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Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : An unfortunate incident of sacrilege was reported around 7 pm on 2.11.20 when one Sewa Singh, an 18 year old resident of Suttantar Nagar, Ludhiana, informed Baldev Singh, President of Suttantar Nagar Gurudwara that some torn angs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib had been found scattered in a Paddy field in Prem Vihar, Jan Shakti Nagar area of Police Station Tibba, Ludhiana. On receiving this information, police party immediately responded and reached the spot, and FIR no.178 u/s 295-A, 34 IPC was registered on statement of Baldev Singh, President of Singh Sabha Gurudwara, Suttantar Nagar, Ludhiana.

Disclosing this a spokesperson of Punjab Police said that accused Sewa Singh had also told Baldev Singh that he had seen two motorcycle borne moving away from the spot. The scanning of CCTV footage of CCTV cameras installed in the area showed that there hadn’t been any movement of any motorcycle in that area around the reported time. Thus, his various claims and statements regarding the torn angs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji raised suspicion.

He added that on further questioning by Ludhiana police, Sewa Singh confessed that he had himself thrown the angs of a Sanchi Sahib and Gutka Sahib on the spot. On search of his house, the original Sanchi Sahib and Gutka Sahib from which Angs had been torn by Sewa Singh were recovered by the Police, alongwith residents of the area as independent witnesses. A suitcase was also recovered from basement of his house, in which torn Angs of an old Gutka Sahib had been kept. All the torn angs of Gutka Sahib and Sanchi Sahib of SGGS were thus gathered with due maryada, care and respect by S. Baldev Singh, Pardhan Gurudwara Sahib, Suttantar Nagar.

The spokesperson further added that preliminary investigations have revealed that Sewa Singh had joined a WhatsApp group Guru Nanak Sewa Dal. He came in contact with a web channel named as Punjab Star Daily, Sach diyan Tarangan, which was being operated by a person from Batala. Another member of the Whatsapp group, who was an employee of Punjab Star Daily contacted him and motivated him to share news items for his web channel. Sewa Singh sent 3-4 news items to Punjab Star but most of the news items were not published by the news channel.

He further informed that on 2nd November, in a bid to become popular and famous overnight, Sewa Singh decided to commit a sacrilege incident, portray it as having committed by someone else and then become the first one to highlight the sacrilege incident on Punjab Star Daily web channel. He brought Angs of Sanchi Sahib ji and Gutka Sahib ji from his house and scattered them in the open field in Prem Nagar area of Tibba, Ludhiana. He also shot a video from his phone for circulation as a Punjab Star Daily web channel.

Investigation and subsequent recoveries have shown that Sewa Singh had committed the incident in fulfillment of his personal motives and the unfortunate case has been traced with arrest of the accused. A forensic team from Chandigarh visited the spot for forensic examination and analysis of the spot as well as the recovered items. Further investigations are in progress.

He added that liaison was also established with Dharam Prachar Committee of SGPC and Gutka Sahib and Sanchi Sahib were handed over to them for proper custody, as per maryada. Police produced the accused in court and got two days police remand for further investigations.



Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Punjab Cabinet Ministers on Monday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its atrocious charges against the Chief Minister, saying it was the BJP state leadership that was misleading the farmers and spreading shocking lies to save their skin, after being completely cornered on the issue of the draconian Farm Laws.

Not only was the BJP in Punjab trying desperately to fool the farmers with regard to the agricultural laws of the central government but their leaders and workers were actively indulging in brazen falsehoods in a bid to exploit the sensitive and critical issue to promote their political interests, the Cabinet Ministers said in a joint statement. The fact of the matter was that the BJP was trying to incite farmers against the Chief Minister for their own political gains, they said.

