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Punjab cabinet approves Rs 60 lakh compensation for Shillong Sikh community

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Amrinder Singh

Chandigarh, Dec 11 : The Punjab cabinet on Tuesday approved relaxation in instructions of the Relief and Resettlement Department for providing Rs 60 lakh as compensation to the Sikh community against the damage caused to their properties during violence in Shillong on May 31 this year.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that out of the total amount of Rs 60 lakh, Rs 50 lakh would be provided to Khalsa Middle School, Bara Bazar, for reconstruction, as its old building has been declared unsafe.

The rest of the money will be given to the members of Sikh community who suffered losses in the violence.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had deputed a four-member delegation led by Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to visit Shillong for taking stock of the damage caused to the properties of Sikh community in violence.

The delegation had detailed deliberations with the members of the community, where certain requests were made by the Sikhs for monetary assistance, the spokesperson said.

On their return from the strife-torn areas of Shillong, the delegation submitted a report and apprised the Chief Minister about the situation.

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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BJP accuses TMC of vandalising posters ahead of Shah’s rally

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Amit Shah BJP

Malda (West Bengal), Jan 22 (IANS) The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers of vandalising posters and decorative gates ahead of party chief Amit Shah’s rally here.

“Gates, welcome arches, posters, cut-outs, festoons have been vandalised ahead of our national president’s rally. Gates have set on fire. Vehicles carrying our supporters are being stopped in many places,” state BJP President Dilip Ghosh said.

BJP supporters and activists were threatened and harassed so that they could not attend the programme, he alleged.

“Despite all these, our supporters are active and the process of ‘paribartan’ (change) has been started,” he added.

After high drama over denial of permission for facilitating the landing of Shah’s chopper in Malda, the state’s BJP leadership said that they finally received the clearance at two places in the district.

The BJP received permission to land the chopper at the helipads in Golden Park Hotel here and the one used by the Border Security Force in Malda district.

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Himachal Pradesh: 26 injured after tourist bus skids off road in Bilaspur

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bilaspur bus accident
Photo Credit- ANI

Himachal Pradesh, Jan 22: At least 26 people were injured after a tourist bus skidded off the road near Swarghat area in Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur district on Monday.

The 18 injured people have been shifted to the hospital in Nalaghar in Solan district.

Other 8 people who were seriously injured were shifted to PGIMER at Chandigarh.

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