CHANDIGARH, JANUARY 17: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has convened an all-party meeting on January 23 to evolve a comprehensive strategy to tackle the critical water situation in the light of the fast-depleting water resources in the state.

The Chief Minister disclosed this in the Vidhan Sabha on Friday, on the second day of the 2-day special session of the House. He was intervening in a discussion on `The Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Bill 2020’, introduced by his government.Invitations for the meeting had already been sent out, he disclosed, adding that all matters related to water issues in the state, including the SYL issue,poor quality of ground water and pollution caused by industrial and domestic waste, would also be thoroughly discussed during the all party meeting, in a bid to evolve consensus to chalk out a detailed strategy to address these problems.

The Bill, introduced by Irrigation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, was later passed by the House unanimously, thus paving the way for the creation of Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority to manage the critical water resource in the state. Both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supported the Bill, expressing grave concern over the scarce water resources and the depleting ground water table in the state.

During his intervention, in response to certain issues raised by the Leader of the Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, the Chief Minister flayed the Opposition for their constant criticism of his government on the issue, while themselves failing to contributing in any way to tackling the problem. Pointing out that he and his colleagues had already given up power subsidy for tubewells, Captain Amarinder challenged Opposition leaders to show if any of them had heeded his appeal, yet, to do the same. The appeal, he said, was aimed at ensuring judicious use of groundwater and inculcating the habit of water saving.

Describing the depleting ground water table, and the growing pollution of river water, as serious issues, the Chief Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to resolving the problem, which was particularly acute in the districts of southern Punjab, such as Sri Muktsar Sahib, leading to heavy incidence of cancer.

Citing his visit to Israel to explore ways and means to tackle the problem of water scarcity, the Chief Minister said that the West Asian country was also facing acute crisis and facing exhaustion of its water resources in the next 15 years. He, however, said that Israel had a vast sea in its vicinity , from where they could cater to their country’s water requirement after desalinating the sea water. Unfortunately, Punjab did not have the option and could risk overexploitation of its water resources only if it was prepared to become a desert in the coming years.

The Chief Minister apprised the House that his government had already signed an agreement with National Water Company of Israel M/s Mekorot for formulation a Water Conservation and Management Master Plan (WCMMP) for conservation and management of water resources in the state.

The Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority, provided by the Bill, will consist of a Chairman and two other members to be appointed by the Government. The Authority will be responsible for management and conversion of water resources of the state in a judicious, equitable and sustainable manner, and will be empowered to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for this purpose.

The authority will also be empowered to issue directions and guidelines for the conservation and management of the water resources, besides issuing tariff orders specifying the charges to be imposed by entities supplying water for drinking domestic, commercial or industrial use.

The Bill also proposes the constitution of an Advisory Committee on Water Resources, to be notified by the Government. It will consist of experts and ex-officio members from various government departments, to advise the authority. The authority may also engage experts on its own.

The authority shall have, and maintain, a separate fund, to be called the Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority Fund, in which the grants/loans would be credited by the Punjab Government. The Bill also proposes to empower the Government to issue to the Authority general or specific directions in writing, in the matters of policy involving public interest, and the Authority shall be bound to follow and act upon such directions. Tariff fixation would be done by the Authority as per the policy prescribed by the Government.



CHANDIGARH, JANUARY 17: Punjab Chief Minister and CLP leader Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday led the Vidhan Sabha in paying homage to freedom fighters, as well as political and other eminent personalities, who had passed away since the last session of the Assembly.

The House paid its respects to former ministers Jasbir Singh and Sukhdev Singh Shehbazpuri, and two ex-MLAs, namely Comrade Buta Singh and Daljit Kaur Padiala, along with freedom fighters Raj Kumar, Jeevan Singh and Mohinder Singh Slooja. The House also remembered Mahavir Chakra Awardee Brig Manjit Singh and paid tributes to famous Punjabi folk Singer Mohammad Sharif Idu, besides eminent editor and Punjabi columnist Shingara Singh Bhullar.

A two-minute silence was observed in the memory of departed souls as a mark of respect during the obituary references, on the second day of the tenth (special) session of the 15th Vidhan Sabha.

Meanwhile, Speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh proposed that homage be paid to all those members who had passed away since the previous session. After the obituary references to the 10 eminent personalities, he passed a resolution for conveying the condolences of the House to their respective families. The resolution was passed by voice vote.

The Speaker also proposed that homage be paid to Smt. Raj Rani, mother of former Rajya Sabha Member and senior BJP Leader Avinash Rai Khanna,as well as to Surjit Kaur, mother of MLA Najar Singh Manshahia.

On the request of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, the name of eminent Punjabi writer and Sikh historian Prof. Surjit Hans was also added to the obituary list. On the request of MLA Randeep Singh Nabha, the Speaker also consented to include the name of senior journalist Hardev Singh, the son of renowned freedom fighter Baba Kishan Singh, to obituary references.