In a hard-hitting reaction to BJP Punjab president Ashwani Sharma’s accusations against Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Ministers said it was obvious that the leaders of the party, which was at the centre of the ill-conceived Farm Laws, were either oblivious to the concerns of the farmers or simply did not care. “The farmers don’t need any instigation. They are hurt and shocked at the treatment being meted out to them by the BJP-led central government. They are fighting to save their livelihood and to survive. But clearly, Sharma, like other BJP leaders, has no realisation of this,” they said.

The Ministers scorned the allegation of the Congress government in Punjab, headed by Captain Amarinder, being responsible for the continued farmer protests and suspension of the goods trains. “Did we also mislead all those BJP leaders in the state who have quit in protest against the Farm Laws in recent days?” they asked, trashing Sharma’s accusation that the Chief Minister was misleading farmers as ridiculous to the extreme. Recalling that the Centre had not suspended movement of trains in Punjab even during the dark days of terrorism, the Ministers said the reasons of law and order cited by the Railways in the present instance was inexplicable, especially since the farmers had already announced their decision to allow transport of supplies by trains.

Pointing out that the security and safety of trains was the responsibility of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), with the state government having no say in the matter, the Ministers asked what the Captain Amarinder government had to do with the safe movement of trains. This was not the first time tracks had been blocked by farmers in a state, they said, adding that instances of such blockades had been reported in many places, irrespective of the government in power, even in the past. “So does that mean the chief minister of that state becomes responsible,” they quipped.

In any case, said the Ministers, it was illogical to even contemplate a chief minister indulging in an act that was causing massive economic losses to this own state, besides causing misery to his own people. That is not the way Congress chief ministers function, they said, quipping that “perhaps that’s the way of BJP chief ministers.”

Punjab’s industry is suffering, its agriculture is suffering, and the economy, which is already severely impacted by the Centre’s failure to release the state’s dues amid Covid, is further crashing day by day as a result of the suspension of the goods trains by the Railways, the Ministers pointed out. In such circumstances, it was foolhardy to even think of Captain Amarinder indulging in politics instead of trying hard to resolve the crisis, they added, asking the BJP leader to stop playing with the sentiments of the farmers, who were already going through unprecedented anguish and pain.

Reacting to Sharma’s allegation of Captain Amarinder failing to maintain law and order in the state, the Ministers suggested that the BJP Punjab chief should go and speak to the people, who had seen first-hand under the SAD-BJP regime what failure of law and order means. Captain Amarinder had successfully ended the goonda and mafia raj that prevailed during the Akali-BJP government, and ushered in an era of peace in which people could breathe freely, without fear, and industry and investment was coming back, they pointed out.

Citing the Chief Minister’s repeated statements urging all parties to rise above politics to resolve the crisis in the interest of not just the state but the nation, the Ministers said it was unfortunate that instead of responding positively, the BJP continued to indulge in political games at the cost of the farmers. But the farmers of Punjab know who is indulging in hypocrisy and who is sincere to their cause, they added.


Patiala/Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Chairman of Punjab Pollution Control Board Dr AS Marwaha today said that rather than pointing Punjab for Pollution in national capital, Delhi Authorities should check internal source of pollution.

Interacting with the media here today, the Chairman said that AQI is Satisfactory in Punjab to Moderate while in Delhi it's very poor. He questioned that How it was possible that a state with better AQI could create pollution in other state. Dr Marwaha said that cities like Panipat, Sonepat, Jind and Karnal in Haryana have poor AQI as compared to Punjab's Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and Patiala.

The Chairman said that contribution of the stubble fire in Punjab could not be the major contributing factor in the deteriorating air quality of NCR especially New Delhi. Rather he said that it is due to the internal polluting sources of NCR and climatic conditions that develop during the month of October till March every year, which deteriorate atmosphere in Delhi.

