News

J&K News

Army commando killed in J&K gunfight

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 11, 2018 04:32 PM
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SRINAGAR: An army commando was killed and another injured on Wednesday in a gunfight between hiding militants and security forces in a forested area of Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district, army officials said.

Army sources said commando identified as Sepoy Mukul Meena of 3 Para Regiment was killed and another soldier injured during an ongoing gunfight in Sadu Ganga forest area of Kupwara.

They said that an operation was launched in the forest area on Tuesday following information about a group of militants hiding there.

Canada News

Two AAP MLAs of Punjab deported from Canada airport

July 22, 2018 10:05 PM
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CHANDIGARH: Two MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) who had gone on private visit to Toronto in Canada were reportedly deported from the airport for giving unsatisfactory answer to quaries by the immigration officer.

The two MLA are Kultar Singh Sandhwan from Kotkapura and Amarjit Singh Sandoa from Ropar. They were detained at the airport soon after they landed on Toronto airport. After questioning them for over an hour, the immigration officer refused them entry into Canada. Sandhwan's sister lives in Toronto who also tried to secure entry of her brother through a Canadian MP.

It is recalled that a Ropar court had charged Sandoa in a molestation case only a day before his departure for Canada. He was given permission by the court to visit Canada.

National News

Rahul Gandhi will be Congress face for 2019 polls, to decide on alliance

July 22, 2018 08:37 PM
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NEW DELHI: In a major decision concerning the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress on Sunday said that party chief Rahul Gandhi will take the decision on both pre and post-poll alliances.

The party also said that he will be the face of the party in the campaign to oust the BJP and he will be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.

The decision to authorise Rahul Gandhi to take final call on alliances was taken at the meeting of an extended Congress Working Committee, where UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were among senior leaders present.

The decision about Rahul Gandhi being the final word on alliances comes amid perceptions that Sonia Gandhi has wider acceptability among present and potential allies and will be better placed to negotiate with them.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who briefed reporters after the CWC meeting here, said that the opposition party was prepared for a "larger alliance" to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next general elections.

"The CWC authorised Gandhi to take appropriate decision for pre- and post-poll alliances as well as to form a small committee for the purpose, if needed," he said, adding Gandhi may involve senior colleagues in negotiations.

The issue of alliances, which is crucial for Congress to come to power again, was discussed in detail at the CWC meeting. The Congress suffered a debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and has since lost several key states to the BJP.

Rahul Gandhi told the meeting that he will negotiate on alliances "without compromising on the interests of the Congress" as also the national interest.

Surjewala said Congress was fighting "the forces of subjugation and suppression who were denigrating democracy" and it was like the second freedom struggle.

"That ideology must be fought and India should be put back on the path of progress, peaceful coexistence and harmony," he said, adding that the party will seek to bring focus back on youth, farmers, Dalits, minorities, women and other weaker sections.

Noting there is always give and take in alliances, he said: "Alliances can never be formed on rigidity and absolute stances and Congress President will decide."

Asked about the party's reaction to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's call to people to give all 42 Lok Sabha seats to her Trinamool Congress, he said her statement should not be taken as final posture.

"When we talk to her, what decision is taken, we will inform you," he said.

Asked if Rahul Gandhi will be the party's face, Surjewala said: "Congress will fight this election under the stewardship, leadership and by putting forward our leader Rahul Gandhi. On that we neither have a doubt, nor we have any second thoughts.

"Naturally the people of India will decide once the Congress becomes the single largest party, touches the magic figure of 200 or more. Naturally the Congress will be leading and whoever wants to come...naturally the Congress President will be the only face to be projected," he said.

Punjab Politics

Sidhu has become habitual liar, he should tell one single own achievement or that of Cong govt on investment front :SAD.

July 22, 2018 08:28 PM
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CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it seemed Local Bodies minister Navjot Sidhu had made it a habit to mouth lies and twist facts to suit his irrational mentality, even as it asked him to list a single own achievement or that of the Congress government on the investment front in the last one a half years.

