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PUNJAB CM ANNOUNCES OPEN-ENDED MINI BUS PERMIT POLICY FOR RURAL YOUTH, WITH NO DEADLINE FOR APPLYING

Chandigarh, February 24 (Ozi Indian Bureau) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced an ‘Open-Ended Mini Bus Permit Policy’, with no deadline for rural youth to apply for such a permit, while laying foundation stones of Rs 55.16 crore worth of high-tech State Transport Department institutes, including home delivery of driving licences.

The Chief Minister also virtually launched distribution of 3000 mini bus permits for the rural youth to give a boost to the ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar te Karobar’ mission, with token presentation of permits to 5 beneficiaries. He said that while 3000 permits were being handed over today, while another 8000 would follow through the rest of the year, taking the total to be distributed by the end of the year to 11000, generating both direct and indirect employment.

Captain Amarinder directed the Transport Department to create a user-friendly online facility within the next three months for receipt and processing of applications of all bus permits to make the system far more transparent and eliminate corruption.

These novel initiatives will go a long way in providing smooth rural connectivity and seamless delivery of citizen centric services, said the Chief Minister, lambasting the previous SAD-BJP regime for issuing illegal permits to chosen people without due publicity or adherence to legal procedures/rules.

Recalling that his government had promised cancellation of all illegal bus permits to ensure that genuine people get the benefit of the scheme, Captain Amarinder said under the transparent system adopted by the Transport Department, a public notice for mini bus permits was issued for the first time ever in newspapers. People were encouraged to apply online without any hassle, and as many as 12,384 applications were received.

Congratulating Transport Minister Razia Sultana and the officers of the department, Captain Amarinder said that they had set the ball rolling to achieve five-fold objective to create employment opportunity for rural youth, make travel safer for women and children, ensure vehicular traffic safer for travellers and pedestrians, reduce vehicular pollution and door step delivery of government services. The fast-paced changes in technology, where transport had now reached the Mars, necessitated new initiatives, he said., adding that Vehicle Location Tracking (GPS) Device Project, launched at a cost of Rs.15.50 crore would make travel safer for women and children in public transport vehicles. He disclosed that 100% such devices had already been installed in PUNBUS Buses and 50% in PRTC buses, which would be fully covered in the next six months. Razia said the GPS system would be installed soon in private buses too.

The Chief Minister also referred to the state-of-the-art Command Control Centre at State level and 4 Regional Centres to track the vehicles, and said this would facilitate handling of panic button alerts by any woman/child, online challan for over-speeding vehicle without HSRP fitment, absence of valid insurance & Pollution certificate etc.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of the Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR) Kapurthala at a cost of Rs. 22.50 crore under Mission ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgaar te Karobar’, with training capacity of 20,000 drivers annually to impart quality training to rural youth, and thus generate employment avenues as skilled drivers within the country and abroad, besides creating qualified trainer base for drivers and instructors of other training institutes. He said the instituted had been planned during his previous tenure and he was happy that it had been realised now.

The upcoming training institute, to be managed by Tata Motors, would be equipped with camera based Innovative Driving Testing System (IDTS) to assess the driving skills of the candidates. The institute, having residential accommodation for 75 participants, would also have driving simulators with motion/static platforms.

The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of Vehicle Inspection and Certification Centre, Kapurthala at a cost of Rs. 17.16 crore with the aim to safeguard the passengers and pedestrians, besides reducing vehicular pollution. The Centre, with capacity to inspect 72,000 vehicles annually, would test the road worthiness of vehicles before driving, among other important features such as online appointment for vehicle testing, replacement of visual inspection with automated sensor based testing equipment, automatic inspection report after completion of inspection report without any human intervention.

He pointed out that Punjab witnessed a gradual decline in parameter of road accidents per lakh population from 23.9 against national average of 36.9 in 2016 as compared to 21.7 and 34.9 respectively in 2018. Likewise, road deaths per lakh population in Punjab have also come down from 11.6 against national average of 17.4 in 2016 to 11.3 against national average of 16 in 2018.