The Chairman further explained that in case, the stubble fires would have been the major reason for deteriorating air quality, then the Ambient Air Quality of Punjab would have also shown the similar trends as it is also recipient of the pollutants through trans-boundary transportation from neighbouring countries due to stubble fires. However, he said that AQI of Punjab is generally in the Moderate range (100-200) whereas, the AQI of Delhi stations crosses very poor category. Although, Dr Marwaha said that the stubble fires are blamed to be the major factor in the very poor air quality of Delhi and nearby areas, however, the poor air quality during the month of December, January & February every year in Delhi and NCR area when there are no stubble fires, can only be explained that the environment of NCR is in mainly recipient of PM2.5 and PM10 pollutants from their internal source like industrial, power plants, vehicular traffic, residential, airport activity, municipal solid waste landfill site fires, eateries, construction activities and other anthropogenic activities etc.

The air quality index starts increasing significantly after Karnal / Panipat region, which are near to Delhi part of the NCR. The comparison of the PM 2.5 data of April 2019 & 2020 can be used to identify the contribution of the local sources in Delhi atmosphere as there was the total lockdown during April 2020. During lockdown with most of activities on hold, the difference in the PM 2.5 value reveals that local pollution sources are the major contribution to the Delhi air quality.

After discounting the contribution of these sources from October-2020 month data, the contribution of other sources including stubble are much low and further the contribution of the Punjab stubble fire may be minimal. Significant increase in concentration of PM 10 on various Delhi stations during October-2020 also indicate to the contribution of internal sources, which can be further explained due to unfavourable climatic conditions like lowering of temperature, wind speed and dispersion coefficient. PPCB Member Secretary Er. Karunesh Garg and Environment Engineer S S Matharu were also present there.

Democracies world over come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid 19

ECI hosts International Webinar on ‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for

Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences’

Two Publications released on the occasion; India A-WEB Centre to bring

out an ‘A-WEB India Journal of Elections’.

CEC highlights scale of elections to be conducted in Bihar amid the Covid19 pandemic;

Commission to take a decision soon on visiting the State

New Delhi (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : On completion of one year of Chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), Election Commission of India today hosted an International Webinar on the Theme ‘‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country Experiences’. It was an occasion for democracies world over to come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid19.

It may be recalled that last year on 03 Sep 2019 India had taken over as Chair of A-WEB for 2019-2021 term during the 4th General Assembly of A-WEB held at Bengaluru. Inaugurating the Webinar, Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India and Chairperson, A-WEB Shri Sunil Arora spoke of the "tough predicament" faced by Election Management Bodies across the world - whether and how to hold scheduled elections in a state of public health emergency.

He said the contextual framework of every country was different, the extent and trajectory of the disease varied and so did the capacity of each country to respond to the novel corona virus and its catastrophic impact. He mentioned countries such as South Korea, Australia, Malawi, Taiwan, Mongolia and many others who went ahead with scheduled elections even as they put in place the enormous arrangements required to ensure the health and safety of people while conducting election.

Shri Sunil Arora mentioned that Elections in India pose formidable challenges on account of large electorate, geographical and linguistic diversity and differing climatic conditions. Explaining in detail the scale of the upcoming elections to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar, he mentioned that the total number of electors is 72.9 million.

Explaining the impact of Covid-19 on the election, Shri Arora highlighted how Covid19 exigencies and social distancing measures necessitated a revisit of ECI's extant instructions. The maximum number of electors at a polling station was reduced from 1500 to 1000, and consequently, the number of polling stations jumped by 40 per cent, from 65,000 to 100,000. These changes have huge logistics and manpower implications. CEC mentioned that the Commission would take a decision within the next two to three days, on visiting Bihar.

Chief Election Commissioner also mentioned that ECI has placed a lot of emphasis on extending facilitation to senior citizens, women, Persons with disabilities and in current circumstances, ensuring franchise to Covid positive voters and those in quarantine. In this context, the CEC mentioned how, beginning with the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand in November-December 2019, and elections to the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in February 2020, the postal ballot facility was extended to voters who are aged more than 80 years, persons with disability and those who engaged in specified essential services. This facility of postal ballot has been extended to Covid positive electors who are in quarantine/hospitalized.

