More Islamist clashes in Pakistan after deadly police operation

Army deployed in Islamabad-File Photo
November 26, 2017 04:41 PM

ISLAMABAD:  A hardline Islamist group which has been blocking a key highway near here in Pakistan for 19 days clashed with the police on Sunday, while the Army took up positions in government buildings.

Sunday's violence comes a day after a failed police operation to disperse the demonstrators caused the deaths of six people and injured hundreds, reports Efe news.

"The protestors today threw stones at police and burned some motorbikes belonging to the police," an Islamabad police spokesperson said.

Another police official who did not wish to be named told Efe that the demonstrators had also torched a police checkpost and a police car.

The clashes followed the police's failed attempts at clearing the protest by followers of cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi of the Tehreek-e-Labaik party.

They are demanding the resignation of Justice Minister Zahid Hamid over an amendment to an electoral law approved by Parliament which removed an oath public servants had to take before assuming office, reiterating their belief in Mohammed as the last prophet of Islam.

Following massive protests by hardline Islamists, who consider the amendment an act of blasphemy, Parliament reinstated the oath and Hamid issued a video in an attempt to appease the protesters.

At least six people were killed and 192 injured in clashes on Saturday, a rescue services spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, soldiers began to take up positions in government buildings in Islamabad's Red Zone, where the country's main state institutions are located, including the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court.

The military said details still needed to be clarified before troops are deployed to subdue the protest as ordered by the Interior Ministry on Saturday night.

In a statement, the Army said the police "have not been optimally utilized to its full capacity" and cited a court order prohibiting the use of firearms to disperse the protest.

Zubair Ahmed, a spokesperson of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, said the protest would not be called off until the demands of the protesters were met.


National News

Sudden rains bring brief respite to Kolkata

June 20, 2018 04:28 PM

KOLKATA: A sudden spell of afternoon rains brought relief in boiling Kolkata and parts of south Bengal region on Wednesday but the monsoon will only progress in the next two to three days, a Met official said here.

"This was a local thunderstorm resulting from the scorching heat and the moisture present, very similar to pre-monsoon rains. This has no relation with monsoon... We feel it is likely that monsoon progress will re-start after Friday," said A.K. Sen, a scientist of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata.

He also said Wednesday's rainfall occurred in isolated places of Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas and also in Midnapore district.

"Overall prediction of monsoon looks promising as India will get almost 97 per cent rainfall and the eastern region may get 95 per cent in a four-month period of monsoon," added Sen.

The temperature shot up to 40 degrees Celsius, inconveniencing those on the roads and even those who preferred to remain indoors due to the high humidity over the past few days. The heat wave has claimed at least four lives in the state.

The rain brought temporary relief and would also bring down the temperature gradually.

According to the Met department, the maximum recorded temperature has reached around 39.6 degrees Celsius which is almost 7 degrees above normal. The minimum temperature was around 29.6 degrees, 4 degrees above normal.

The relative humidity recorded in the last 24 hours was 64 per cent in the morning and 73 per cent on Tuesday evening, causing immense problems.

Heavy rains (7-11 cm) with lightning are likely at one or two places over Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Kalimpong, Alipurduar, Malda, North and South Dinajpur districts of Sub Himalayan West Bengal on Friday, the weatherman said.

National News

DSport to livecast Tour De France 2018

June 20, 2018 04:21 PM

NEW DELHI: Discovery Communications' premium sports TV channel -- DSport will broadcast live the upcoming season of 'Tour De France' -- a prestigious annual cycling event.

The three-week long, intense 21 stage race will kick start on July 7 from Noirmoutier-en-l'Île, a small island off the Atlantic coast of France.

DSport will broadcast live all 21 stages of the 105th edition of the race for the cycling enthusiasts between July 7 - 29.

The upcoming 105th edition of Tour De France will witness a total of 176 riders across 22 teams competing in the 21-stage race covering 3351 km to emerge victorious.

National News

Government to review Air India divestment options

June 20, 2018 04:13 PM

NEW DELHI: The Central government on Wednesday said that it will review alternative options in place of the recently commenced process of inviting Expression of Interest (EOI) for stake sale which has been called off.

The development comes after no bids were received for the EOI.

However, the government clearly stated that it is still committed to the idea for strategic divestment of Air India and is reviewing alternative options.

