Category Archives: National

Congress announces Pratibha Singh as its candidate for Mandi by-poll

Shimla/ May 28
The Congress party on Tuesday formally announced former MP and chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh as party candidate for Mandi Loksabha by-poll slated for June 23.
Her name was cleared by Congress President Sonia Gandhi based on recommendation by the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC).
The Mandi Loksabha seat had fallen vacant after Virbhadra Singh won the assembly poll and took oath as the Himachal Pradesh chief minister for sixth time in December last.
The BJP has fielded a senior leader, four times MLA in a row from Seraj (earlier named Chachiot) in Mandi district Jai Ram Thakur as its candidate. Jai Ram was initially unwilling to contest the Loksabha poll, saying that he had recently won assembly poll. But, party sources said, he is still the best bet for the opposition party, for he is clean image, sober with base at the grassroots. The low profile BJP leader has rapport with party cadres having remained party president in HP earlier.
Pratibha Singh’s name was doing the rounds for Congress candidature for Mandi by-poll after Virbhadra Singh vacated it after becoming chief minister for the sixth time.
With Virbhadra switching to Parliament politics in 2009, his wife Pratibha Singh (sitting MP from Mandi then) had then unsuccessfully attempted to get ticket for by-poll to Rohru assembly constituency vacated by him.
Himachal Pradesh Police has declared 123 polling stations hypersensitive in the Mandi parliamentary seat for the June 23 by-poll. Out of 1,921 polling booths, 256 have been treated sensitive, a Police release said.
Director General B Kamal Kumar held a meeting here of police officials of Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and Shimla, the districts fall in the constituency, to make arrangements for the poll. Mandi covers parts of five districts of Mandi, Kullu, Lahaul Spiti, Chamba and Kinnaur. The Parliamentary constituency has 11,24,770 voters out which 5,66,946 are male and 5,46,140 are female voters.

Online lottery system to be introduced in Punjab

Chandigarh/May 28
Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday decided to commence Online Lottery system that will be organized, conducted, operated and regulated as per the provisions of the Lottery Regulation Act, 1998 and Punjab State Lotteries Rules, 1998.
“On-line lottery system was envisaged to offer lottery games played through a network of computer terminals or such other devices as may be approved by the government, installed at retail locations, with the terminals connected to a main data center at a central headquarter. For this purpose, the government would appoint a Distributor/selling agent who would inter-alia design and procure, install and commission, operate and maintain, promote & market and carry out other activities to be required for setting up and managing the On-line lottery,” said the spokesperson.
The selection of the distributor/selling agent would be done through Tenders and Monitoring Committee.
In order to generate funds for the state government, the Cabinet also gave green signal to bring an ordinance to impose 2% stamp duty on Power of Attorney by amending Schedule 1A of the Indian Stamp Act.
The Cabinet also gave nod to return the land of freedom fighters, confiscated by the British Authorities during the freedom struggle, to their kin.
The Cabinet reviewed the situation of availability of sand and construction material and in order to expedite the auction of more mines and increase the availability of sand, gravel (bajri) etc., gave go ahead for amendments of rules, auction procedure, lease policy and policy guidelines for stone crushers to enable a level playing field to all the stake holders in the infrastructure/construction projects. As a price regulatory measure, the Cabinet also decided that some mines would be operated by the industry department so that the material was made available at affordable rates. The Cabinet also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary which would regularly monitor the situations in this regard.
The Cabinet also approved the amendment in the existing policy regarding purchase of the land for compensatory afforestation due to non availability of degraded forest land in the state. As per the amendment every user agency which required forest land should provide equivalent non-forest land or pay its cost to the Forest department. Funds, thus generated would be utilized for the purchase non-forest land by the department for carrying out afforestation. The policy exempts all the Government sector cases and certain roads to be constructed on BoT basis besides the land owners of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900 areas from the condition of the payment of cost of equivalent non-forest land. The department had already transferred 50% of the funds nearly Rs.32 crore along with interest received thereof to the greening Punjab Mission Fund.
The Cabinet also decided to amend the Punjab Act and Pepsu Act enabling NRIs to get their all ancestral or five years old properties vacated expeditiously. Earlier, they could get only one property vacated.
The Council of Ministers also decided to contribute 10% of their discretionary funds placed at their disposal towards the creation of corpus fund for the construction of Jang-E-Azadi Memorial. An amount to the tune of Rs.2,87,50,000/- has been sent directly to the foundation instead of Cultural Affairs department for the establishment of ‘Jang-E-Azadi’ Memorial. It may be recalled that the Cabinet in its meeting held on October 23, 2012 had decided that each Cabinet Minister and Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) would annually contribute Rs 10 lakh and Rs 7.50 lakh respectively out of their discretionary funds.
The Cabinet also approved the draft bill for the enactment of Punjab Horse Race (Regulation & Management) Act, 2013 to provide for setting up, management and operation of race courses, betting activities and intermediaries involved and also for licensing, regulation, control and management of horse races on race courses, maintaining and keeping of horses at race courses, exhibition of horses and other processes of horse race and all matter connected therewith and incidental thereto etc.
The Cabinet also approved the exemption of fee charged for the registered mortgage deed in the larger public interest. Likewise the Cabinet also approved the loan of Rs.1500 crore raised by PUDA against OUVGL properties. The decision is aimed at triggering the tempo of growth and development in the state.
To perpetuate our rich legacy and glorious cultural heritage amongst the future generations, the Cabinet also approved to transfer the land and building of Wood Seasoning Plant Kartarpur in Jalandhar district to the Cultural Affairs Department for setting up of the memorial of Swami Virjanand.