Shri Sunil Arora mentioned the specific and detailed guidelines that have been drawn up on conducting election during the time of Covid. He also mentioned the successful conduct of elections to 18 seats of the Rajya Sabha in the month of June, 2020. He noted that elections are due in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Naduin the first half of the year 2021.

CEC recalled the AWEB General Assembly, held in Bengaluru in September 2019. He noted that the Webinar today is being held under the aegis of India A-WEB Centre on the occasion of completion of one year of ECI’s term as Chair of A-WEB.

Mentioning the two publications being released today viz. ‘Brief Profiles of the Countries, member EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB’and ‘COVID 19 and International Election Experience’, he said these would be a useful tool for researchers and practitioners alike. He said that A-WEB India Centre has also progressed considerably towards publishing a world class journal called “AWEB Journal of Elections’. The first issue of this journal will be released in March 2021.

Over 120 delegates from 45 countries across the world (viz. Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia,Mozambique, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tonga, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Zambia) and 4 international organizations (viz. International IDEA, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and European Centre for Elections) participated in the Webinar today.

The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide. At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 16 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members. ECI has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011-12.


Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday dismissed the Centre’s paltry hike in MSP of Wheat and five other Rabi crops as a cruel joke on the farmers amid their growing apprehensions about abolition of the MSP regime following the passage of the new Agriculture Bills in Parliament.

“This is callous. They have made a mockery of the farmers’ protests over the Farm Bills, which by all accounts will eventually pave the way for ending the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and abolish the Food Corporation of India,” said the Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder said if the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre thought it would appease the agitating farms with this trifling hike they clearly did not understand the situation. “You can’t just throw crumbs at someone who may be on the verge of losing his livelihood as a result of your shameful actions,” he told the Union Government.

The farmers have been asking for a written guarantee that MSP will not be tampered with, but instead, the Centre has handed out to them a measly offering, said the Chief Minister, adding that this once again showed how little the BJP and its allies, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), knew about the farmers and their problems.

At a time when the farmers, in fact the whole nation, was not even sure that the MSP regime will stay, and for how long, making these meager hikes in the support price of a few crops amounted to trifling with their emotions, Captain Amarinder said. The verbal assurances and promises made by a Government which has failed to implement even its written promises and commitments are totally meaningless, he said, urging the central government to even now take cognisance of the concerns of the farmers and address them with meaningful steps instead of such antics.

The Chief Minister said that the farmers are at present worried about their future, and that of their families, and only want categorical and clear commitments, in black and white, that their produce will continue to be procured in the APMC markets at a minimum assured price. They want to be secure about their livelihood, which in any case has been progressively declining due to the Centre’s anti-farmer policies over the past 6 years, he added.

The chief minister also regretted that the centre had once again failed to announce a bonus @ Rs 100 per quintal for paddy straw management to incentivise farmers not to burn it.



Chandigarh (Ozi Indian Tv Desk) : In partial modification of Unlock 4.0 guidelines in compliance with the directives of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Punjab Government on Sunday also allowed the students of class 9 to 12 to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones only, on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.

However, this permission would be subject to the written consent of their parents/guardians from September 21, 2020 as per Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on September 8, 2020.

According to an official spokesperson, the State Home Department has issued detailed instructions to also permit Skill or Entrepreneurship Training in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centers registered with the National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other ministries of Government of India or State Governments.

Likewise, the activities of National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Developments (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers have also been allowed from September 21, 2020 subject to strict adherence of the said SOPs.

The orders of MHA issued on August 29, 2020 and the subsequent guidelines issued by the State Government on September 9, 2020 imposing additional restrictions in urban areas including curfew on Sundays would continue to be in operation, added the spokesperson.




Chandigarh, September 20

Vowing to fight till his last breath to protect the interests of the state’s farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his government will take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, including the Akalis, to court over the new unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-farmer laws of the central government.

