Connecting over 25 millions NRIs worldwide
Most trusted Name in the NRI media

December, 2008


German Company would launch Metro Cash & Carry business
with Rs.900 crore plan in Punjab



Metro Cash & Carry – a German retail enterprise would launch its operation in Punjab from Zirakpur on January 15, 2009 as a part of its massive investment plan of Rs.900 crore to set up a chain of wholesale distribution cum retail centers through out the state.

An assurance of this effect was given here today by Director Development & Expansion of Metro Cash & Carry Mr. Erik Schmit to Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal during a meeting at Chief Minister's residence this morning.

A 6-member delegation led by Mr. Schmit urged the Chief Minister to inaugurate company's maiden venture at Zirakpur which would give a push for the modern practices in the development of the state with the focus on agriculture development and employment generation in allied farming. Mr. Schmit informed the Chief Minister the company would soon set up its wholesale distribution centers at Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Mohali, adding he said perhaps this was the ever biggest investment in the country by the internationally acclaimed retail corporate house. He appreciated the commitment of Chief Minister for giving all the requisite clearances to them for setting up the wholesale-cum-retail chain in the state by the empowered committee on mega projects headed by Mr. Badal. He pointed out that these ventures across the state would result in creation of nearly 5000 jobs for local youth and impart training in modern management practices besides sourcing vegetables, fruits and other fresh items directly from local farmers thereby eliminating the middleman, according to the company's committed philosophy to supplement the income of the farmers.

The Chief Minister assured the delegation to extend fulsome support and cooperation on behalf of the Punjab government. Mr. Badal commended the company's initiative for setting up these wholesale distribution centers that would provide over 18000 items-both food and non food to the Kirana stores, hotels, restaurants and businessman in the state and hoped that there would a quantum jump in the state's revenue. He also assured the management that the pending cases of different clearances and change of land use for new proposals put forth by the company would be dealt in line with the laid down principles of the existing policy on mega projects.

Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting included Media Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Harcharan Bains, Financial Commissioner Taxation SS Brar, Financial Commissioner Development NS Kang, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister DS Guru, Principal Secretary Industries SS Channy, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister AK Mahajan and Chairman Punjab Pollution Control Board Yogesh Goyal.

Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir appoints Bains as a Member of Manifesto Committee

Chandigarh December 11, 2008

Shiromani Akali Dal President Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today appointed Punjab Chief Minister's Media Advisor Mr. Harcharan Bains as Member of the Manifesto Committee for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections manifesto.

In a statement SAD President said that Mr. Bains would now be an active member of the manifesto committee of the party. He clarified that the omission of his name from the Manifesto Committee announced yesterday was due to misunderstanding regarding the legal implications of a place for him in the political structure of the Party in the light of his being a member of Govt. hierarchy. The anomaly had now been removed. Mr. Badal pointed out that Mr. Bains had been the part and parcel of the policy and decision making process for the party for the past 30 years and has always helped the party and its stalwart and Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, during the most difficult period in past three decades. He said that Mr. Bains was not merely a member of Manifesto Committee during the last assembly elections but also played a most pivotal role as a leading member being a think tank of the party. Mr.Bains relentlessly braced upto all the odds faced by Shiromani Akali Dal and S.Parkash Singh Badal over three decades. Highly respected in the hierarchy, Mr. Bains is considered almost a member of the Badal's family working closely with the father, son duo.

It may be recalled that SAD Secretary General Mr.Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa is the Chairman of Manifesto Committee.




The Punjab Government today enhanced Dearness Allowance payable to Punjab Government employees, pensioners and employees of Private Aided Institutions from the existing rate of 47% to 54% of Basic Pay plus Dearness Pay w.e.f.1st July, 2008.

Disclosing this here today, Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister said that in the case of employees, the whole amount on account of enhanced Dearness Allowance due for then period from 1-7-2008 to 31-12-2008 would be credited to the General Provident Fund Accounts of the employees. For the period from 1.01.2009 enhanced dearness allowance would be paid in cash.

