Jalandhar, April 14-Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday directed the Congress MPs from the state to fight in Parliament to ensure that the SC/ST Act is not diluted, while asserting his government’s commitment to implementing the 85th amendment to the Constitution for the benefit of the Dalit community.

Expressing concern about the dilution of the SC/ST Act, the Chief Minister said the Congress would strive to restore the powers given to the Dalits under it. 

Recalling that he had implemented the 85th amendment during his previous tenure, the Chief Minister pointed out that his government had enacted the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006, providing for reservation in promotions in Government jobs. 

He lashed out at the Akalis for putting the legislation in cold storage during their regime, and asserted that he would ensure its implementation while fulfilling the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had struck down the provisions providing for accelerated reservations in promotions due to certain administrative shortcomings.

Asserting his government’s commitment to safeguarding the interests of the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Captain Amarinder assured that his government would take all necessary steps to restore the legal position in the matter.

Addressing a state-level function here to mark Dr. BR Ambedkar’s 127th birth anniversary, the Chief Minister paid glowing tributes to the great social reformer, describing him as a far-sighted man who could visualize the future and drafted the Constitution accordingly. Lauding Dr Ambedkar’s role in promoting the welfare of the Dalits, Captain Amarinder said he was hand-picked by India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru for his extensive knowledge.

In his address, Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that had the Akalis accepted the request of Dr Ambedkar back in 1936 to allow the conversion of Dalits into Sikhs, the entire community would have been holding the reins of powers today in the country. Lambasting the Akalis for their anti-Dalit policies, he said the Congress and Captain Amarinder Singh were the only hope to rescue the Dalit samaj from their miseries.

Social Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot also blasted the Akalis over their failure to do anything for the welfare of the community. In fact, after looting the state left, right and centre, they were now trying to undermine the Congress government’s initiatives, such as loan waiver, for uplift of the underprivileged and the farmers, he added.

Higher Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary was vocal in her appreciation of Dr Ambedkar’s role in promoting the welfare of the Dalit community.

Punjab Congress president and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar appreciated Captain Amarinder’s efforts to uplift the Dalit community, saying the Chief Minister understood their pain and had announced the waiver of their loans up to Rs 50000 for this reason. He lashed out at the BJP-led government at the Centre for dividing the country on communal and caste lines, pointing out that under their rule, Dr Ambedkar’s statues were being desecrated and defiled around the country. The BJP was destroying India’s social fabric, he added.

He also flayed what the Centre had done to undermine the Dalit power by diluting the SC/ST Act. What was more, the Centre owed Rs 1,100 core to Punjab in connection with the post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students, he added.

Santokh Singh, MP, lashed out at the BJP for trying to divide the vision of Dr Ambedkar, pointing out that the Prime Minister had always maintained a studious silence on the various incidents of atrocities against Dalits under the NDA regime. The central government’s remote control was with the RSS, which was brazenly creating divisions in the society, he added. Captain Amarinder, he said, had always fought for the rights of the Dalit Samaj, which constituted 32% of the state’s population.

Raj Kumar Verka, MLA, also flayed the BJP for spreading venom through their communal and casteist policies.

Others present on the occasion included Media Advisor to CM, Raveen Thukral, along with OSD Gurpreet Singh Sonu Dhesi, MLAs Rana Gurjit Singh, Pargat Singh, Rajinder Beri, Sushil Kumar Rinku, Dr. Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Bawa Henry, Chaudhary Surinder Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Santokh Singh Bhalaipur, Chairman Markfed Amarjit Singh Samra, Former Minister Avtar Henry, Joginder Singh Mann, Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Brij Bhupinder Singh Kang, Mohinder Singh Kaypee and ex-MLA Jagbir Singh Brar.



Chandigarh, April 14:The Baisakhi festival was celebrated here today at the Punjab Kala Bhawan during a cultural programme by the Jugni Cultural Club, Mohali and Cultural Unity Centre. The extravaganza courtesy the efforts of Devinder Jugni and Jarnail Hoshiarpuri saw employees of the Punjab Civil Secretariat showcasing their talent.