Chandigarh, January 17: Describing the controversial legislation as ‘inherently discriminatory’ and a negation of the very secular fabric on which the Constitution of India is based, the Punjab Assembly on Friday adopted, by voice vote, a hard-hitting resolution seeking immediate repeal of the unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), which Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh compared with the ethnic and religious cleansing of Hitler’s Germany.
Clearly, no lessons had been learnt from history, said a visibly anguished Chief Minister during the discussion on the resolution, which also urged the Central Government to put on hold the work on the National Population Register (NPR), till forms/documents associated with it are amended suitably, in order to allay apprehensions that it is a prelude to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and designed to deprive a section of persons from citizenship of India and implement CAA.
The resolution, which termed CAA as divisive and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, was introduced in the House by Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra, and witnessed extensive discussion before being put to vote by Speaker Rana KP Singh.
Pointing to the omission of Muslims and such other communities as Jews from the ambit of citizenship under the CAA, the resolution asked for a repeal of the Act “to avoid any discrimination on the basis of religion in granting citizenship and to ensure equality before law for all religious groups in India.”
Talking informally to mediapersons outside the House, the Chief Minister said the Centre would have to make the necessary amendments to CAA if it had to be implemented in Punjab and other states opposing the legislation. Like Kerala, his government would also approach the Supreme Court on the issue, he added. In response to a question, he made it clear that the census in Punjab would be conducted on the old parameters and the new factors added by the Centre for the purpose of the NPR would not be included.

Terming the divisive Act as a tragedy that he was unfortunate to witness in his lifetime, the Chief Minister earlier spoke from the heart in the House to lament that “what happened in Germany under Hitler in 1930 is happening in India now.” “Germans did not speak then, and they regretted it, but we have to speak now, so that we don’t regret later,” he asserted, urging the Opposition, particularly the Akalis, to read Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ to understand the dangers of CAA. He said he would get the book translated and distributed so that all could read and grasp the historical mistakes that Hitler made.

“What is happening in India is not good for the country,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that people could see and understand, and were protesting spontaneously, without any instigation.” Making an impassioned plea to the Akalis to rise above politics and think about their own country before deciding on their vote, he said he had never imagined such a tragedy could happen in a secular nation like India, which had more Muslims than Pakistan.
“Where will all those people, who you brand as non-citizens, go? Where will the 18 lakh people declared illegal in Assam go if other countries refuse to take them? Has anyone thought about it? Has the Home Minister even thought about what has to be done with the so-called illegal people? Where will the poor people get their birth certificates from?” asked the Chief Minister, declaring that “we all have to live together as citizens of secular India in our own interest.”

People of all faiths have lived harmoniously together in this country all these years, and Muslims have given their lives for this country, said the Chief Minister, citing the example of Indian Army soldier Abdul Hamid, who received the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his actions during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, just like many others. The Cellular Jail in Andamans was full of Muslim names, he pointed out.

“Why have Muslims been excluded? And why have they (Centre) not included Jews in the CAA?”, asked Captain Amarinder, pointing out that India had a Jew Governor, General Jacob, who also fought for the nation in the 1971 war.

Those responsible for this situation should be ashamed of themselves, said the Chief Minister, even as he lashed out at the Akalis for supporting the legislation in Parliament and then speaking on it in different voices to promote their political agenda. Pointing out that Punjab had just celebrated the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, who taught that “koyi Hindu nahin, koyi Mussalman nahin, sab rab key bandey,” Captain Amarinder asked the Akalis if they had forgotten the Guru’s teachings. “You should be ashamed, and you will repent this one day,” he said, adding that he felt bad about speaking in such language but circumstances had made it necessary.


Punjab higher education & languages Minister Tript Bajwa condoles death of eminent Historian Prof. Surjit Hans

Chandigarh, January 17: The Punjab higher education and languages Minister Tript Bajwa has condoled the death of noted Historian Prof. Surjit Hans (89).

Sharing his heartfelt sympathies with the family members of Prof. Hans, Mr. Bajwa prayed to the Almighty to grant enternal peace to the departed soul and give strength to the bereaved family to bear this huge loss.

Notably, Prof. Surjit Hans was a well known Punjabi writer and historian, who passed away this early morning. Author of more than 70 books Prof. Hans was a Punjab Sahit Academy and Chandigarh Sahit Academy awardee. Besides, he was also honoured by the Punjab Government and many prestigious educational institutes and other literary organisations across the world. His one of the major works include complete translation of Shakespeare in Punjabi, including poetry for which he was appreciated worldwide and honored in London.


Cabinet Ministers Aruna Chaudhary, Vijay Inder Singla and Bharat Bhushan Ashu condole the sad demise of Prof. Surjit Hans

Chandigarh, January 17-Punjab Social Security and Women & Child Development Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary, Education & PWD Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla and Food & Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs Minister Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu expressed their condolences on the sad demise of well known Punjabi writer, scholar and historian Prof. Surjit Hans, who breathed his last early morning today.

Remembering the literary work of deceased scholar, they said that Surjit Hans, who had been associated with farming, translated the whole writings of the William Shakespeare into Punjabi by continuously devoting twenty years and translated three and a half dozen books of William Shakespeare under the patronage of the Punjabi University, Patiala.

Expressing their heartfelt sympathies with the family members of Prof. Hans, the Cabinet Ministers prayed to the Almighty to grant eternal peace to the departed soul and give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss.


National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission's sitting at Chandigarh from January 20

12 day long sitting of the Circuit Bench to resolve the disputes of consumers of Punjab

Chandigarh, January 17:The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission will hold the sitting of the Circuit Bench from January 20 to 31, 2020 to resolve the disputes of consumers of the State of Punjab.

Disclosing this here today, an official spokesperson of the commission said that the commission will hold 12 day long Circuit Bench at third floor in the office of the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Plot No.5-B, Sector 19-B, Madhya Marg. Chandigarh.

He further mentioned that during this period, fresh cases can also be filed and listed before the Circuit Bench of the Hon'ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission other than the cases already under consideration in the court of law. "It has also been intimated that approximately 150- 175 pending cases will be taken up by the Circuit Bench at Chandigarh", he said, adding that the cases could increase or decrease depending upon the response of the consumers belonging to the State of Punjab and the filing of the cases during this period.