Indian Army

Governor's rule not to affect anti-terror operations: Army chief

June 20, 2018 04:07 PM

NEW DELHI: The imposition of governors rule in Jammu and Kashmir will not affect anti-terror operations, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday and noted that there was no political interference.

"We only stopped our operations during Ramzan. But we saw what happened. The terrorists continued with their actions," General Rawat said on the sidelines of an event here.

"The imposition of Governor's rule will not affect our operations. Our operations will go on like they used to. We don't face any political interference," he said.

Governor's rule has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir following recommendation of Governor N.N. Vohra. The BJP had on Tuesday pulled out of the alliance government in the state with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Centre had earlier this month decided not to extend its unilateral initiative, declared on May 16, to coincide with the holy month as terrorist activities continued in the Kashmir Valley.

BJP's withdrawal from the alliance came two days after the government decided against extending the ceasefire.

The party had cited citing growing terror activities and radicalisation in the Kashmir Valley as among reasons for its decision.

National News

Kerala policeman approaches HC to quash FIR

June 20, 2018 04:03 PM

KOCHI: A Kerala policeman who alleged he was beaten by the daughter of a senior police officer on Wednesday filed a petition before the High Court to quash an FIR filed against him.

According to Gavaskar, driver of Additional Director General of Police Sudesh Kumar, the officer's wife and daughter Snigdha misbehaved with him after he turned up late to pick them up last week.

According to the complaint filed by Gavaskar, Snigdha hit him with her mobile phone. Snigdha also registered an FIR, accusing Gavaskar of misbehaving with her.

In his petition, Gavaskar said the case against him was false and baseless. The High Court decided to accept the petition and posted the case for Thursday.

The Crime Branch on Wednesday recorded Gavaskar's statement

World Health

61 killed in Afghanistan clashes

June 20, 2018 03:58 PM

KABUL: At least 45 Afghan security forces and 16 militants have been killed after Taliban militants attacked security checkpoints in two Afghanistan provinces, authorities said on Wednesday.

In one attack, 30 Afghan Army soldiers and 16 Taliban militants were killed overnight after militants stormed two security checkpoints in Badghis province, provincial governor Abdul Qhafoor Malikzai told Xinhua news agency.

The governor added that more than 15 militants were also wounded during the fierce clashes.

The security posts were overrun by the militants and those among the injured were a Taliban shadow provincial governor.

In another attack in Farah province, 15 policemen were killed. No official of Afghan Defence Ministry was immediately available to make comments.

The Afghan security forces' casualties have risen since the beginning of 2015 when Afghan soldiers and police assumed full responsibilities of security from the US and NATO troops.

National News

BJP accuses IUML of cheating Rohith Vemula's family

June 20, 2018 03:11 PM

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Wednesday accused the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) of using the family of Hyderabad University student Rohith Vemula for political motives.

"I was anxious after reading Rohith Vemula's mother's statement. For how long will some opposition parties continue playing politics over it? The family is financially unstable and fake assurance of money was made to a distressed mother for political purposes," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Piyush Goyal told reporters here.

"In her statement, Radhika Vemula said IUML made false promises of providing a sum of Rs 20 lakh and asked her to address their rallies and misrepresent the unfortunate incident," Goyal claimed.

He said she was asked to travel to Kerala and address the rallies for the IUML.

Rohith Vemula, a PhD student at Hyderabad University, committed suicide in the campus on January 17, 2016. His suicide triggered a massive row as the opposition parties described it as a case of atrocities against Dalits.

Lashing out at the IUML leaders, the BJP leader said: "According to his mother, the IUML gave them two cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh, out of which one bounced."

Targeting Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Goyal said, "I received information that even Congress President took Vemula's family to stages and asked them to make statements."

"Rahul Gandhi should apologise for doing petty politics," he said.

World News

Over 5mn Afghan refugees return home in 16 years: UNHCR

June 20, 2018 03:04 PM

KABUL: More than 5 million Afghan refugees have returned to their militancy-plagued country over the past 16 years, a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) statement said here on Wednesday.

The statement was issued to commemorate World Refugee Day which falls on June 20 annually, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Tuesday, Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Affairs Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi said that nearly 6 million Afghans were still living as refugees, with nearly 2.5 million in Pakistan and almost the same number in Iran while the remaining were in other countries.