Punjab cabinet approves recruitment for 1274 vacant posts in various deptts

Chandigarh/May 28
Punjab government today gave ahead to various departments to initiate recruitment process for 1274 vacant posts in cabinet meeting that was held on Tuesday.
Punjab Cabinet approved to provide 214 posts of various levels for running three Drug De-addiction Centers at Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar effectively and in a result-oriented manner to wean away the youth from the menace of drug addiction.
Further, the cabinet cleared the proposal of Medical Education and Research Department to fill 129 posts of super specialists and medical teaching faculty in Medical Colleges of Amritsar and Patiala. “Of total 129 posts, 80 super specialists will be recruited in the departments of Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Nuclear Medicine, Radio Therapy, Radiology and Immuno-Haematology and Blood Transfusion of Government Medical College Amritsar and Patiala to effectively combat the deadly menace of Cancer so these posts will be filled soon,” said a Punjab government spokesperson.
These recruitments would be made by the Departmental Selection Committee on merit after taking out these posts from the preview of Punjab Public Service Commission.
Apart from this, the Cabinet gave green signal to recruit 49 medical teaching faculty including 12 professors, 19 assistant professors, 13 senior lecturers and 5 lecturers in these medical colleges through direct recruitment on merit through the same committee after taking them out of the purview of the PPSC.
Besides this, the Cabinet also approved to appoint 512 Hindi teachers on contract at a consolidated pay of Rs 10,300 from April 2012 in the larger public interest. These teachers will be recruited under Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Financial Assistance for appointment of Teachers in Non Hindi states’, which was discontinued by the GoI at the end of 9th Five Year Plan.
The Cabinet also decided to revive 16 posts in the office of Lokpal Punjab to ensure its effective and smooth functioning. It also gave ex-post facto approval in respect of the amendment in the Punjab Lokpal Act, 1996 (Second Amendment) Act, 2013 to bring the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Zila Prishad and its officials, Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor of a Municipal Corporation and its official besides the President and Vice President of a Municipal Council or Nagar Panchayat and its officials under the jurisdiction of Lokpal Act.
“This decision would enable the Lokpal to look into the complaints of corruption and mal administration against the functionaries of local bodies (both elected and officials),” said the spokesperson.
The Cabinet also okayed amendment in the Punjab Privately Managed Recognized School Employees (Security of Service) Act, 1979 so as to include Non-aided posts of Employees under its ambit. This would on one hand empower the Educational Tribunal to settle the disputes between the management and employees of these institutions and facilitate the government by mitigating the mounting litigation by such teachers against their management, on the other.