While inaugurating home delivery of driving licenses and Registration Certificates (RCs), the Chief Minister said that Punjab is the first state in the Country to implement this unique system. He stated that a Centralized Card Personalization Centre (CCPC) has been established at Chandigarh, where all smart card based driving licenses and RCs would be centrally printed before being home delivered.

Earlier in his welcome address, Principal Secretary Transport K Siva Parsad said the doorstep delivery would be instrumental in checking corruption and elimination of illegal touts and agents. He said now citizens would no longer be required to visit transport offices to collect documents and this would ultimately decrease the work load in Regional Transport Authorities (RTAs) and SDM offices.

PPCC president Sunil Jakhar termed today’s initiatives the fulfillment of the party’s promise, and lauded the Captain Amarinder government for the remarkable job done by it despite all odds. Transport was a major business and revenue earner for the state, extending from Amritsar to London to Mumbai, but in the previous decade it had been taken over by the Badals, who monopolised the business despite being custodians of the people’s faith, he said, underlining the need to destroy the chain.

Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included; Member Parliament from Fatehgarh Sahib Dr. Amar Singh, President Punjab Youth Congress Barinder Singh Dhillon, Industries & Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora and Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

Punjab Government 22 Ambulances to provide emergency services in congested areas

Chandigarh (Ozi Indian Bureau) : To provide emergency services in congested areas of cities, the Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu on Tuesday flagged off 22 small Ambulances for each district of Punjab.

Disclosing this here today, Mr. Sidhu said that these Ambulances will be used apart from Ambulances running under 108 help-line. These will be helpful for operation in small narrow lanes to ensure quick emergency services to the patients. He said that each van accommodates 5 attendants apart from patient and driver with easy manoeuvrability in city conditions.

The Ambulance is factory fitted with all the essential equipment including foldable stretcher cum trolley, medical kit box, provision for oxygen cylinder with internal lighting and announcement system, he added.

To fulfill the shortage of ambulances in the government hospitals, Mr. Sidhu said that the health department had procured new 180 more ambulances and all 22 Districts have their independent ALS Ambulances (Advance Life Support) which are fully equipped with life-saving equipment such as Ventilators, Defibrillators, Multi-Para Patient Monitor, Suction Machine, Nebulizers etc. 

He said that now, the Health department has a total of 422 Ambulances in its fleet to cover all areas of cities and villages. 

The Minister said that these  ambulances proved, one of the main pillars to fight the pandemic by reducing the time required for transit of critical patients to required health facilities. He said that at a time when the numbers of positive patients are expected to increase, the addition of these new ambulances will further give a boost to fight the pandemic.

Mr. Sidhu divulged that these ambulances in the State have been deputed at Strategic places and efforts are being made in case of  Emergency, Ambulances would reach the place within 20 minutes in Urban areas.

RECRUITMENT IN HEALTH DEPARTMENT PUNJAB UNDER GHAR-GHAR ROZGAR YOJNA


Chandigarh 19 February (Ozi Indian Bureau) :  Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu on Friday handed over the appointment letters to 771 new Community Health Officers (CHOs) for extending healthcare services at Health & Wellness Centres (HCWs) under the Ghar Ghar Rozgar Yojna initiated by Chief Minister Captian Amarinder Singh.

            Disclosing this on the occasion, Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that Punjab had earlier operationalized 1607 Tandrust Punajab Sehat Kendra (HWCs) at the village level which would now go up to 2378. He said that Punjab Government has already achieved the target of 142% to set up new HWCs/Sub-Centres across the State.

            Welcoming the newly joined staff in the Health Department, Mr. Sidhu urged them to perform the duties honestly. He said that CHOs have been providing the Comprehensive Primary Health Services to people of Rural areas and they did a remarkable job during the lockdown.

            Briefing about the services being provided at these Tandrust Punjab Sehat Kendras, he said that 27 essential medicines and 6 Diagnostics tests/ services are available at these centres. As HWCs.have penetrated the remotest area of the State, the program is already fulfilling the basic primary and quality health care needs of the families living in such areas.

