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Punjab sets example: Shuns red beacon, announces job reservation for women

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Amrinder Singh

Chandigarh, March 18: Bringing a major break-through in its maiden meeting here on Saturday, the newly elect Punjab Cabinet announced job reservation for women in urban and rural local bodies and restricted the use of red beacons on official vehicles by government officials inlcuding the Chief MinisterAmrinder Singh.

Announcing a big relief to farmers, the Punjab Cabinet has ruled out auction of farmers’ land owing to non payment of loans. The state has also promised to come up with a new transport policy.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal told media after the meeting, “Punjab is the first state to give 33 per cent reservation for women in jobs, including contractual appointments, and 50 per cent reservation to them in Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies.”

He also informed that the Cabinet has announced the setting up of a special Cabinet sub-committee to provide details on debt of farmers within 60 days to enable the Congress government to take further action.

Badal said the Chief Minister, ministers and legislators will no longer lay foundation stones of public projects and also not inaugurate them.

Even for big projects of Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore or Rs 500 crore, the names of the Chief Minister and ministers will not be displayed (on the foundation or inauguration stones). It will carry only one line — the project has been executed with the money of the taxpayers,” Badal said.

He said liquor quota would be drastically reduced and liquor vends reduced by 400 to 500 initially.

“We want to reduce liquor consumption by 50 percent in five years,” he said.

The first Cabinet meeting discussed 140 agenda items.

Promising to curb cartelisation and monopolisation of bus transport in Punjab, which was prevalent in the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government rule of 10 years, Badal said a new transport policy will be taken up at the next Cabinet meeting.

We will reduce our expenses and increase our revenue. In five years, we will make Punjab a revenue-neutral state,” Badal, the estranged nephew of previous Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said.

The Congress leader said the mafia rule which he claimed was encouraged in the previous regime will end.

We will butcher the mafia operating in Punjab. No one in the mafia will be able to survive the state’s action,” Badal said.

The minister said all MLAs will submit lists of their property in the assembly on January 1 every year, including the Chief Minister and ministers.

“We will bring a strong Lokpal Bill in the assembly. This will be more comprehensive than the bill proposed by social activist Anna Hazare and his movement. This will include the Chief Minister, ministers and high officials,” the Finance Minister said.

Other decisions include scrapping of ‘halqa’ (area) in-charge system prevailing during the previous government’s rule, abolition of district transport office (DTO), fixed duty hours for police personnel, initiation of detailed police and governance reforms and setting up of degree colleges in every sub-division.

The Amarinder Singh-led Congress government assumed charge in Punjab on March 16 after the Congress swept the assembly polls on March 11, winning 77 of the 117 assembly seats.

Wefornews Bureau (with ANI inputs)

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Hindu group attacks Christmas carol singers in MP

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Satna (Madhya Pradesh), Dec 15 : Alleging religious conversion, a mob linked to a right-wing Hindu group attacked Catholic carol singers in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district and also set a priest’s car ablaze.

The incident occurred on Thursday evening. Instead of taking action against the attackers, the police detained the Christian singers, a priest said.

Father Rene Verghese told IANS on Friday: “A group of students training to become priests was moving around Satna town, visiting Christian institutions and singing carols.

“Some 15 km from here in Dara Kalan village church they were getting ready for the Christmas celebrations, when a group of people attacked them, accusing them of carrying out religious conversion.”

Verghese said the Hindu group raised slogans and called the Civil Lines police station.

All 32 carollers, accompanied by two priests, who were singing carols were picked up and taken to the police station. Eight priests who later went to the police station to enquire into the matter were also taken into custody, he said.

The agitating mob attacked the Christian students inside the police station, and set fire to the priest’s car parked outside.

Verghese denied any attempt at religious conversion. He said singing carols is a common practice around the time of Christmas. “We were just doing that and preparing for the Christmas celebrations.”

However, City Superintendent of Police D.D. Pande told IANS: “One Dharmendra Dohad has registered a complaint with us that he was paid Rs 5,000 and converted to a Christian.

“He was given a holy dip in a pond and his name was changed to Dharmendra Thomas, the complainant said. They also asked him to pray to Lord Christ,” he said.

A case has been registered against one identified person and five unknown persons in the conversion case, Pande said.

They are also investigating the vandalism carried out by the mob.

IANS

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One-way traffic restored on Jammu-Srinagar highway

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Jammu, Dec 15: Authorities allowed only one way-traffic movements on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Friday due of bad road conditions, officials said.

“One-way traffic will be allowed on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Vehicles will be allowed to move from Srinagar to Jammu and no vehicle will be allowed to move from the opposite direction,” news agency IANS quoted an official of the traffic department was saying.

“This precaution has been taken keeping the safety of the commuters in mind,” he added.

Since all essentials of life are connected to the landlocked Kashmir Valley through this highway, temporary closures because of snowfall and landslides often result in profiteers and black marketeers hoarding goods to hike prices.

WeForNews 

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Delhi Govt reserves 50% beds for Delhiites at GB Pant Hospital

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New Delhi, Dec 15: Half of beds at the Delhi government’s flagship super-specialty G B Pant Hospital will be reserved for the city’s residents in a bid to provide timely and best available treatment to the patients. 

The order was issued by the Delhi government ‘s Health and Family Welfare Department on December 12.

“To provide timely and best available treatment for patients who are resident of Delhi, in GB Pant Hopsital (GIPMER), which is the flagship Super-speciality hospital of GNCTD, it has been decided that 50% of the total beds shall be reserved for the patients, particularly residents of Delhi”, the order said.

To avail this facility, patient should have been referred by another Delhi government hospital and admission should be required for only special treatment or for planned surgeries.

WeForNews 

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