Viagra like pill for women – Lybrido successfully tested in US

New Delhi/May 28
Successful trials of Viagra like pills on more than 500 women in US have raised hopes among scientists to create a pill to tackle the problem of low female libido and the pills could be available in market within three years.
As per reports, Dutch firm Emotional Brain has been able to create a Viagra like pill Lybrido that can tackle the problem of low female libido which should be taken three and a half hours before sex.
Experts believe that low female libido often stems from psychological as much as physical factors and the Dutch firm claims that they have been able to solve the problem with the a two-in-one pill which is smaller than aspirin tablet.
Lybrido, the new sex driver boosting pill for women, contains a Viagra-like drug in a testosterone and mint coating that can not only lift flagging female libido but it can provide the necessary boost to women during sex.
The drug was tested on 500 women in US by Emotional Brain founder Adriaan Tuiten and its trial results have been described as very impressive.
Tuiten claimed that the pills made women indulge in love more often but some women suffered side effects as headaches or flushing or face or neck. However, many experts say that firm will be under tremendous pressure to prove that the pills will not turn women into nymphomaniacs.
Meanwhile, Tuiten plans to launch the drug in US and Europe by 2016 after conducting larger trials. He believes that pills will be most popular in long married women who had lost sex drive and will not turn them into sex maniacs or nymphomanias but instead it will raise a low libido to normal levels.

Weeds, less salinity affecting bird’s footfall at Chilka lake

New Delhi/May 28
Salinity level and growth of weeds in some parts of waterfowl habitat of Chilka Lake in India’s Odisha state is affecting bird count in summer season.
As per reports, the lake has recorded a drop of 18,000 migratory birds to 59,687 birds this year as compared to 77,609 various species birds in summer season last year.
Chilka lake’s Divisional Forest officer BP Acharya said that the lake’s mouth has reportedly shifted towards the outer channel that has resulted in the reduction in tidal water influx and salinity level, Moreover, growth of weeds in northern sector of the lake have also affected the bird population lagoon lake.
Presently, lesser whistling ducks, black-tailed godwits, little cormorant, Eurasian pigeon, gadwall, northern shoveller, greater flamingoes and grey pelicans are staying at the lake.
Chilka lake which is spread in 1100 sq km area in Puri, Ganjam and Khurda districts of Odisha attracts around 8.77 lakh winged guests of 180 bird from Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Lake Baikal and the remote areas of Russia and neighboring countries during winter season and they start their backward journey with the onset of summer.

Maoists writes letter to BBC, claim responsibility for Sukma attack

New Delhi/May 28
Maoists, who had killed 25 persons on an attack of Congress party’s rally in Sukma area of Chhattisgarh, has sent a letter to British media company BBC claiming responsibility for the attack and said that they wanted kill anti-naxalite crusader Mahendra Karma.
As per reports, the letter was sent by Maoists spokesperson from Dandakaranya and it states that a People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army had attacked Congress party’s rally to kill senior Congress leaders like Mahendra Karma for launching Salva Judum while Nand Kumar Patel and V C Shukla for allowing Operation Green Hunt and use central forces against them.
Moasists had alleged that in the Salva Judum movement, the movement’s members and state forces had killed and raped many tribal women. Moasists had tried to justify their attack and said that the policies of Congress government that were ipmosed by Patel and Karma and led to torture and murder of its cadres and innocent tribal people of the area.
In the letter, Maoists’ spokesperson Gudsa Usendi said that Patel and Karma were instrumental in launching suppression of tribal people of the region and they along with VC Shukla who held portfolios in Indian government, supported exploitative policies of capitalistic forces and landlords.
On May 25 attack, the naxalites had killed Mahendra Karma, Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh Patel while Shukla was seriously injured and he is presently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Gurgaon.
However, in the letter, Maosists had reportedly regretted killing some innocent people who were part of the Congress Party’s Parivartan Yatra.
The attack has been condemned by leaders across party lines that includes PM Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief Rajnath Singh, senior BJP leader LK Advani, Chhttisgarh CM Raman Singh and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat.
Meanwhile, NIA has been asked to probe the attack and around 1000 personnel of central forces have sent to naxal affected area to flush out maosists.