Since this January, some 332,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Iran and Pakistan, Balkhi added.

However, the UNHCR said in the statement that a "lack of access to services including education and health, adequate housing and land remain key critical challenges for returnees to rebuild their lives" in their homeland.

It also urged the Afghan government and the international community to back the livelihood of the returnees, offer them economic opportunities, basic services and include them in political and social structures.

Chandigarh News

Use dialogue with farmers to announce in toto implementation of Swaminathan Committe report, Capt Amarinder urges PM

June 20, 2018 02:54 PM

CHANDIGARH: Welcoming the Prime Minister’s proposal to hold a direct dialogue on Wednesday with farmers across the country, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has expressed the hope it would lead to the announcement of key initiatives for the welfare of the farming community, including waiver of their debts and in toto implemesntation of the Swaminathan Committee report.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the Chief Minister urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use the forum for initiating the much-needed reforms in the beleaguered agriculture sector, which was crying for assistance from the central government.

Reiterating his demand for a national debt waiver scheme for farmers, as well as the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report in totality, Captain Amarinder Singh said the farmers were in dire need for the Prime Minister’s intervention on these two counts in order to save the nation from an agricultural disaster.

The Chief Minister, who has been aggressively pursuing these issues with the Central Government for the past several months, hoped that the proposed dialogue by the Prime Minister with farmers through his NaMo app would yield concrete results and not turn out to be a mere media op.

Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out that he had been personally raising the issue of farm debt waiver by the central government, as well as full implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, at various forums, including the NITI Aayog meeting held on Sunday. He further observed that he had clearly outlined the need for these initiatives by the Centre, and hoped that the same would now be resonated in the Prime Minister’s announcements during his dialogue with the farmers.

Given the extreme agrarian crisis prevailing in the country, which was witnessing suicides by distressed farmers across states, Modi should seize this opportunity to announce major relief measures for the farming community, said Captain Amarinder Singh, adding that if the Prime Minister was serious about realising his vision of doubling farm income by 2022, he should waste no further time in announcing total implementation of Swaminathan Committee report.

A one-time debt waiver was also essential to bring the beleaguered farmers out of the current crisis and put them back on the path of prosperity, said the Chief Minister. Pointing out that his own government had been trying to help the farmers out of the current crisis with a special debt waiver scheme, despite the severe financial constraints it was facing, the Chief Minister said the central government’s assistance would help rescue the farming community around the country.

Let this occasion be ‘historical’ in the true sense, said Captain Amarinder Singh, adding that the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report was the only real way to rescue the stressed farmers, who are currently unable to meet both ends as a result of the lopsided existing agriculture policy.

As a nation, we owe this to our farmers, who have fed us through generations and continue to be our ‘Annadattas’, the Chief Minister said, once again pushing for the Prime Minister’s personal support to the farming community.

National News

CEA Arvind Subramanian's term won't be extended on his own request: Jaitley

June 20, 2018 02:46 PM

NEW DELHI: The Chief Economic Advisor (CEA), Arvind Subramanian's term would not be extended any further as he wants to go back to the US due to family commitments, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Subramanian had joined as the CEA on October 16, 2014 for a period of three years.

"Few days ago Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments," Jaitley said, adding that his reasons were "personal but extremely important" to him.

"He left me with no option but to agree with him."

On the expiry of the three year term also Jaitley had requested the CEA to continue for some more time, he said, adding: "Even at that stage he told me that he was torn between family commitment and his current job which he considered the best and most fulfilling he has ever done."

J&K News

Vohra puts J&K Assembly under suspended animation

June 20, 2018 02:42 PM

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra on Wednesday placed the state Assembly under suspended animation.

After the imposition of Governor's rule, Vohra exercised his powers under the Constitution.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had demanded the dissolution of the Assembly so that the process of holding early elections in the state could be started.

On Tuesday, the BJP suddenly withdrew its support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and pulled out of the ruling PDP-BJP coalition, causing the government to collapse.

After all major political parties including the PDP, National Conference and the BJP said they would not explore the possibility of forming an elected government in the state, Abdullah said horse trading could not be ruled out unless the Assembly was dissolved.