            The special focus of HWCs is on screening people for chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, etc, and provides free of cost medicines for the same. He said that when the patient put on treatment by the CHOs, it provides permanent relief to him/her and also reduces the burden on the secondary health services.  

            Speaking on the occasion Principal Secretary Health Mr. Hussan Lal welcomed the new Community Health Officers. He also said that Punjab has managed the COVID-19 pandemic very well and this became possible only because of the selfless services of our Health and frontline workers.

            On the occasion, Special Secretary Health Mr. Amit Kumar, Director Health and Family Welfare Dr. GB Singh, OSD to Health Minister, Dr.Balwinder Singh, Political Secretary/Health Minister Mr. Harkesh Sharma, Director National Health Mission Dr.Areet Kaur, and other senior officers of the department were present as well.

CARRYING YOUR RC AND DL BECOMES EASY IN PUNJAB : Documents on mParivahan and DigiLocker treated as valid

Chandigarh, February 19 (Ozi Indian News Bureau) : Now, vehicle owners have an option to carry digital copies of their Driving Licences (DLs) and Registration Certificates (RCs) in the state, as the Punjab Transport Department has allowed the electronic format of DLs and RCs.

Giving this information, Punjab Transport Minister Ms. Razia Sultana said that driving licences and vehicle registration certificates can be produced through mobile apps- mParivahan and DigiLocker, if law enforcement authorities like the traffic police and RTOs will ask for these documents during on the spot inspection. It will enable vehicle owners not to carry the plastic cards or physical copies.

A letter has been issued by State Transport Commissioner to all Secretaries of Punjab State Regional Transport Authorities/SDMs and ADGP traffic to sensitize the checking staff of police department in this regard, said the cabinet minister, while asking the officials to ensure that "virtual" driving licences and vehicle registration certificates on smartphones will be authenticated on the spot verification.

Ms. Razia Sultana directed that the information regarding allowing ‘virtual’ DLs and RCs should be put on the notice boards of the transport offices in the state to aware the general public. Besides, realizing the Digital Punjab drive, this system will also eliminate corruption and will help the people to avoid hefty fines in case of non-availability of hard copy of DL and RC, she added.

State Transport Commissioner Dr. Amarpal Singh further informed that if anyone forget driving licence/vehicle registration certificate at home or misplaced or waiting for delivery of printed smart chip DL or RC than no need to worry, just download the app mParivahan or DigiLocker and save your virtual DL or RC. This is now absolutely valid and can be shown at the time of checking.

He said that the moment applicant’s RC or DL is approved by registering and licencing authority, he/she get a message on phone about the approval and that can be downloaded  in the app.

Dedicated efforts fructified in form of change in the mind set as well as the trust being reposed by people in the reforms in school education: Education minister

Chandigarh, February 4 (Ozi Indian Bureau) : It is official now that Punjab has emerged as a pioneer state in the country which has succeeded in bringing in revolutionary qualitative improvement in school education during the past three years. As per the Economic survey 2021, Punjab has reported the highest attendance rate in the country of 61.6 percent of the children in the age group of 3-5 years i.e. early childhood education.

Punjab school education minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla said, "Incredible as it may seem, but presently, Punjab is witnessing a renaissance era in school education. With a view to strengthen the foundation of learning level from the very beginning, our government, under the stewardship of Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, is also the first in the country to start pre-primary classes on November 14, 2017. This achievement also mark the continuous efforts of the schools teachers as well who have been working hard to transform the government schools"

Mr. Vijay Inder Singla said that the dedicated efforts have fructified in form of overwhelming response from the community as in academic session 2018-19 the enrollment in pre-primary was 2.13 lakh, in 2019-20 it rose to 2.25 lakh and in the current academic session, 2020-21, the government schools have witnessed unprecedented enrollment of around 3.30 lakh students. He added that it indicated the change in the mind set as well as the trust being reposed by people in the reforms in school education in Punjab.

Mr. Singla said that moreover, keeping in view the positive change in the public mindset, which could be gauged from increase in enrollment, the Punjab government has started recruitment of 8393 pre-primary teachers.