Reacting to Sidhu’s selective tailor made leaks about two most successful Investment Summits in the history of Punjab in 2013 and 2015 during SAD-BJP tenure, SAD spokesman Maheshinder Grewal said Sidhu was mouthing lies with the sole aim of gaining cheap publicity.

Stating that it was strange that Sidhu had taken on the responsibility of becoming the official spokesman of the government when his own mlas had rated his performance as zero and even the State cabinet had refused to consider his recommendations, Mr Grewal asked him not to hide his failures by resorting to comedy shows in the name of press conferences. He said Sidhu should know for the record that his own chief minister had appreciated the SAD-BJP government for making Punjab power surplus as well as creating world class road and air connectivity. “Capt Amarinder Singh has also appreciated the memorials built by S Parkash Singh Badal which you termed as white elephants as world class monuments”, he added.

Asking Sidhu to get his facts right, Mr Grewal said one major project which had come to Punjab during Congress rule – Sonalika new plant and the ITC food park at Kapurthala which was on the anvil – were approved and initiated during SAD-BJP tenure. “It would be better for you to list one major investment which you or your government has got into Punjab rather than trying to befool people by twisting facts”, he added.

Asking Sidhu to answer about his own failure as a minister during the course of which he stopped all projects, including the multi-crore BRTS project for Amritsar, he said all work was paralyzed in Sidhu’s ministries as senior officers had recused themselves from working with him. “Sidhu is now being treated as a joker by the establishment as he is best known for blame game, abusive language and jumping ship at the most opportune time”.  

Mr Grewal said as far as investment summits were concerned, before speaking about them Sidhu should try to imbibe the investment story initiated by the SAD-BJP government, digest it and then comment on it. “This investment story, which includes establishment of a single window system to clear investments and the Punjab Invest department, took Punjab to the number one position in ease of setting up new business as per the World Bank. It has gone down to number 20 under Congress rule”.

Mr Grewal said the truth was that the SAD-BJP government created an environment through efficient hand holding to usher in unprecedented investment into Punjab. “Big players like Infosys, Cargill, Kansai Nerolac, Adani, Apollo hospitals and Century Plywood set up their units in Punjab. However the Congress government could not sustain this industrial friendly momentum and investment into the State has plummeted and is even moving out. Sidhu should focus on this issue and try to get investment back on the rails instead of spreading lies”, Mr Grewal added.

National News

Reverse countdown of Modi government has begun: Sonia

July 22, 2018 06:15 PM
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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rhetoric shows his "desperation" reflecting that the "reverse countdown" of the Modi government has begun, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said on Sunday.

Attending a meeting of the new Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, she also cautioned about the reign of despair and fear heaped upon the country's poor.

"Sonia Gandhi cautions about the reign of despair and fear heaped upon India's deprived and poor. Points out that rhetoric of Modi shows his desperation reflecting that reverse countdown of Modi government has begun," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.

The meeting was also attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who rejected the culture of constant self praise and 'jumlas' of the Prime Minister.

This, Manmohan Singh said, stood against solid policy framework necessary for growth.

Manmohan Singh pointed out that claim of doubling farm income by 2022 would require an agricultural growth rate of 14 per cent, which was nowhere in sight.

Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh are the senior members of the new CWC that will form the core team of the party for the state elections this year and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Punjab News

Legal Metrology Wing of Punjab Food Supply dept conducts raids, 30 booked

July 22, 2018 06:13 PM
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CHANDIGARH: The Legal Metrology wing of Food and Civil Supplies Department on the directions of Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Punjab conducted statewide raids continuously for past 2 days at the eating joints on Railway Stations,Bus Stands and the roadside Dhabas.

The teams of Legal Metrology Inspectors and their staff detected gross irregularities at several places like obliteration of MRP, overpricing and non standard weights and measures. As many as 149 inspections were conducted and 30 cases were booked under various provisions of Legal Metrology Act and Rules including 22 for over pricing, 2 for non declaration of mandatory details on packaged products like the net contents, MRP ,date of manufacture ,expiry date etc and 6 cases for non verification ie non stamping of weights used to measure quantity of goods. Rs. 2,47000 is expected to be collected as the compounding fee from the challans done during the raids.

