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Punjab Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh tenders his resignation

first_imgPunjab Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who has been under fire from the Opposition for his alleged involvement in sand mining auctions, has submitted his resignation as Power and Irrigation minister to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.“I have given my resignation from the ministry to the Captain Sahib. I gave my resignation personally to the Chief Minister a week back,” he said today.Rana Gurjit Singh, who is an MLA from Kapurthala, has been handling the power and irrigation portfolios.When asked why he gave his resignation, he said that the Opposition was trying to corner the Chief Minister by making false allegations against him and was demanding his resignation.“I have now tendered my resignation,” Rana Gurjit Singh said.However, there is no official confirmation of the acceptance of his resignation.The opposition, especially AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, was demanding Rana Gurjit Singh’s resignation from the Chief Minister after the cabinet minister’s name had last year allegedly figured in the sand mining auctions.The State government had then formed the Justice JS Narang Commission following allegations involving Rana Gurjit Singh in the sand mining auctions conducted by the mining department in May last year.The commission was mandated to probe all aspects of the allegations of impropriety against the irrigation and power minister in the multi-crore sand mining auctions.The minister had claimed that there was no wrongdoing in the auctions.This year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had reportedly issued summons for January 17 to Rana Inder Partap Singh, son of minister Rana Gurjit Singh, in connection with the raising of funds abroad by floating global depository receipts for one of the family-owned companies allegedly without the mandatory permission of the Reserve Bank of India.“Opposition again made hue and cry that ED had issued summons. Though, I am not looking after the business, the reply will be given to them (ED),” said Rana Gurjit Singh, who has been considered close to the Chief Minister.last_img read more

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BJP govt. has pushed farmers into acute distress: Hooda

first_imgSetting the tone of the campaign ahead of the State Assembly polls, due in the later half of 2019, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday accused the Manohar Lal Khattar government of pushing the farmers into acute distress and misleading them.Mr. Hooda was addressing a gathering in Fatehabad’s Tohana as he launched the fourth phase of his ‘Jan Kranti Yatra’.“The BJP government claims to have implemented the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission and is patting itself on the back after it raised the MSP of paddy to ₹1,750 per quintal and cotton to ₹5,150 per quintal, claiming that farmers are being given 50% profits but that’s far from truth,” said Mr. Hooda.He added that the revised MSP is based only on part of the input costs, not comprehensive costs as suggested by the Swaminathan Commission and added that the Congress would provide 50% profits to farmers on C2 costs.Mr. Hooda alleged that the State government has also failed to deliver on its promises made to the youth of the state. “Before the elections, the BJP had promised to give jobs to youth or give them an unemployment allowance of ₹9,000 per month, they have neither provided the jobs nor the unemployment allowance,” said Mr. Hooda.Power tariffsMr. Hooda said that after returning to power following the elections, the Congress government would provide relief to all sections of the society from rising power tariffs in the State. “The Congress government will provide a 50% reduction in the power tariffs after the elections,” he said, adding that the BJP government is solely responsible for the poor condition of power supply in the State.Mr. Hooda accused the government of failing to control the rise of the drugs menace in Haryana. “The State government has failed to maintain law and order. It was a matter of shame for all of us that Haryana has become the number one State in the country for crime against women. The situation has become so bad that the police have stopped registering cases and the horrible case in Panchkula is the latest example,” he said.Mr. Hooda took on the Indian National Lok Dal, accusing it for being hand-in-glove with the BJP government. “INLD’s agitation against the BJP is a sham and it would not make any impact, even if they continued to agitate for 50 years.”last_img read more

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‘This is not an election just to decide Amritsar seat’

