In a major decision to regularize the services of the employees working on contract, adhoc, work charged, daily wages and temporary basis, the Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday approved the “The Punjab Protection and Regularization of Contractual Employees Bill-2021” to be introduced in the current session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for enactment. This decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi here at Punjab Bhawan on Tuesday.
Briefing the media after the meeting, CM Channi said that with this decision, the services of nearly 36,000 aforesaid employees with more than 10 years service would be regularized. Likewise, the Cabinet also gave approval for the extra creation of deemed posts. According to an official spokesperson, however, this decision of regularization would not be binding on the boards and corporations.
Channi also said that the cabinet has accepted the resignation of Advocate General A.P.S. Deol and the post left vacant by him will be filled by Wednesday. PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu had been pushing for the replacement of Deol. CM Channi said the AG had resigned a few days ago. “The cabinet today accepted it (resignation),” said Channi, adding that it would be sent to the state governor and on Wednesday, the new AG will be appointed. Navjot Singh Sidhu was also present with Channi during the press conference and he hailed the decisions taken in the meeting.
In a decision to provide sand & gravel to public at large at minimum affordable rates, the Punjab Cabinet approved the Punjab State Sand and Gravel Mining Policy, 2021 to provide sand and gravel at Rs 5.50/cubic feet across the state. Chief Minister Channi said that as per new policy the sand and gravel shall be provided to the public at Rs 5.5/cft at mining sites including loading charges. Further, the royalty rate of ordinary clay and ordinary earth shall be decreased from Rs. 10 per tonne to Rs 2.5 per tonne in public interest.
The Cabinet also accorded approval to the Punjab Energy Security, Termination of PPAs and Redetermination of Power Tariff Bill, 2021 to be placed in the current session of Vidhan Sabha. With the passing of this Bill by Vidhan Sabha, Power Purchase Agreements with M/s Nabha Power Limited & Talwandi Sabo Power Limited shall stand referred to PSERC for re-determination of tariff.
In order to enable the state government to evolve statutory measures for sustained development of electricity sector in the state and to make available the electricity to the consumers at an economical, affordable and sustained basis, the Cabinet also gave a go ahead to the Punjab Renewable Energy Security, Reform, Termination and Re-determination of Power Tariff Bill, 2021 to be placed in the ongoing session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
In a bid to ensure an effective ecosystem and restore the agricultural safeguards besides protecting the interests of farmers, farm labourers and those engaged in ancillary and incidental activities, the cabinet also gave approval to amend Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets, Act 1961 to revoke the anti-farmer provisions.
Keeping in view the dilemma/fear in the minds of the producers/farmers of the state due to the strict provisions incorporated in the Punjab Contract Farming Act, 2013 like imprisonment, monetary penalties and other rigorous punishments, the Punjab Cabinet decided to repeal the aforesaid Act in the larger interest of Punjab Farmers.
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PAK ENVOY MEETS TALIBAN’S ACTING FM, DISCUSSES BILATERAL COOPERATION
KABUL: Pakistan’s envoy to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan met Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed bilateral cooperation between both countries.
“Pakistan Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan met with acting FM Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed bilateral cooperation, Khan said.
Pakistan has decided that wheat and emergency medicine provided by India can be transported from Wagah port in Pakistan on Afghan trucks to Afghanistan,” Tolo News reported.
Earlier, Pakistan’s envoy and the Taliban acting foreign minister met in the month of September where both sides discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation particularly facilitating humanitarian, economic and people-to-people exchange.
Pakistan, along with China were among the first countries that began engaging with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August this year.
The meeting came amid the Taliban’s repeated appeal for wider international recognition. Pakistan is among the very few which seem to have started engaging with the outfit. Other members of the international community are taking a wait and watch approach.
TLP expanding after release of its leader Saad Hussain Rizvi
Formerly banned organisation Tehreek-E-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is on a surge after the release of its leader Saad Hussain Rizvi and revoking of its ban by the Imran Khan government.
According to the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), there was a rather secret deal between TLP and the Imran Khan government reached on October 31 to end the latest round of protests. The deal was not made public and on November 7, Khan’s cabinet revoked the declaration of the TLP as a banned group. The TLP benefitted mainly from the divisions between the PML-Nawaz government and the military establishment deep state’, IFFRAS said, adding that Pakistan military establishment’s effort to prop up different religious groups to deteriorate the PML-Nawaz government permitted the TLP to increase greater political space. Earlier, Rizvi was released on the eve of his father, Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s death anniversary on November 19 who was the founder of TLP.