In the 87-member Assembly, the PDP has 28 seats, the Bharaiya Janata Party 25, National Conference 15, Congress 12, CPI-M 1, Peoples Conference 2 and Peoples Democratic Front 1. There are also three independent MLAs.

World News

US tech giants: Stop border separation of families

June 20, 2018 02:31 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: Joining the growing chorus against the Donald Trump administration's policy of enforcing separation of children from parents at the US-Mexico border, CEOs of prominent tech giants in the US have called for a change.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai urged the government to find a "more humane" solution.

"The stories and images of families being separated at the border are gut-wrenching. Urging our government to work together to find a better, more humane way that is reflective of our values as a nation," Pichai tweeted on Tuesday.

Pichai is not alone in coming out openly against the border separation of families.

In a letter to all the employees on Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella termed the new policy implemented on the border as "simply cruel and abusive", adding that Microsoft was "standing for change".

"Like many of you, I am appalled at the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the southern border of the US. As both a parent and an immigrant, this issue touches me personally," Nadella wrote.

"I consider myself a product of two amazing and uniquely American things -- American technology reaching me where I was growing up that allowed me to dream the dream and an enlightened immigration policy that then allowed me to live that dream. My story would not have been possible anywhere else," he said.

Microsoft is not working with the US government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border, he said.

Microsoft faced criticism over its contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- the agency that is behind the forced separation of children from parents at the US-Mexico border.

"Our current cloud engagement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads," Nadella stressed.

According to a report in The Irish Times on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the separations were "inhumane and need to stop".

"It's heartbreaking to see the images and hear the sounds of the kids. Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. I think that what's happening is inhumane. It needs to stop," Cook was quoted as saying.

In a Facebook post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "we need to stop this policy right now", The Verge reported on Tuesday.

National News

Indian woman gives birth in Bangladesh railway station

June 20, 2018 02:26 PM

DHAKA: An Indian woman gave birth to a baby inside the toilet of a railway station here, a media report said.

Roksana Akter (30) and the newborn have been admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, bdnews24 reported on Tuesday.

Yasin Faruq, the officer-in-charge of the Kamalapur Railway Police Station where the incident took place, said the woman and the child were first taken to the Mugda Hospital on Monday night after she had given birth.

Roksana's husband Abdul, a Bangladeshi citizen, was a furniture trader in India.

After the wedding, Abdul took Roksana to his sister's home in Narayananj but he fled after stealing her passport some days ago, the police officer said.

World News

Canada becomes second nation to legalize marijuana

June 20, 2018 02:24 PM

OTTAWA: Canadian Parliament has passed a "historic" bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana nationwide, becoming the second country in the world to do so.

The Cannabis Act passed its final hurdle on Tuesday in a 52-29 vote in the Senate. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed and sold, the BBC reported.

Canadians will be able to buy and consume cannabis legally as early as this September.

Uruguay became the first country to legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational use in December 2013 while nine US states and the District of Columbia also allow recreational marijuana use.

Thirty US states allow marijuana for medical use.

Cannabis possession first became a crime in Canada in 1923 but medical use has been legal since 2001. The bill will likely receive Royal Assent this week and the government will then choose an official date when the law will come into force.

On Twitter, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the bill and focused on Canada's youth.

"It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize and regulate marijuana just passed the Senate," he said.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also applauded the vote. "This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada," she tweeted. "This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime."

But some groups objected to the new law, with opposition Conservative politicians and indigenous groups among those voicing concerns.

The government is expected to give the provinces and territories, as well as municipalities, eight to 12 weeks to set up the new marijuana marketplace. This time-frame will also allow industry and police forces to prepare for the new legal framework.

Once the bill is formally approved, adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households and prepare products such as edibles for personal use.

However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana.

National News

Toll in Lucknow hotels blaze reaches 6

June 20, 2018 02:20 PM

LUCKNOW: The death toll in the blaze at two hotels here climbed to six on Wednesday, with one person succumbing to his burn injuries, police said. A magisterial probe into the blaze has begun.

Five persons died on Tuesday after a massive fire broke out at the SSJ International Hotel which soon spread to the adjacent Hotel Virat International, gutting both the buildings.

While five bodies have been identified, the identity of a badly charred body of a woman is yet to be ascertained, an official said.