Briefing about the inspections,Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that the raids were prompted by the rush of complaints regarding overcharging of water bottles and other packaged eatables at the bus stands and railway stations.He added that "the frequency of the surprise inspections would be increased in order to protect the common man from being cheated and defrauded."

He appealed to the public to inform or lodge complaint for any wrong doing by the seller of products like overcharging, fraudulent use of weights and measures and non-standard packaging.

National News

Man suspected of cow smuggling lynched in Rajasthan, 2 nabbed

July 22, 2018 06:09 PM
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ALWAR: A 28-year-old man has been beaten to death by suspected cow vigilantes in Rajasthan's Alwar district, police said on Saturday. Two persons have been arrested.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condemned the Friday night incident in which some villagers caught and beat up Akbar Khan, suspecting him to be a cow smuggler.

"The incident of alleged lynching of a person transporting bovines in Alwar district is condemnable. Strictest possible action shall be taken against the perpetrators," Raje tweeted.

Khan, a resident of Mewat in Rajasthan, was transporting the animals to his village along with another man when they were stopped by a group of villagers near Lalawandi village in Alwar.

They were brutally thrashed, the office of Additional Director General Jaipur Range, Ramgarh, received this information at 12.40 a.m.

When the police team reached the spot they found an injured Khan lying in the mud. Two persons were standing there with two cows, ADGP Hemant Priyadarshi told the media.

Khan told the officers that he and his companion Aslam had purchased the cows from Ladpur and were on their way to their village when they were mistaken for cow smugglers and attacked.

"My limbs are broken," said Khan covered in mud before collapsing.

He was immediately rushed to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

His body was sent for autopsy. The police in Ramgarh registered a case against unidentified persons under several sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Police have arrested Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjit Singh Sardar who were found on the spot standing with bovines.Further probe is on.

Alwar has earlier also witnessed attacks in the name of cow protectionism. The latest killing comes more than a year after Pehlu Khan was murdered allegedly by some cow vigilantes in April 2017.

The central and state governments came under a sharp criticism from the Supreme Court earlier this week over frequent lynching incidents.

The Supreme Court also asked Parliament to come up with a law to tackle cow vigilantism and lynching, calling such incidents "horrendous acts of mobocracy" that should be nipped in the bud.

Punjab News

Over fifty thousand Punjabi youth detained by US along Mexico border: Manish Tewari

July 22, 2018 06:06 PM
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LUDHIANA: Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Manish Tewari today disclosed that there were  thousands of  Indian youth, a substantive number of them from Punjab are detained in the detention camps along US-Mexico border. He said, he had personally visited the border area during his recent US visit and had felt alarmed over the situation there.

Addressing a workers meeting organized by Punjab Congress Secretary Satwinder Jawaddi and later during informal conversation with reporters, here today, Tewari said, during his visit he was told that sixty thousand Indians, who had tried to sneak illegally into the US through Mexico had been detained by the US authorities. Of these, over ninety percent were Punjabis.

Expressing concern over the plight of these stranded youth, he said, while there release  has to be dealt at the level of union external affairs ministry as he had already raised the matter, Punjab also needs to create job avenues for the youth so that they are not forced to look for the hazardous foreign

Replying to a question on the Congress prospects for the coming 2019 General Elections, the former Ludhiana MP said, the countdown of the NDA government had started. “Their despair and frustration was revealed during the Prime Minister’s speech in the parliament during the no-confidence motion”, he said, while remarking, “the NDA may have won the confidence of the house, but it has actually lost the confidence of people across India”. He expressed confidence that after the General Elections it will be a Progressive and secular government in power at the centre.