Further, the TLP capable of mobilising thousands of supporters, was born in the year 2015 out of a remonstration movement to the Barelvi movement.
US ready to support Ukraine, help Kiev with defence
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says Washington is concerned about the situation in Ukraine and is ready to support Kiev.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday, Austin said that the US is “very concerned” about the alleged buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border and will try to ensure that Kiev “has what it needs” to defend its “sovereign territory.” The Pentagon chief said he was not going to speculate on different scenarios pertaining to the alleged Russian aggression on its borders.
Over the past several weeks, Ukraine and some Western countries have expressed concern about the alleged increase in what they characterise as “aggressive actions” by Russia on their border. However, Russia has refuted the accusations by saying it is moving troops within its own territory and at its own discretion.
US President Joe Biden plans to discuss the issue of Ukraine, as well as other topics, during the upcoming video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, December 7.
Biden told reporters earlier this week, answering a question about the issue of Ukraine, that he expected a “long discussion” with the Russian President.
Russia has repeatedly said that it stands by its right to move armed forces freely within its territory. On November 23, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russia does not have any aggressive plans with regard to Ukraine. The Kremlin has also expressed concerns about Kiev having aggregated almost half of all its armed forces on the contact line with the Donbas region in the east of the country.
EXPLOSIONS HEARD INSIDE US BASE IN SYRIA
Explosions were heard on Sunday inside a US military base in Syria, state news agency SANA reported.
The blasts were heard in the al-Tanf area in southeastern Syria, Xinhua news agency reported. Back in late October, the US base of At Tanf came under a drone attack. The White House believes that the recent attack on its military base in Syria was “deliberate and coordinated” and the United States reserves the right to respond.
CHINA CREATES ATMOSPHERE THAT EMBOLDENS MILITARY TO SEIZE POWER IN AFRICA
As Western powers continue to retreat from Africa, China is busy creating an atmosphere that emboldens generals and military cliques to seize power in one of the largest continent in the world, said a media report.
In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Harvard University lecturer Christopher Rhodes said that “backsliding on the part of Western powers, the rise of autocrat-friendly China, have created an atmosphere in Africa that emboldens generals and military cliques to seize power.” Rhodes further wrote that the coup, which had been widely rumoured in Sudan but still managed to blindside the United States, remains a source of outrage for Sudanese citizens. But Washington is yet to take a clear stance on the issue, Rhodes said.
According to the lecturer, the reaction from the West has diverged widely from that of Sudanese citizens, who continue to reject military hegemony. The report says that American diplomats have signaled acceptance of the new arrangement and willingness to turn a blind eye to the continued military dominance of the transition government.
This brings focus to the breakdown of the anti-coup coalition that had formed for Africa – a breakdown that has led to military interventions reemerging as a leading method by which power is transferred on the continent, Rhodes added.
Noting that the fight for democracy and against military rule in Africa has seen significant setbacks, Rhodes said while African populations remain overwhelmingly committed to democracy and opposed to military governments, the lack of reliable international pro-democracy partners makes the struggle against military rule much more difficult.
But as the sustained anti-military protests in Sudan demonstrate, local populations are willing to continue the fight for democracy, even if they must go it alone, said the lecturer.
PROTEST IN COLOMBO AGAINST LYNCHING OF SRI LANKAN EXECUTIVE IN PAKISTAN
A protest was held outside Pakistan High Commission in Colombo on Sunday by a large crowd, including a group of monks, against the killing of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot city of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan executive of a garment factory was lynched and his body burnt by angry supporters of a hardline Islamist party that attacked the facility in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations on Friday.
A police official alleged that Kumara tore a poster of the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in which Quranic verses were inscribed and threw it in the dustbin. A mob enraged over the alleged blasphemy incident, started gathering outside the factory from adjoining areas, most of them activists and supporters of the TLP.
They dragged the Sri Lankan executive, who was in his 40s, from the factory and severely tortured him. After he succumbed to his wounds, the mob burnt his body before police reached the crime spot. Late on Friday, Punjab police said they have arrested 100 suspects, after identifying them through video footage that went viral on social media.
Expressing grief over the lynching of his country’s citizen in Pakistan, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha said that he was “shocked to see the brutal and fatal attack” on Priyantha Diyawadana by “extremist mobs in Pakistan”.
“My heart goes out to his wife and family”, Rajapaksha said in a tweet.
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