Punjab Current Affairs

150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai

150th birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, also known as Punjab Kesri is being celebrated 28th January 2016.

To celebrate this occasion a state level function has been organised in Punjab and special event will be held at village Dhudi Ke, the birth place of Lala Lajpat Rai in Moga district.

State government also has organised various seminars and symposia at many places in Punjab to remember Lala Lajpat Rai.

About Lala Lajpat Rai

  • He was born on 28 January 1865 in Dhudike (now Moga district) of Punjab.
  • He was lawyer by profession and had practiced his legal profession for few years but later curtailed it to focus on all his efforts to the freedom struggle.
  • He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari meaning The Lion of Punjab and also known as Sher-E- Punjab in Punjabi for his contribution to the freedom movement.
  • Freedom Movement: He was part of the Lal Bal Pal trio of assertive nationalists that included Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal from 1905 to 1918.
  • Lal Bal Pal trio had advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods in 1907 during the anti-Partition agitation in Bengal which began in 1905.
  • He was also associated with the foundation of Punjab National Bank in 1895 and later Lakshmi Insurance Company.
  • President of INC: In 1888 and 1889 he was a delegate to the annual sessions of Indian National Congress (INC) and was elected as its President in the Calcutta Special Session of 1920.
  • Social Work: In 1921, he had founded Servants of the People Society, a non-profit welfare organisation, in Lahore, which shifted based to Delhi after partition, and has branches in many parts of India.
  • Arya Samaj: He also had helped to establish the nationalistic Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School and became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati (founder of the Arya Samaj).
  • His books: As an author he had written many books which includes The Story of My Deportation (1908), Arya Samaj (1915), The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression (1916), Unhappy India (1928) etc.
  • Death: He died on 17 November 1928 after sustaining serious injuries in lathi charge carried by the police when he leading a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission.

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NGT bans age-old agricultural practice of straw burning in Northern States

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned age-old agricultural practice of straw burning in pollution-ravaged New Delhi and 4 northern western states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Ruling in this regard was given by NGT Bench headed by Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar by keeping in view the serious issue of burning of agriculture waste (straw) which contributes towards global warming and the environmental pollution.

NGT has directed

  • Respective governments of Delhi and four northern to keep check the bi-annual menace of straw burning.
  • Imposition of 2,500 to 15,000 rupees fine on farmers indulged in straw burning.
  • District magistrates should form a committee to carry out awareness programmes for farmers and villagers in order to educate them about the ill-effects of straw burning.

It has clearly mentioned that if the directions of NGT in this regard are not complied with, the Chief Secretaries concerned states would be held liable.

Straw Burning Menace

  • Straw Burning is age-old agricultural practice followed by farmers biannually by setting fire to their fields to clear the land of residue (Straw) of one harvest and sow the next.
  • It is mainly carried in Northern western states in the month of November to save time under the rice-wheat crop rotation and to make the land more fertile and kill pests.

Effects

  • The menace of straw burning is making the atmosphere in national capital Delhi more blinding and suffocating as smoke from it moves towards the city.
  • The open field burning emits Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Nitrous Oxide (NO) along with particulate matter.

Thus open burning of agriculture remains is considered as a serious issue contributing towards global warming and the environmental pollution. It is also principle cause of haze and air pollution putting life of people and children in danger.

Earlier, Union Government had proposed to provide incentives to farmers and promoting efficient farming practices with subsidies to stop this menace.

The best remedy to stop this menace is to set up bio-ethanol refineries in order to extract sustainable bio-fuel from agricultural residue with the help of private-public-partnership (PPP) and private model.

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Punjab to set up bio-ethanol refinery to stop menace of straw burning

Punjab Government has announced to set up bio-ethanol refinery in the state to tackle the menace of wheat and paddy straw burning.

In this regard, state government has inked MoU with consortium of Beta Renewables, Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. for project estimated worth Rs. 950 crore during the Progressive Punjab Investor Summit, 2015.

Benefits of bio-ethanol refinery

  • Would play an important role in solving the chronic problem of straw burning of leftover agro-based produce especially from wheat and rice feedstocks.
  • Benefit farmers economically, as they would be paid for their agro-based produce to extract bio-ethanol.
  • It would also help in preventing the loss of fertility of soil and damage to environment by reducing air pollution.

What is Bioethanol?

  • It is an alcohol derived by process of fermentation mostly from carbohydrates of plant produce and feedstocks.
  • Commonly obtained from crops such as sugarcane, cassava, corn, potato, beetroot and recently grapes, banana and dates etc.
  • Uses: As a quasi-renewable energy it can be blended with petrol or diesel making it a sustainable transport fuel. It can also be used an alternative fuel in manufacturing processes and cosmetic products etc.

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