The deceased have been identified as Ganesh Prasad (55) and his son from Patna, Priyanshu Sharma (40) of Aligarh, Santosh Mane (32) of Pune and a one-and-half-year-old Mehar from Kanpur. The mother of Meher, Rani, is in critical condition and is warded at the Civil Hospital.

Others who were seriously injured in the incident include Asif from Kanpur, Indra Kumar Shukla from Rae Bareli, Sarthak from West Bengal, Amit Pathak from Delhi and Shubhashish Chatterjee from Allahabad.

While their condition is stated to be out of danger, they are still in serious condition with over 30-40 per cent burn injuries.

Meanwhile, the magisterial probe into the inferno has begun. A senior police official privy to the investigation told IANS that there were many shortcomings and non-compliances of safety measures and fire prevention in both the hotels.

A safety audit of other hotels in the area has also been initiated by the police and the Fire Service Department. The owners of both the hotels continue to be on the run.

An FIR under sections 285, 337, 338 and 304 (6) has been registered against the owners and management of these hotels.

National News

Over 1 lakh patients in Kerala to receive palliative care

June 20, 2018 02:16 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At least 1.50 lakh patients in Kerala who suffer from various ailments will have a better quality of life through palliative care, the government said on Wednesday.

The care would be provided through a joint initiative between the private sector and state government, the Kerala Assembly was told. Palliative care is given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease.

Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said even as Kerala boasts of having the best of health care, when it comes to palliative care to those suffering from serious ailments like cancer and other life threatening diseases, there has to be an improved effort to give them an improved quality of life.

"At present, there are around 1.50 lakh patients suffering from cancer, several other ailments, old age problems and are mostly bed-ridden. It's here, where we wish to provide an improved palliative care," the Minister said.

"For this, there will be a better co-ordination between the various organisations which are involved in this activity and the state government programmes," said Shailaja.

She added that of 1.50 lakh such patients, around 49,000 currently getting benefits of palliative care through various private organisations and the ones in the state government sector.

"We have already included palliative care in the state owned 232 community health centres. We have decided to appoint a physiotherapist and a nurse in addition to the existing staff so as to benefit those who need palliative care," she said.

"There are 15 training centres which have the approval of the WHO which gives training to volunteers who are interested in providing service to the suffering," added the minister.

She added that it has also been decided that the Ayurveda sector will also be asked to join the new initiative, as Ayurveda too provides elements to improve the quality of life of those who need palliative care.

National News

Kashmiri Pandits reach J&K for annual festival

June 20, 2018 02:08 PM

SRINAGAR: Scores of migrant Kashmiri Pandits arrived at Mata Kheer Bhawani Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Wednesday to attend an annual festival, officials said.

Despite speculation that a lesser number of Kashmiri Pandits would come to attend the Kheer Bhawani Mela in Tullamulla town this year, they kept their tryst with Mata Ragnya.

Scenes of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood were witnessed in Tullamulla where some local Muslim residents came out to greet their Hindu brothers.

Kashmiri Pandits started arriving here on Wednesday in buses from Delhi and Jammu. Some of them used their private vehicles to attend the Mela and pray for peace and prosperity at the shrine.

The holiest Kashmiri Pandit shrine in Kashmir Valley, Kheer Bhawani temple is dedicated to Hindu deity Mata Ragnya, who according to Hindu beliefs came to Kashmir from Sri Lanka during the rule of Ravana.

It is said that displeased with the licentious and vicious life of Ravana, the deity asked Lord Hanuman to shift her image to Tullamulla village in Kashmir.

The shrine, situated around 24 km from Srinagar, houses a spring which is considered sacred by Kashmiri Pandits.

The Pandits believe the colour of the spring water on the annual Mela foretells the state of events in Kashmir during the year.

Authorities have made adequate arrangements for the security and lodging of Pandits.

Most of the devotees prefer to stay at shrine for the night to engage in extended prayers.

Contingents of police and paramilitary force have been placed on the route for the security of devotees.

National News

Will present full budget in July: Kumaraswamy

June 20, 2018 02:00 PM

BENGALURU: Settling speculation over the nature of the state budget for fiscal 2018-19, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has said that he will present a full budget in July.

"I will present a full budget in July first week," Kumaraswamy told reporters on Tuesday at the Press Club in his maiden press conference after assuming office on May 23.