first_imgAfter being named by the BJP as its candidate for the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency on Sunday, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister of State (independent charge) Hardeep S. Puri spoke to The Hindu. Let’s start with the announcement on Sunday. Was this something you were interested in and was it being discussed within the party for some time? What is your reaction to it?The best way I can answer that question is to say that my position all along has been that this is a call that the party has to make and I have maintained that if the party decides that a particular member in the Council of Ministers, serving as a Rajya Sabha MP should contest a Lok Sabha seat, then, well, that’s a call, a decision, that the party has to make and as a karyakarta (worker) I would abide by it. That is the short and absolutely straight answer.Amritsar is a seat that the BJP lost in 2014, when Arun Jaitley contested, and in the 2017 by-election, after holding the seat from 2004 to 2014. Do you see this as a challenging seat?Look, any election is challenging. And each election, in every five-year cycle or otherwise, has a dynamic that is entirely specific and particular to that context. What happened in Mr. Jaitley’s case has been the subject of much speculation… I think we were facing a certain anti-incumbency. I don’t think that is a reference point. Mr. Jaitley has always been a very close friend of mine, a well-wisher, and I am very sure that even in the context of the 2019 election, he must have had an important role to play in my being nominated to that seat. By dint of sheer professional training, I don’t like making assessments on prospects without doing due diligence, but I can share with you, with confidence, that I think people are aware of the fact that this is not an election just to decide who will represent Amritsar, but this is also an election that will determine the nature and shape of the Central government for the next 5 years and I think the BJP-led NDA is going into these elections with a very positive agenda. In so far as Amritsar is concerned or the three seats the BJP is contesting in Punjab, I have absolutely no doubt that we will win all three. I will give the electorate of Amritsar sufficient opportunity in terms of what I stand for, in terms of my own track record, and more than that, what I plan to do for the city of Amritsar in the next five years. I will place before the electorate of Amritsar a vision document…There were reports of friction in the BJP-SAD alliance and that the Akalis wanted the Amritsar seat.I would be surprised that in any alliance and in any system of democratic functioning, people aren’t jostling. This is a prestigious seat and it’s also guru ki nagri (holy city). So if somebody says in place of the three seats you have, I’ll take this, I wouldn’t hold it against them.What kind of connect do you have with Amritsar? How do you think people will receive you vis-à-vis a local?What would you rather have? You have a choice between somebody who is a local but is unlikely to be a member of the Central government and you have another person, who also looks roughly the same, wears a turban and is as much of a proud Sikh, who has connections with Amritsar, except that he hasn’t spent his life there. I joined the foreign service in 1974, went to Delhi University and had schooling in different parts of the world… But I have in the last one year visited Amritsar dozens of times. I started visiting Amritsar at the age of eight. My grandfather was among those who survived the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. Now, I would have thought that what is important is to elect somebody who can represent the constituency more effectively and who can carry that into the government so that Amritsar’s work gets higher priority, notice and attention.What will be the broad themes of your vision document for Amritsar?Urban infrastructure and particularly tourism infrastructure for multiplying the earnings from tourism. Amritsar has been deindustrialised for factors that may not be in our control. There are consequences to being a border State. You may not be able to change that, but you can step in and attract more foreign direct investment. You can make sure that Punjabis and Sikhs who have an emotional bond with Amritsar will invest in industries. There is a locational disadvantage, but you can provide incentives. Another area from my point of view is education; international connectivity is another issue. The bottom line is that I look forward to being the voice of Amritsar in Delhi and I want to give people that choice.last_img read more

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OOCL Handles More as Revenues Rise in Q3

first_imgzoom Hong Kong-based container carrier Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) reported that its volumes and revenues continued rising during the third quarter of 2017.For the quarter ended September 30, OOCL’s total volumes were 5% up from the same period last year. During the period, the company handled 1.59 million TEU, up from 1.52 million TEU reported in the same quarter a year earlier.The Asia/Europe trade saw the largest increase in volumes, which were at 297,897 TEU, up by 24.7% from 238,844, followed by the Trans-Pacific trade with 474,794 TEU, a rise of 14.1%, and Trans-Atlantic trade which saw an increase of 13.6% percent in volumes, handling 110,942 TEU. The company’s Intra-Asia/Australasia trade handled 715,693 TEU, 7.1% less in the quarter.Total revenues for the third quarter of 2017 were up by 26.5% to USD 1.45 billion, compared to USD 1.14 billion reported in the third quarter of 2016, mostly driven by the Asia/Europe trade which reported a 57.6% surge in revenues to USD 305.7 million from USD 193.9 million.OOCL said that loadable capacity increased by 9%. The overall load factor was 3% lower than the same period in 2016. Overall average revenue per TEU increased by 20.6% compared to the third quarter of last year.For the first nine months of 2017, total volumes increased by 6.2% over the same period last year and total revenues recorded a 19% growth. Loadable capacity increased by 6.6%. The overall load factor was 0.3% lower than the same period in 2016, while overall average revenue per TEU increased by 12.1% compared to the same period last year.Earlier this week, COSCO Shipping Holdings’ takeover bid for Orient Overseas International Limited (OOIL), the parent company of OOCL, passed the anti-trust review in the United States.The go-ahead was granted after COSCO Holdings’ shareholders approved the deal at the extraordinary general meeting held on October 16.The takeover offer was made in July this year when COSCO Shipping Holdings and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) placed a pre-conditional voluntary general offer to acquire all issued OOIL’s shares at an offer price of HKD 78.67 (USD 10.07) in cash, totaling in USD 6.3 billion.The EU and Chinese regulators still need to give the green light to the deal.If completed, the merged unit would become the world’s third-largest container carrier, with a combined fleet of 400 vessels.last_img read more