banks on Capt

    The Congress is banking on CM Capt Amarinder Singh to put up a strong show in the upcoming Assembly bypoll and the April 23 Municipal Corporation (MCD) elections.Capt Amarinder has consented to campaign and is likely to address a massive rally on March 30 in Rajouri Garden, where an Assembly bypoll is due on April 9.The seat fell vacant after AAP’s Jarnail Singh vacated it to take on former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi constituency. — TNS


    Akalis didn’t prepare SYL case properly: Rana Gurjit

    KHATKARKALAN(SBSNAGAR): Targeting the previous government over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, power and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit Singh on Thursday alleged the Akalis had not prepared the case properly, which had now brought Punjab to the brink of severe water crisis.

    PARDEEP PANDIT/HTCabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh paying tributes to Bhagat Singh at the martyr’s native village Khatkar Kalan.

    He was addressing a gathering at Khatkar Kalan village on the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh. The cabinet minister accused Akalis of making hollow claims of making sacrifices for the river waters but failed to raise the state’s concerns before the apex court.

    “I have talked with chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his team is already in New Delhi to chalk out a strategy to present the issue strongly in the court,” he said, adding the government is trying to bring the case before a tribunal.

    Slamming the SAD-BJP government of ignoring the Doaba region, Rana Gurjit said the Congress government will strengthen irrigation facilities in the region by setting up an advanced system of channelising water from rivers to farms through pipes.

    Remembering the great sacrifices of freedom fighters and martyrs, he said Bhagat Singh, who had dreamed of a free and democratic nation, had never thought that the future generation will fall prey to drugs. He said the Congress government’s priority was to fulfil Capt’s commitment of making Punjab a drug-free state.