Among those present on the occasion included Pawan Dewan, Gurmail Pahalwan, Satwinder Jawadi, Manjit Singh Jawadi, Palwinder Singh Taggar, Akshay Bhanot, Sushil Malhotra, Goldy Agnithotri, Vikram Pahalwan, Parminder Singh Latal, Vinod Thapar, Rajat Sood, Inderjeet Kapoor, Kailash Kapoor, Kulwant Singh, Rakesh Sharma, Deepak Hans, Gurcharan Saini, Bittu Dhelewal, Mewa Singh Dhillon, Vinod Gogi, Arun Bector and others.

National News

Capt Amarinder Singh bats for Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate of opposition parties

July 22, 2018 06:04 PM
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NEW DELHI: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday backed Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of the joint opposition alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Reiterating his earlier stand, Capt. Amarinder Singh said that Rahul was fully competent to lead the country and will surely prove to be a successful prime minister. He said  the Congress should explore all alliance possibilities for next year’s parliamentary elections and Rahul should lead the joint front of the opposition parties to boot the divisive BJP-led NDA out of power.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) session here, the Punjab Chief Minister said alliances for the LS polls would be worked out by the party at the national level, with the state units following suit. “The alignments will have to happen at the national level. Whatever they decide will apply to the states,” he said, adding that “the alliances will be dependent on the central leadership, and wherever it takes us, we will go.”

Asked if this meant he was open to an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which the Congress had routed in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh told journalists to refrain from trying to put words in his mouth.

Captain Amarinder Singh said he supported former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who told the CWC that the Congress would have to enter broad-based alliances to win the 2019 elections. “I endorse what Mr. Chidambaram has said…I think he said a very good thing – that we should bring as many people in the Opposition together as possible,” he added.

All the like-minded parties who wanted to restore India’s glorious secular and harmonious character should get together in their collective interest, and more importantly in the interest of the country, said Captain Amarinder Singh.

To a question on the people’s mood in Punjab ahead of the LS polls, the Chief Minister said it was entirely in favour of the Congress. Pointing out that the Congress had won Gurdaspur and Shahkot with record margins in recent months, he expressed the confidence that the party would win hands down in the parliamentary elections next year. “I have promised them (the high command) Punjab, and will give it to them,” he said, adding that he had also told them that “if you want to use us elsewhere too, we are there.” Replying to another question, he said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was their main opponent in the state.

The Chief Minister, in response to a question, said there was no harm in bringing the new Vice Chancellor of Panjab University in Chandigarh from the Benaras Hindu University. Top academicians can be from any state and there is nothing wrong in appointing them to universities in the other states, he added, when asked about the appointment of Prof. Raj Kumar, Dean and Head of Institute of Management Studies, BHU, as Panjab University VC.

Crime

Dead bodies of Phagwara youths swept in Chitti Bein found

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 03:42 PM
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PHAGWARA: With the hard efforts of  two days Seven Divers from PAP Jalandhar and Five Hired from Phillaur the bodies of two young friends who were swept away in Chiherru Chitti Bein on Thursday were recovered on Saturday afternoon.

The Superintendent of the Police Phagwara Parminder Singh Bhandhal said the dead body of one youth Sahil Bagga was recovered near Village Jamshed and the body of Lovedeep was recovered near Village Kot-Kalan as the bein water was flowing towards these villages.The Dead bodies of both youths were brought to local Civil Hospital and handed over to their families after post-mortem examination conducted on Saturday evening. Notably two youths on a motorcycle were swept away in the Chitti Bein near Chiherru on the Phagwara-Jalandhar highway on Thursday. They were going to Nakodar to pay  obeisance at a religious place and passing on a slip road under the Bein Bridge, but lost their balance and were washed away in the Chitti Bein.

The Police said, One devotee Balbir Kaur of Kot Kalan village informed the police about the incident.

Punjab News

AAP student wing to contest elections of Punjab University- Meet Hayer

July 21, 2018 03:36 PM
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CHANDIGARH: The student wing of Aam Aadmi Party, CYSS will contest the upcoming student elections in Punjab university and colleges of state.