The cabinet minister said that the pre-primary classrooms in about 13000 government schools of the state have been equipped with state of the art "Khed Mahals"( Model Class Rooms) by releasing abundant grants so that the tiny tots could be taught with a play way method. He added that in tastefully decorated Model Classrooms, toys, LED projectors for facilitating digital education have also been provided to make learning a joyful experience for the students. He said that besides, the material for the Psychomotor skills, outdoor activities like Slides, Swings, See-Saw, Balance Beam and social, intellectual and creative games etc. have been provided for the tiny tots.

Mr Singla said, "It also includes teaching learning activities focused on concepts around pre-reading, pre-number and writing, drawing etc. to ensure a conducive environment to the children for having better understanding, comprehension, vocabulary and oral expression. Teachers were imparted special training for nourishing the tiny tots during the pre-school. It also aims at creating awareness in the community regarding the importance of pre-school education and enhancing enrollment."

The school education minister said that though the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunate as it had forced the closure of schools and forced to maintain social distancing but the Education Department has succeeded in transforming it into an opportunity as the teachers accepted the challenge to prove their mettle. He said that they explored new vistas of latest digital applications and other innovative methods to reach out to students and their parents.

"The sacred bond between the teachers and the students in particular and society in general have been strengthened manifold during the turbulent period as the society has come to know how much caring the govt. school teachers are for the well-being of their students," Mr. Vijay Inder Singla said.

AS CBI FINALLY HANDS OVER SACRILEGE CASE FILES TO PUNJAB POLICE, CM SAYS AKALI ROLE IN SCUTTLING PROBE EXPOSED

AS CBI FINALLY HANDS OVER SACRILEGE CASE FILES TO PUNJAB POLICE, CM SAYS AKALI ROLE IN SCUTTLING PROBE EXPOSED



SAYS HANDING OVER OF PAPERS WITHIN MONTHS OF SAD WALKOUT FROM CENTRE SHOWS CBI WAS WORKING UNDER THEIR PRESSURE



Chandigarh, February 4:

Within months of the Akalis walking out of the Union Government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday finally handed to the state police papers relating to the sacrilege cases, which Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said clearly exposed that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had been scuttling the process to prevent their complicity in the cases from being exposed.

The documents and files relating to the cases were handed over to the Punjab Police hours before the deadline set by Punjab and Haryana High Court for the CBI to do so was to expire. Notably, the Director Bureau of Investigation had written to Director CBI on January 18, 2021 to return the entire record to the State police without any further delay after withdrawal of investigation of sacrilege cases from CBI and consequent return of the entire record including evidence gathered in cases transferred to CBI on November 2, 2015 vide notification no.7/52113-2H4/619055/1.

The Chief Minister termed it a victory for the state government and an endorsement of its stand that the CBI had, all these months, been trying to scuttle the investigation by the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of Punjab Police at behest of SAD, which was part of the ruling NDA at the Centre till September 2020.

“It is clear now that Harsimrat Badal, as union minister, had been pressurising the central agency to obstruct the SIT probe by refusing to hand over the case files as she knew that her party’s role in the entire affair would be exposed once the police take the investigation to its logical conclusion,” said Captain Amarinder.

SAD’s complicity in the 2015 cases and their subsequent efforts to scuttle a fair and free probe would now be exposed with the completion of the SIT probe, he said, asserting that all those found guilty would be identified and punished under the law. Nobody will be spared, irrespective of their political affiliation or position, he declared.

Pointing out that his government had withdrawn consent to CBI to probe the cases as far back as in 2018, after the Vidhan Sabha unanimously resolved to do so, the Chief Minister said the SIT was also constituted then to take over the investigation. The central agency had, for more than two years, been persistently refusing to hand the case files back to state, he said, adding that the agency, which had earlier filed a closure report in the matter, went on to constitute a new investigative team in September 2019 with the clear and obvious aim of preventing the state government from conducting its own impartial, fair and speedy probe, he added.