“We will move the courts and fight the draconian legislations as soon as they get the presidential nod and become the law of the land,” he said, expressing shock at the way the BJP-led Union Government brute-forced the Agriculture Bills through the Rajya Sabha today.

The Chief Minister questioned the rationale behind putting the controversial and vicious Bills, which were a blatant encroachment of the State’s powers and control of the Agriculture sector, to voice vote, despite strong reservations by the Opposition and inadequate numbers in the House. Why did the House not go for division of votes on this critical issue, which has even divided the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), he asked.

Captain Amarinder said that his government will not allow the central government, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) continues shamelessly to be a part, to trample the rights and interests of the farmers through these cruel legislations designed to destroy the farmers, and Punjab state for which agriculture is its lifeline. “We stand with the farmers and will do whatever it takes to protect their interests,” he declared.

“They (BJP and its allies) clearly don’t care for what these laws will do to the farmers,” he said, flaying the BJP led government for selling the interests of the farmers to big corporates.

BJP’s so-called `watershed’ moment will be the death of Agriculture and will endanger the nation’s food security, warned the Chief Minister. By pushing the Bills through without consultation with the key stakeholders and even without taking the government of Punjab, a major contributor to India’s agricultural sector growth, into confidence, the Central Government had shown that it had no concern whatsoever for the farmers or the farm sector, he said.

Pointing out that the Bills nowhere make any mention of retaining the MSP, Captain Amarinder said this clearly exposes the ill intent of the Central Government, which has a poor trust record as far as states go. If they could not adhere to the clearly defined provisions on GST, how can one trust them to uphold their verbal assurances on MSP, he questioned.

The Chief Minister asked ‘if these legislations are actually revolutionary and in the interests of farmers, why are the farmers out on the roads in protest?’ The farmers are not fools and would not be marching to Delhi, braving a pandemic, if they did not find the Bills damaging and detrimental to their interests, he said.

Every single provision of these Bills, said Captain Amarinder, was crafted to destroy lakhs of small and marginal farmers in particular, who could not hope to compete in the monopolistic system that the Centre aimed to bring into the sector. “Where will these poor farmers go to sell their produce with the states no longer the pivotal players in the entire agricultural marketing system,” he asked.

Pointing out that these farmers were nowhere near getting the Government-mandated MSP on their foodgrains in the open market that exists even today to a limited extent, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that instead of strengthening the State-led marketing system, as the Congress had promised in its manifesto, the central government had chosen to end it completely.

Captain Amarinder also lashed out at the Opposition for continuing to mislead the farmers by spread misinformation on the Congress manifesto of 2019 LS polls, which spoke of repeal of existing APMC Act in order to bring a new, improved legislation that would provide for more markets and more facilities for procurement of the farmers’ produce. What is more, the Congress manifesto clearly and categorically promised to retain the MSP regime, which the BJP government is refusing to do, he added.




Chandigarh, September 18:

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday slammed the farm legislations being forced on to the nation by the central government as part of the `Destroy Farmers, Destroy Punjab’ (Kisan maaru, Punjab maaru) conspiracy of the BJP-led NDA, of which the Akalis continue shamelessly to be a part at the cost of their own state and its people.

“I don’t know what enmity the BJP and the Akalis have with Punjab and why they are out to destroy us,” said the Chief Minister while launching the Virual Kisan Mela of the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana. The launch was held with virtual connectivity at 100 locations and participated by farmers, farmer representatives and other stakeholders, including ministers, MLAs and PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar.

Warning again that the legislations will lead to growing angst among the people in the border state, thus giving Pakistan the opportunity to stoke more fires, Captain Amarinder said the anti-farmer move will spoil the `abo hawa’ (environment) of Punjab. Delhi has to rethink on this issue, he stressed, adding that the legislations would undo the sacrifices made by Punjab and its farmers over 65 years to make India self-sufficient in food.