In a press statement, AAP student wing and MLA Meet Hayer said that a meeting to finalise the decision of contesting student elections was held under the guidence of state co-president Dr. Balbir Singh and other senior leaders. AAP student leaders Amrit Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Lambi and Parminder Singh Jaswal attended the meeting.

 Meet Hayer said that youth of country is the backbone of AAP and the party will utilize the energy of youngsters in a constructive way. He said that as the people of state have sent youngsters like him to Punjab Vidhan Sabha to raise their voice, more and more youngsters from non political backgrounds will be given representation in student elections.

National News

New 100-rupee note poses fresh headaches for ATM operators

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 03:29 PM
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MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) announcement launching a new series of 100-rupee denomination notes has been greeted with trepidation by the major companies engaged in the manufacture and supply of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.

Like the new post-demonetisation Rs 2,000, Rs 500, Rs 200 and the new Rs 50 notes and Rs 10 notes, even the new lavender-coloured Rs 100 is a tad smaller in size compared to the blue-coloured Rs 100 notes currently in circulation.

While the existing Rs 100 notes are sized 157x73 mm, the new ones measure 142x66mm, as per the RBI announcement this week.

"This means that all the 237,000 ATMs in the country would again have to be re-calibrated to dispense the new Rs 100 notes. This entails a massive effort which is both time-consuming and adds to our costs," Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi) Director V. Balasubramanian told IANS.

For recalibrating all the ATMs in the country to enable them dispense the new Rs 100 notes, the operators need the concerned bank's official Cash Agency and an engineer of the machine manufacturer together.

"Though the actual recalibration may take barely 20 minutes per ATM, there are huge logistical issues involved in getting the Cash Agency person and engineer together all the time. Even then, with best efforts they can recalibrate barely 15-20 ATMs per day depending on the banks' cooperation. So, this will be a huge time-consuming and high-cost exercise at a national level," Balasubramanian rued.

Hitachi Payment Services Managing Director Loney Antony estimates that the entire recalibration process could cost over Rs 1 billion (Rs 100 crore) and take a minimum of one year to complete.

"In fact, the recalibration of the new Rs 200 notes introduced last year is still not completed in all ATMs, so recalibration of the new Rs 100 notes could take even longer unless planned properly," Antony cautioned.

The RBI said in its notification that initially, the new Rs 100 notes will be dispensed only through bank branches and printing and supply would gradually increase.

Antony said it is important to have sufficient supply of Rs 100 and Rs 200 notes to ensure there are enough lower denomination currency notes in circulation for all transactions.

Balasubramanian said the ATM industry is grappling with the problem of how to recalibrate the ATMs in terms of the new and old Rs 100 notes and may refrain from doing so till sufficient numbers of the new notes are available.

Euronet Services India Pvt. Ltd. Managing Director Himanshu Pujara said unless all the ATMs are recalibrated, the new notes will not be available through this channel to the people, and recalibration itself is a time-consuming and expensive process for the already struggling industry.

Balasubramanian -- who is also the President of FSS Company that manufactures ATMs -- said that since the old and new Rs 100 notes will co-exist till the RBI completely withdraws the old notes, "it will be difficult to recalibrate all the ATMs to support the new Rs.100 notes".

"There is likelihood of an imbalance between the supply of the new notes and the withdrawal of the old notes, especially in the hinterland," Balasubramanian pointed out.

In such a scenario, he thought it would be prudent to let the banks and service providers decide when to calibrate the ATMs for the new notes, depending on the "supply-withdrawal" situation of the old notes across all states over the next few quarters.

At present, as per National Payments Council of India Ltd (NPCIL), there are around 237,000 ATMs functional in the country, but to adequately cater to the entire country's population, the need is almost three-four times more, or around a million ATMs.

Flying in the face of the government's declarations about digitising the economy, a whopping 57 percent of all ATM transactions are only for cash withdrawals. Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) lags at 20 per cent followed by Point of Sale (PoS) 17 percent, and rest for Unified Payment Interface and mobile wallets. (Total = 100 percent, as per RBI).