He said Congress President Rahul Gandhi had agreed to his proposal for a full-fledged budget with suggestions from the two allies.

"When I discussed the issue with Gandhi in New Delhi, he asked me to go ahead with a full budget and not to worry about what others may say," Kumaraswamy said.

His clarification came two days after former Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the media that Kumaraswamy need not present a full budget as he had already presented a budget for the fiscal in February ahead of the May 12 Assembly election.

Downplaying Siddaramaiah's statement, Kumaraswamy said a new government had every right to present its own budget based on its poll manifesto and in the interests of the people.

"Though our party (JD-S) did not get majority to implement our poll manifesto, especially farm loans, we are committed to fulfilling as many needs of the people, especially farmers, the poor, downtrodden and women," he said.

The coordination committee of the alliance partners has decided to draft a common minimum programme containing promises they made to the people prior to the election.

As the Congress had agreed to support the Janata Dal-Secular in forming the third coalition government in the state over a decade later, the Chief Minister said he was not only committed to continue many of the social welfare schemes of the previous government but also flag new programmes that were common to both the parties.

Meanwhile, a JD-S leader told IANS that "every newly elected government is entitled to present its own budget at the state and central level in a democratic set-up like ours to reflect the aspirations and expectations of the people across the state or country".

The Chief Minister also got Gandhi's approval to waive loans of farmers with interest that were borrowed from state cooperative banks, rural, regional and state-run banks.

"The Chief Minister plans to announce the waiver as part of the budget proposals in the monsoon session of the Assembly next month," added the leader.

Chandigarh News

Vacant posts of School Teachers be filled soon: Soni

June 20, 2018 12:32 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Education Minister Mr. Om Parkash Soni has said that the problem of shortage of school teachers will be redressed soon as the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will hand over the appointment letters to 2500 teachers on June 29 during his visit to Amritsar.

The Education Minister said that these teachers have been recruited in all the subjects. He further said that 75 per cent of these teachers will be deputed in border areas, while rest 25 per cent would be assigned their duty in urban areas. He said that fund of Rs.100 crores has been allocated for the repair of school buildings in the state and class rooms would be constructed in much needed schools.

Mr. Soni categorically said that under the Mission Tandarust Punjab, first period would be of sports in all the government schools to enhance the mental and physical strength of the children. He further said that computer, laptops and internet connectivity would be provided in all the government schools to equip the children with the modern technology. In response to the reporters’ queries, the Education Minister said that the case of 1000 teachers of Hindi and English is sub-judice as the court stayed the matter. He said that after the court verdict, the decision to appoint them will be taken accordingly.

The Education Minister reiterated that state-of-the-art facilities would be provided in the government schools to enhance the learning ability of students and to make government schools as preference of parents for their wards. “The main purpose of our government is to improve education system, health, environment and no stone would be left to unturned in this direction”, he added.

Earlier, in view of visit of Captain Amarinder Singh, Mr. Soni reviewed the arrangements for the program, which will be held at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Amritsar next week.

National News

Farmers' income increasing, says Modi

June 20, 2018 12:26 PM

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the income of farmers in the country increased, and also doubled in many cases, due to various initiatives taken by the central government.

Modi held interactions with select farmers from the various parts of the country through "Narendra Modi App", during which he asked them about their success stories of increase in the production and the income.

"We are working towards ensuring that the income of our hardworking farmers doubles by 2022. For that, we are facilitating proper assistance wherever required. We have faith in the farmers. They are ready to take risks and bring results," said Modi.

He expressed his happiness when one of the Chhattisgarh farmers told him that his income had increased six-seven times in just three years.

Modi said his government focused on major four points to achieve the target of doubling farm income.

"First, we are trying to bring down the input cost as much as possible. Second, farmers should get remunerative prices. Third is how to minimise wastage. And the fourth is to offer alternative sources of income," Modi said.

Modi said the government had ensured remunerative prices to farmers by announcing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the notified crops in the Union Budget.

"The input cost for MSP will include family labour, expenses on cattle, machines, seeds, fertilisers, irrigation along with land revenue by the state governments, rent for the land on lease and interest on working capital," said Modi.

Modi also said foodgrain output had gone up to over 280 million tonnes in 2017-18 from average 250 million tonnes during 2010-2014.

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