4,208 people sought Padma for Dera chief

first_imgMore than 4,200 people recommended ‘Saint Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan’ for a Padma award in 2017, while the self-styled godman and now rape convict proposed his own name for the honour five times.According to the list of recommendations or nominations for the Padma Awards 2017, the Union Home Ministry received 18,768 applications.The highest — 4,208 recommendations — including two from ‘Saintgorge William Sonet’ and ‘India Saintgorge’, both from Hissar in Haryana, were received for conferring any one of the three Padma awards on the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief, reveal documents accessed by PTI.All for GurmeetAll recommendations were marked in the name of ‘Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan’, also known as ‘rockstar baba’ and ‘guru of bling’, and almost all had come from Sirsa in Haryana, the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda.Self-recommendationGurmeet Ram Rahim, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two followers this week, recommended himself five times. While his address was given as Sirsa thrice, on the other two applications, he gave Hissar in Haryana and Ganganagar in Rajasthan, as his address.The overwhelming majority of those who recommended the Dera chief’s name for the highest civilian honour in the country used single names like Abha, Aditya, Akbar, Alfez, Baljinder, Milky, Gajal Komal, Jony, Jesse and Ishwar.Padma awards seek to recognise exceptional achievements in art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, civil service, trade and industry.last_img read more

Tourism Earnings up 10.8 Per Cent

first_imgStory Highlights Minister Bartlett said the sector has grown consistently over the last 36 years. “It is indeed the only sector that has grown consistently. This year’s growth, so far, has outstripped all other periods of growth that Jamaica has had in tourism,” he said while commending all the players who have contributed to the development. He noted that the island continues to have record-breaking arrivals, welcoming 3.3 million visitors during the first nine months of the year, which represents an overall increase of 9.5 per cent. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is reporting gross foreign exchange earnings of US$2.34 billion for the first 10 months of the year, representing a 10.8 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2016. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is reporting gross foreign exchange earnings of US$2.34 billion for the first 10 months of the year, representing a 10.8 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2016.The figure puts the country in good position to reach the US$3-million mark for the year.“So, we have two full months to go, and last year, the earnings for the entire year were US$2.56 billion. So… it is just possible, with a little more effort, in the month of December in particular, for us to make US$3 billion in earnings,” Minister Bartlett said.“That would be something very special, because we would break a new threshold,” he added.He was speaking at the media launch of the 2017 Tourism Service Excellence Awards Programme at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston on November 14.The Tourism Minister informed that the country is on course to reach four million visitors for the “first time in our history (in) the first week of December”.He noted that the island continues to have record-breaking arrivals, welcoming 3.3 million visitors during the first nine months of the year, which represents an overall increase of 9.5 per cent.Minister Bartlett said the sector has grown consistently over the last 36 years. “It is indeed the only sector that has grown consistently. This year’s growth, so far, has outstripped all other periods of growth that Jamaica has had in tourism,” he said while commending all the players who have contributed to the development.He explained that several factors have led to the growth, citing the warmth of the Jamaican people, additional room capacity, and increased airlift.“If you have air access, you can get to the destination, and that’s what we did. We went out there with a very ambitious plan. We have restructured the Jamaica Vacations Company, and we have created an opportunity for (it) to be able to reach more airlines and to work with tour operators and to bring more flights into the destination,” he noted.He further cited the role of attractions, noting that “the number and quality of our attractions are ahead. In fact, we have, combined, more attractions than all of the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean”.In the meantime, he expressed confidence that Jamaica will become the number-one Caribbean destination for the British market.“As a matter of fact, we are leading at the moment, and I don’t see anything that will change that between now and the end of the year,” he said.The Tourism Service Excellence Awards Programme is open to organisations and individuals that are exemplars in the field.Nominees are drawn from all subsectors of the industry, including accommodations, craft, airport, tour and ground transport operators, rafting, and attractions or places of interest, and must display best practices and offer excellent customer service as well as environmental stewardship.Nominations close on December 22 at 4:00 p.m. Further details about the awards and guidelines regarding nomination may be accessed on the Ministry’s website at www.mot.gov.jm.last_img read more