Major industry players say that, barring the metros and urban centres, people in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and others have to travel 40 km or more to access an ATM.

"Moreover, as per official data, barely 30 per cent of bank account holders in the country regularly use their ATM cards... the others prefer cash transactions. There are problems of infrastructure and connectivity which hamper growth of ATMs network," Balasubramanian pointed out.

India has among the lowest ATM penetration globally, averaging 8.9 ATMs per 100,000 population, compared to Brazil's 119.6, Thailand's 78, South Africa's 60 and Malaysia's 56.4.

Incidentally, China currently has around a staggering one million ATMs, which will touch 1.5 million by 2020.

National News

Modi as PM shouldn't talk about petty things: 'Pained' Chandrababu

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 03:19 PM
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NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday said he was pained to hear Prime Minister Narendra Modi comparing him with "corrupt politicians" and talking about "petty things" during his reply to the TDPs no confidence motion.

"As a Prime Minister of this country, you should not talk like that. As the Prime Minister, you should not talk about petty things," Naidu said here.

He was talking to reporters a day after the BJP-led NDA government defeated the opposition's no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

The motion was moved by Naidu's Telegu Desam Party (TDP), which until recently was an NDA constituent but pulled out of the grouping to demand special category status for Andhra Pradesh that was bifurcated and Telangana carved out of it in 2014.

The bifurcation is said to have caused huge financial and resource losses to Andhra as capital Hyderabad and IT city Cyberabad went to Telangana.

Naidu said the "BJP has again betrayed the state… and its five crore people" and Modi had failed to keep his own promises.

"After 15 years, first time no-confidence motion was moved by opposition parties. We knew they have majority. But the motion was majority versus morality," he said.

The Chief Minister said said he was "deeply pained" to hear Modi describing Andhra Pradesh's genuine demand for special category status as TDP's internal fight with YSR Congress in the state.

"How can he compare me with tainted politicians. The YSR Congress is a corrupt (party)."

Naidu said people of Andhra Pradesh were very angry with the BJP and Modi because their sentiments were being taken for granted.

"People of Andhra are totally disturbed. People are very angry because of injustice done to them," he said, adding that was what was done to the people of Punjab, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

"What happened in Punjab? What happened in Assam? What happened in Jammu and Kashmir? It is only a sentiment. We didn't deal with it properly.

"You cannot do injustice to our people. But I gave confidence to my people. I told them if you go into destruction mode, agitation mode, we will land up nowhere.

"At the same time, we will work very hard, we will create wealth but we will fight for our genuine demands. For every problem, there is a political situation," Naidu said.



National News

PWD directs engineers to visit roads to check street-lights

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 03:13 PM
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NEW DELHI: The Public Works Department has directed its Executive Engineers to visit roads under their jurisdiction at least once in a month to identify non-functioning lights so that corrective action is taken promptly.

The directives were issued at a meeting held earlier this week, chaired by Engineer-in-Chief (E-in-C) Rakesh Kumar Agrawal.

"It is being reported by the public that there are many dark spots as many street-lights are not functioning. The field staff was advised that these should be promptly corrected and Executive Engineers (Elect) should visit roads under their jurisdiction at least once in a month to identify non-functioning lights so that corrective action is taken promptly," according to the minutes of the meeting.

In the meeting, the E-in-C also stressed the need for auditing the requirements of staff employed on contractual basis and their performance and use.

"Unnecessary staff should be discontinued. Executive Engineers were directed that no staff should be employed on contract without express approval in writing from the concerned Chief Engineer," it said.

National News

Nepal, China military drill to be held in September

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 03:11 PM
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KATHMANDU: Nepal and China will hold their second joint military exercise in China's Sichuan province from September 17, the Nepali Army announced on Saturday.

Nepali Army personnel and a squad of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will take part in the 10-day "Sagarmatha Friendship-2" exercise in Chengdu, the Kathmandu Post reported.