Accusing the Akalis of playing their own political games in this entire affair, Captain Amariner asked the Badals why the SAD had failed to stand with the Punjab government on these Bills and even on the critical water issue. “Did you not think even once what will happen to Punjab without agriculture and without water?” he asked the Akalis, pointing out that with the SYL issue hanging over the state, the situation was perilous and the SAD had only contributed to the crisis by supporting the farm ordinances.

The Chief Minister said notwithstanding the Centre’s denials these new laws will eventually pave the way for the elimination of the MSP regime and end of the FCI, leaving the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, as recommended by the Shanta Kumar committee.

Strongly opposing the legislations, the Chief Minister also trashed the Centre’s guarantee of MSP not being tampered with, saying it was a Constitutional guarantee given by Parliament, which, in fact, the incumbent government at the Centre was trying to destroy with their brute majority. Even the MSP already announced on items like Maize is not being given to the farmers, he noted, questioning the sincerity of the Government of India.

Categorically rejecting BJP and SAD claims that Punjab was on board with the farm ordinances, the Chief Minister made it clear that the issue of any such ordinances or new laws on agriculture was never discussed at any of the meetings in which his government was represented at the high-powered committee set up by the Centre on agricultural reforms.

Politicians should not lie on such grave issues with serious implications for our future generations, said Captain Amarinder, in an obvious reference to the false and misleading claims of Union Minister Raosaheb Patil Danve and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Politics aside, this is an issue concerning the future of our children, he added.

With only 13 seats in Lok Sabha, the Congress was browbeaten and the dangerous and vicious Bills were passed by the Centre with brute majority, he pointed out, adding that India’s future generations will not forgive the damage being inflicted on the nation by the NDA and its allies.

The high-powered committee was clearly an eyewash, the Chief Minister said, waving the draft report shared with Punjab, which made no mention whatsoever of the ordinances. His government’s response to the draft report had, in fact, clearly listed its stand on any reforms, he added.

It was shameful that despite knowing these facts as part of the ruling coalition, the Akalis continued to side with the central government and did not oppose the ordinances during the all-party meeting convened by him and did not even come to the Assembly to vote for the resolution against them, Captain Amarinder said.

Taking a dig at Harsimrat Badal’s remarks of standing with her `farmer brethren’ by resigning from the Union Cabinet, Captain Amarinder asked why she forgot that the farmers were her brothers when the Centre brought in the ordinances. Had SAD stood with his government from the outset and put pressure on their ally, the BJP, the current situation may not have arisen, he added.

Pointing out that it was Punjab and its farmers, who toiled with blood and sweat to make the nation food surplus after being a beggar of food for years, Captain Amarinder said despite being a small state, Punjab saved the nation from going hungry through the years. Even during the Covid pandemic, all the food grain distributed to the poor around the country came from Punjab’s godowns, he noted.

The Chief Minister lauded the role of PAU in making India self-sufficient in food grains and said while the Kisan Mela was being held virtually for the first time in its history, on account of the prevailing pandemic, the research university’s support to the farmers amid the pandemic was appreciable.

Earlier, Jakhar congratulated the Chief Minister for ensuring smooth procurement of wheat despite the pandemic, and the excellent management of the Kharif season. Describing the new legislations as dark clouds looming on the farm sector, Jakhar said there can be no food or nutritional security till farmers have financial security, which the central government was destroying with these new laws.

Soni release ODOP report; to help farmers and micro food processing entrepreneurs for boosting income and widening reach of district products

· Also reviewed status of implementation of PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme

Chandigarh (Ozi Indian TV Desk) : Punjab Food Processing Minister Mr. O.P. Soni today released ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) report here at his official residence, which will help the state farmers and micro food processing entrepreneurs to start their venture related with the potential products of their respective district to further boost their income and widening the reach of specific products worldwide in general.