The shocking part, according to the Chief Minister, was that the CBI adamantly refused to hand over the case diaries even after the High Court, in January 2019, upheld the state government’s decision, and again, in February 2020, the Supreme Court dismissed CBI’s appeal challenging the HC judgement. “Why else would CBI have behaved in this manner had it not been under political pressure from the Akalis, who clearly did not want the probe to be completed,” he asked, adding that SAD’s acts of omission and commission would now be exposed with the SIT no longer obstructed due to the absence of the case files.

The incidents of sacrilege occurred between June to October 2015 following theft of the sacred Guru Granth Sahib from a Gurudwara in Burj Jawaharsinghwala, Faridkot and discovery of torn pages from the Holy Book in Bargari, Faridkot. They caused widespread discontent and outrage amongst members of the Sikh community.

These incidents led to large-scale protests and agitations in October 2015. The retaliatory action taken by the police led to injuries and death of two persons. In 2015, the Akali Dal Government had transferred investigation of the sacrilege incident to the CBI. Retd. Justice Zora Singh Commission was appointed to inquire into the incidents of sacrilege and police action in the protests, and a report was submitted to the Government in 2016.

After the Congress Government came to power in 2017, finding the report of Retd. Justice Zora Singh to be inconclusive, the Government appointed a fresh Commission of Inquiry, Retd. Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, who submitted a report in 2018.

COVID Vaccination Drive Day 3: IGP Bathinda, CP Amritsar, 9 SSPs among 1146 Police Personnel get jab

Chandigarh, February 4 (Raftaar News Bureau):   The number of Police Personnel turning up at vaccination centres for COVID-19 vaccination has seen a big rise, with 1146 cops across the state getting the Covid vaccine jab on Thursday. A total of 1611 Police Personnel have been vaccinated across the state, mostly in two days.

            Jalandhar Police Commissionerate secured the top rank with 213 police personnel turned up to get Covid vaccine shot in a single day while 123 cops got a jab in Mansa followed by 101 cops in Ludhiana City.

            Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bathinda Jaskaran Singh and Commissioner of Police (CP) Amritsar Sukhchain Singh Gill besides nine Senior Superintendent of Police (SSPs) and three Commandants were among the senior police officers to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Day 3.

            Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta appreciated all the Police Personnel, who voluntarily came forward to get themselves vaccinated to protect themselves as well as the citizens of Punjab from the COVID pandemic.

Meanwhile, the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive for Frontline Workers was launched by the Chief Minister Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh at Police Headquarters here on Tuesday.

Three IPS officers promoted as IGPs, two as DIGs in Punjab

Chandigarh, February 4 (Ozi Indian Bureau) : The Punjab government on Thursday, promoted five Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to Inspector General of Police (IGPs) and Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGs).


Three IPS officers of 2003 batch including Sukhchain Singh Gill, currently posted as Commissioner of Police (CP) Amritsar, Ashish Choudhary, presently on central deputation serving National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Ranbir Singh Khatra, currently posted as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Jalandhar range have been promoted as IGPs.



While, two IPS officers including Dhanpreet Kaur (2006 batch), presently on central deputation and S. Boopathi (2007 batch), currently posted as Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Personnel-1 at Punjab Police Headquarters have been promoted as DIGs.



Meanwhile, the directly recruited IPS officers get promotion as IGP on completion of 18 years in service while on completing 14 years in service an IPS officer elevated as DIG.

COMPLAINANT TURNED OUT TO BE PERPETRATOR OF TIBBA ROAD SACRILEGE


* SEWA SINGH CLAIMS HE CARRIED OUT THE ACT TO GAIN INSTANT POPULARITY

* LUDHIANA POLICE CRACKS CASE WITHIN HOURS OF THE UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT


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.

PUNJAB MINISTERS CASTIGATE BJP FOR MISLEADING FARMERS WITH SHOCKING LIES TO SAVE THEIR SKIN


· ‘DID CM ALSO MISLEAD YOUR LEADERS INTO QUITTING IN BJP’, THEY ASK SHARMA, TRASHING HIS ATROCIOUS ACCUSATIONS


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.