The first joint exercise was conducted at the Army's Para Training School in Nepal's Maharajgunj area in April 2017. The platoon level training will be led by captains from both sides.

The Nepali Army, which has long been holding joint military exercises with India and the US, has collaborated with the Chinese PLA, extending its military diplomacy.

The national defence force said the drill is part of its regular bilateral and multilateral military exercises aimed at sharing experiences, skills and professional knowledge, a practice common with nations that have diplomatic ties with Nepal, the report said.

The joint exercise, according to the Nepalo Army, is aimed at fighting terrorism and might also focus on disaster management. Army Spokesman Brig. Gen. Gokul Bhandari said the exercise will be conducted on a rotational basis.

The participating platoon is likely to have around 15 personnel from each side.

Nepal has been conducting battalion level exercises called Surya Kiran with the Indian Army for the last 13 years engaging some 300 personnel from both sides. The defence forces from Nepal and China have increased their engagement of late.

On February 19, Maj. Gen. Zhao Jinsong of the western command of the PLA was in Nepal on a three-day visit. That was followed by a visit by former Chinese Defence Minister and State Councillor Chang Wanquan in the third week of March.

The decision to hold the first ever joint military exercise was taken by then Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand and Chang during the visit.

Regional

Heavy rains in Himachal from Sunday

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 03:06 PM
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SHIMLA: The hills of Himachal Pradesh may experience heavy rainfall in the next two days starting Sunday, a weather official said on Saturday.

The government has advised motorists to take precautions while travelling to higher reaches.

"There are chances of heavy to very heavy rainfall and even snow in high altitude hills in the state till Tuesday.

Most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Kalpa, Kasauli, Chamba, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali may see good spells of rain from Sunday.

While Shimla, which saw 21.8 mm of rain, recorded a low of 17.4 degrees Celsius; another picturesque tourist resort Manali saw the minimum temperature at 13.2 degrees, the lowest in the state.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Dharamsala town recorded the night temperature at 14.6 and 19.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Palampur in Kangra district recorded state's highest rainfall at 33 mm.

An advisory was issued to avoid travelling to the high hills of Kullu, Sirmaur, Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts as chances of snow and rain are high over the next two days,

National News

Central team in Kerala to inspect flood-hit districts

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 02:56 PM
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KOCHI: A team led by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju arrived in Kerala on Saturday to visit flood-hit districts amid differences over compensation promised by the Centre.

Just after his arrival the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and his team took a helicopter from the airport and headed straight to Alappuzha, the worst affected district.

They will also visit Kottayam before returning to Delhi late on Saturday, an official said.

Rijiju told the media here that the compensation package would be based on prescribed guidelines. "When a calamity occurs, the Centre and state jointly works and both pool in their resources. We already have cleared Rs 80 crore on Friday."

Huge damage has been caused on account of heavy rains that lashed most parts of the state over two weeks. Some of the worst-hits include Idukki, Ernakulam, besides parts of Kozhikode, Thrissur, Wayanad, Palakkad and Kannur.

More than 10,000 people have been put up in relief camps, he added.

The death toll in these rains touched 20 and according to State Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunilkumar the total damage has crossed Rs 900 crore.

"About 22,000 hectares of agricultural produce has been destroyed. The biggest lacunae is the rate of the compensation that is prescribed as these are all old norms and insufficient," Sunilkumar said on Saturday.

He said the damage to the crops is around Rs 220 crore. "We will again brief the Centre the urgency to increase the old compensation rates.

Explaining the lacuna in compensation, the Agriculture Minister said Rs 95,000 was being provided for a house completely destroyed. "We have sought an increase as it requires Rs four lakh," he said.

J&K News

Two CRPF troopers injured in J&K firing

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 02:51 PM
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SRINAGAR: Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were injured in firing by militants on Saturday in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, police said.

Militants fired at the CRPF party in Bamzoo village while they were patrolling on the Anantnag-Pahalgam road, police sources said.