Patting officials of the Punjab Agro Industry Corporation (PAIC) for preparing the scientific document, the minister said that the ODOP report would be of great help for the farmers engaged in allied farming activities. “Existing micro enterprises processing food products other than ODOP would also be supported, however new units seeking support under the scheme would have to process ODOP products identified for that district”, he added.

ODOP report has covered all the 22 districts of the state and scientifically identified one potential product for each district such as district Amritsar for Pickle and Murabba, Ludhiana for Bakery Products, Hoshiarpur & Fatehgarh Sahib for Jaggery, SAS Nagar, Mansa and Sri Muktsar Sahib for Milk and Milk Products, Barnala and Faridkot for Poultry/Meat/Fish and district Bathinda for honey, Patiala for Guava, Tarn Taran for Pear, Jalandhar & Moga for Potato, SBS Nagar for Peas, Ropar for Mango, Fazilka for Kinnow, Ferozepur for Chilli, Pathankot for Lichi, Kapurthala for Tomato, Gurdaspur for Cauliflower and Sangrur for Onion.

Divulging further, Mr. Manjit Singh Brar, Managing Director, PAIC said that the District Level Committees (DLCs) under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners have been constituted with General Manager, District Industries Center as its district Nodal Officer to provide secretarial support. He said that PAIC shall soon station resource persons having requisite experience in food technology in District Industrial Centres (DICs) for providing technical support to the DLC as well as to micro enterprises/ FPOs/SHGs/Cooperatives etc. He invited owners of all micro food enterprises to contact PAIC for further information and said that the ODOP report has been uploaded on the PAIC website He informed that in accordance with the timelines of the scheme, PAIC has prepared a comprehensive report on ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) and the same has been approved in the first meeting of State Level Approval Committee (SLAC), an apex body of the State Government to oversee implementation of the scheme.

Later, Mr. Soni presiding over a meeting also reviewed the status of implementation of the new centrally sponsored scheme ‘PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises’ launched on June 29, 2020.

During the meeting, Mr. Anirudh Tiwari, Additional Chief Secretary (Development & Food Processing) apprised that the scheme envisages to directly enhance competitiveness of over 6,672 new & existing micro food processing enterprises by not only providing credit-linked capital subsidy @ 35% with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lac per unit, but also by extending intensive hand holding support for entrepreneurship, technology and branding & marketing as well as capacity building.

Mr. Tiwari further said, it is a five year scheme starting 2020-21, adding that under the group category, Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups and Co-operatives would be supported with credit-linked capital subsidy @ 35% with maximum limit yet to be prescribed, along their entire value chain for sorting, grading, assaying, storage, common processing, packaging, marketing, processing of agri-produce and testing laboratories. Individual SHG members undertaking food processing would be given seed capital @ Rs.40,000 per member for working capital and purchase of small tools, he added.

Preneet Kaur reiterates opposition to anti-farmer ordinances

CHANDIGRAH (OZI INDIAN TV DESK) : Patiala MP and former union minister, Ms Preneet Kaur today reiterated her opposition to the anti-farmer ordinances promulgated by the NDA government earlier, which are now being tabled in the parliament.

Ms Kaur said, she could not attend the parliament today since she was under quarantine after having come in contact with some COVID positive persons.

After observing the COVID protocol, she added, she will be attending the parliament where she will strongly oppose the three ordinances.

She said, she and her party remained committed to watching and safeguarding the interests of the farmers. She said, even if the BJP/NDA use their brute majority in the parliament to go ahead with the passage of these anti-farmer ordinances, her party will explore other legal options to prevent these from becoming the law.

Ms Kaur expressed surprise over the stubbornness of the BJP/NDA government in pressing with these ordinances when farmers from the entire country had fears and apprehensions about these and were protesting against their implementation.

Ms Preneet Kaur is recuperating after an elbow fracture. Meanwhile some of her relatives who came to see her later tested positive for COVID because of which she had to go in quarantine.