Punjab govt orders inquiry into alleged irregularities in education deptt

Chandigarh/May 27
After huge outcry over the alleged irregularities in the education department, Punjab government on Monday ordered an independent inquiry into the issue.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today ordered an independent inquiry to be conducted by the retired Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice A N Jindal to probe into all alleged aspects particularly relating to the purchase of school library books for primary and upper primary, science kits and supply of map masters.
It may be recalled that the Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka had himself offered for an independent inquiry to be ordered by the Chief Minister during a press conference here on Sunday last.

Punjab govt issues instructions to local bodies to check water borne diseases

Chandigarh/May 27
Punjab government on Monday issued strict instruction to local bodies to ensure the proper maintenance of underground water and sewerage pipes to avert any incident of water borne diseases including cholera and diarrhea. Punjab’s Local Bodies minister Chunni Lal Bhagat said that instructions have been issued to all Deputy Directors of the Local Bodies Department, Commissioners of Municipal Corporations and Executive Officers of all Municipal Councils to sincerely follow the instructions.
“It had been observed that cases of cholera and diarrheas in the past were caused due to improper maintenance of water and sewerage pipes, hence, the state government has issued necessary guidelines to local bodies check these deficiencies in their areas,” Bhagat said
Bhagat said that these agencies has also been directed to divide cities and towns in sectors and form teams to conduct survey of their respective areas and it should also be ensured by the concerned authorities that water pipes should be separated from sewerage pipes, manholes etc.
“Lines of drinking water should not be passed under and along with sewerage lines. Further, directions for plugging any kind of leakage have also been issued and to change the outdated pipes with immediate effect in public interest,” Bhagat said.
Bhagat added that all the concerned authorities would also ensure the proper chlorination of water besides checking the level of purity and they have also been asked to submit reports in this regard within a week.

Punjab govt to fill vacant posts of doctors and technical staff in ESI hospitals

Chandigarh/May 27
Punjab government has initiated the process to fill all vacant posts of Doctors and Technical Staff in ESI hospitals and dispensaries to meet the shortage of specialists.
Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare minister Madan Mohan Mittal said that the state government will soon fill the vacant posts in ESI facilities across state and ordered the concerned officials to identify the locations for setting up new ESI dispensaries in the state.
Mittal also gave nod to setup Mortuary and Blood Banks at ESI Hospitals too.
He stressed upon the need to promote the Indian Medical System in the state through ESI Hospitals by adopting AYUSH and also gave a go ahead to set up Medical Appellate Tribunal at different places for the ESI smart card holders so that the patients who are not satisfied from the medical board get option to appeal before the Appellate Tribunal.
“Reorganization of ESI dispensaries will also be done to cut down the travel time of patients than the previous system and reimbursement of ESI bills should be sent directly to the Director ESIC Punjab by the competent authorities,” Mittal said, adding that Director ESIC should issue circulars in this regard. Mittal also cleared the project of landscaping of vacant land in ESI Hospital Jalandhar.

RTI convention to be held in September in New Delhi

Shimla/May 27
Central Information Commission (CIC) will organise 7th RTI Convention to commemorate the implementation of RTI Act, 2005 on September 2,3 at New Delhi.
State Information Commission secretary S.S. Guleria said here today that the convention will be attended by the Chief Information Commissioners, Information Commissioners of the State Information Commissions, the Civil Society Organizations, RTI activists, Central Public Information Officers and other stakeholders.
“Each State Information Commission may recommend 20 representatives of Civil Society Organizations or stakeholders or RTI activists for participation as per the directions of the Central Information Commission,” he said, adding that the stakeholders belonging to these groups participating in the convention shall be required to bear the expenditure on this account at their own.
Guleria requested the interested Civil Society Organizations/stakeholders/ RTI activists to send their names with complete address by June 20 so that State Information Commission may forward their names to the Central Information Commission on the ‘First Come First Serve’ basis. “Conventions organised so far had deliberated and discussed a wide range of issues relating to the Act and its implementation with a view to learn from experiences as well as to frame the future road map for greater transparency and accountability,” he added.