A cordon and search operation is underway in the area.

Punjab News

AAP student wing (CYSS) to contest student elections of Punjab University- Meet Hayer

July 21, 2018 11:35 AM
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CHANDIGARH: The student wing of Aam Aadmi Party, CYSS will contest the upcoming student elections in Punjab university and colleges of state.In a press statement, AAP student wing and MLA Meet Hayer said that a meeting to finalise the decision of contesting student elections was held under the guidence of state co-president Dr. Balbir Singh and other senior leaders.

AAP student leaders Amrit Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Lambi and Parminder Singh Jaswal attended the meeting.

 Meet Hayer said that youth of country is the backbone of AAP and the party will utilize the energy of youngsters in a constructive way. He said that as the people of state have sent youngsters like him to Punjab Vidhan Sabha to raise their voice, more and more youngsters from non political backgrounds will be given representation in student elections.

Punjab News

Punjab Education minister promotes 2282 ETT teachers to master cadre

July 21, 2018 10:56 AM
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CHANDIGARH: With the tireless efforts of the Punjab Education Minister Mr. Om Prakash Soni to fill all vacant posts in the governments schools, the pending cases of promotion from ETT to Master Cadre, have been disposed of as today Education Department has promoted 2282 ETT teachers to Master Cadre.

It was disclosed by Punjab Education Minister Mr. Om Parkash Soni. He said that we were consistently trying to fill all the vacant posts of teachers in schools before the commencement of new academic session. He said that 2282 ETT cadre teachers have been promoted to Master Cadre, which included 895 Science subject teachers, 478 Mathematics, 625 English, 274 Social Education and 10 Hindi Subject teachers. He said that remaining vacant posts of other subjects will be fulfilled immediately after availability of the posts under promotion quota.

Mr. Soni said that the department has specifically considered English teachers for promotion for the first time and Mathematics and Science teachers have also been given priority to clear the backlog of promotion quota. He further said that if any teacher could not be considered for promotion, he/she can give his application within 15 days at the head office. After that, all such cases will be disposed of in one month by the department.

Newly promoted teachers have been asked to co-ordinate with their concerned District Education Officer (Secondary Education) for postings. The department has decided to allot the stations to these promoted teachers on merit basis and with transparent manner and they will be allotted stations at the head office on July 23 and 24.

Chandigarh News

Chandigarh girl raped by 40 men in four days in Morni guest house in Haryana

PUNJAB NEWSLINE NETWORK
July 21, 2018 10:53 AM
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CHANDIGARH: A 21 year old married girl of Chandigarh has alleged that she was raped by about 40 persons over four days in a guest house in Morni falling in Panchkula district of Haryana.

The Haryana police had refused to register FIR in the case and cops threatened her of dire consequences if matter is reported. She finally approached Chandigarh police where police registered a complaint and arrested two key accused the owner and manager of the guest house.

Sunny the owner of Lovely Guest House offered job to the girl for Rs.12,000 per month in his farm house in Morni. He however took her to his guest house and raped her. The girl in her complaint said that Avtar Singh manager of the guest house also raped her. They gave her sadatives and invited other men to take turns. She was confined in the hotel for four days and every day 8 to 10 people raped her. Two cops posted in the Morni police stationalso raped her. Sunny is friend of the girls's husband.

The girl threatened Sunny to make a police complaint or let her go. Sunny let her go and she boarded a bus for Panchkula. She first went to sector 16 hospital for her medical examination where doctors told her to approach wonmen police station in sector 5. The Police incharge of police station refused to lodge her complaint and told her to approach Manimajra police.

The girl then approached Chandigarh police and FIR was registered. The Panchkula police facing flak for turning away rape victim later formed a SIT to ivestigate the case. Three cops including Saraswsati ASI incharge of woman police station were suspneded.

Rajinder Singh Meena SSP Panchkula said case has been transferred to Haryana Police from Chandigarh and probe is started. He said strict action will be taken against guilty cops.

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