The Chief Guest on the occasion was the Director, Hospitality Department Punjab and Special Secretary Protocol Mr. Kamal Kishore Yadav who in his address said that it is a healthy trend to celebrate the baisakhi festival in such grand manner by the government employees taking time off from their busy professional life. He also said that such joyous occasions act as a tonic in terms of increasing the efficiency of the employees.

During the programme, Lakhvir Lakhi, Gagandeep Gaggi, Gurinder Ginda, Kulbir Saini and Sandeep Kamboj mesmerized the audience by the soulful rendition of their songs. The presentation of opera dance ‘Vaadhiyan’ by Dr. Nindi along with ‘Boliyan’ by Gurinder Ginda was also well received by the audience. The highlight of the programme was a skit by Rupinder Rupi and Devinder Jugni which regaled the audience no end. The skit had a satirical take about having a plot on the moon. The actors who delivered exceptional performances included Rupinder Rupi, Devinder Jugni, Jarnail Hoshiarpuri, Mandeep Singh, Kulwant Singh, Kamal Sharma, Bhupinder Jhajj, Naresh and Monika Dhall. The programme was compeered very ably by Karamjit Bagga who also rendered an outstanding performance on ‘Algoza’ instrument.  




 Chandigarh, April 14-As part of its clampdown on carterlisation by transporters, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has given the go-ahead to the use of tractor-trolleys for lifting of food grains and other agriculture produce from the Mandis.

Following the Chief Minister’s approval, the Department of Transport is all set to notify the guidelines and procedure for grant of permit/license to tractor-trolleys, and their registration. 

The decision has been taken to prevent any attempt by transporters to engage in cartelization in the ongoing Rabi season, according to an official spokesperson, who pointed out that the new rates worked out by this government with transporters for lifting of food grains had yielded annual savings of Rs 150 crore. Even with an annual average increase of just 5-7 per cent, this indicated that the previous government had caused losses to be tune of Rs. 1250 crore for the state exchequer on this account alone, he added.

The spokesperson further said that there was no legal bar on the use of tractor-trolleys as good transport vehicles. However, the owners were required to register their tractor-trolleys if they intended to transport them commercially, as per notification no. S.O. 451(E) dated 19-6-1992 Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India under sub section (4) of Section 41 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.

The Department has decided to authorize RTAs in the sub-divisions where their offices are located and SDO (Civil)-cum-SDM in rest of the Sub Divisions to grant permit to Tractor-Trolley for the limited purpose of carriage of food grains, from any Mandi Yard/Purchase Centre to a delivery point not farther than 25 km. Of this, a maximum of 12 km can be on a state highway/national highway, which shall be mentioned on the permit. A delivery point can be a godown, a plinth, a warehouse, a silo, a rice mill, a railway siding etc.

Application fee for grant of permit under Rule 67 and Permit fee under Rule 68 of the Punjab Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 will be as notified, and LMV (Transport) license vehicle will be required to drive the tractor trolleys as a Goods Transport Vehicle, according to the guidelines, expected to notified on Monday.

The trolleys need not be called to office for the registration, and the registration certificates and permits may be issued on the spot in a camp mode.  Wherever not specifically stated the procedure and requirements as regards goods carriage/transport vehicles under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 shall apply, as the case may be, and as may be applicable, from time to time. 

Noting that the decision had been taken in the larger public interest, the spokesperson pointed out that since tractor-trolleys are lying idle after the harvest, the move to allow their use for transport food grains will not only help support the procurement process but also generate additional income for the farmer/owner, if he opts for it.

The notification by the department will also lay down the specifications for obtaining fitness certificates to enable such use of the tractor-trolley. Since the Rajasthan government has laid down procedure to register tractor trolleys as goods transport vehicles, a provision has been incorporated to alternatively use the design approved by State of Rajasthan as per recommendations of Mechanical Wing of Jai Narayan Vyas University.

A Board of Inspection is being constituted, as per the notification, to certify the fitness of the vehicle prior to its registration as goods transport.