However, in the case of pensioners entire amount on account of enhanced Dearness Allowance would be paid in cash w.e.f.1.7.2008.

The Finance Minister said that payment of Dearness Allowance would lead to an annual burden of Rs.315.09 crore on the exchequer of the State. The burden of Rs.225.06 crore would on account of payment to employees, Rs.33.76 crore on account of employees of private aided Institutions and Rs.56.27 crore due to pensioners.

The Minister added that in the case of such employees who have been appointed on or after 1-1-2004 under the news restructured defined Contributory Pension Scheme and have not yet opened their accounts under Tier-II of the scheme, the Department would purchase National Saving Certificate/Kissan Vikas Patras from Post Offices in the State of Punjab with the amount of arrears on account of enhanced Dearness Allowance in the names of such employees.

Instructions to this effect were today issued to all Head of Departments, Registrar, High Court of Punjab & Haryana, District and Session Judges and Deputy Commissioners in the State.


Chandigarh December 11, 2008

Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Minister of Shipping and Road Transport T.R. Baalu to immediately release the backlog of Rs. 113.61 crore under for Centre Road Funds (CRF) works.

Addressing a function to mark the dedication of four lane highway from Ambala to Zirakpur (NH-22& NH-21) to the nation by Mr. Baalu here at Dappar near Dera Bassi in SAS Nagar (Mohali) district, Mr. Badal impressed upon the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister to release the entire funds to the tune of Rs. 113.61crore as the Ministry had only agreed to release backlog Rs. 104.92 crore upto year 2006-07. The Chief Minister mentioned that GoI had released only Rs. 275.29 crore against total annual accrual of Rs. 388.90 crore upto year 2007-08.

The Chief Minister also sought Mr. Baalu's intervention to accord approval to the road projects of Zirakpur-Patiala section (NH-64), Dabwali-Malout section (NH-10) besides four laning of National Highways in the state by National Highways Authority of India including Jalandhar-Dhilwan-Amritsar on Jalandhar Amritsar Road (NH-1), Amritsar-Pathankot Road (NH-15), Kharar to Kurali section on Chandigarh-Ropar- Kiratpur Sahib (NH-21), Ludhiana- Talwandi Road (NH-95) and Chandigarh-Ludhiana Road (NH-95). Mr. Badal also raised the issue to revise the compensation to the land owners, because the state government was paying compensation to them on the prevailing market price.

In his address, Mr. Baalu assured the Chief Minister that one of the two toll plazas in the close vicinity in this area would be wound up in view of the lot of hardships caused to the commuters. To another issue about the nonpayment of compensation to the land owners of 5 out of 28 villages in Punjab whose land has been acquired for Zirakpur- Ambala section, he pointed out that compensation to the tune of Rs. 28.96 crore would be given to these owners as per the award against the payment of Rs. 5.85 crore made by the GoI. Mr. Baalu also announced the six laning of Jalandhar-Amritsar- Attari (NH-1) would be completed soon on the top priority. He also assured Mr. Badal that the GoI was committed to give a special treatment to Punjab for best road infrastructure in the state.

Prominent among other who were present on the occasion included Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Cooperation Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, PWD (B&R) Minister Punjab Mr. Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister of State for Housing Urban Poverty Alleviation (Independent Charge) State Kumari Selja, Chief Minister's Media Advisor Mr. Harcharn Bains and MLA Ambala Mr. Vinod Sharma.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today took a serious view of the neglect of Punjabi language by the Chandigarh UT administration as a medium of official communication. Mr. Badal's strong reaction comes in the wake of the failure of the Union Territory Administration to issue voter lists for the forth coming panchayat elections in Punjabi as the voter lists have been published in Hindi and English alone.

Mr. Badal today officially conveyed his government's objection to this omission. In identical letters to the UT Administrator General (Retd.) SF Rodrigues and State Election Commissioner Dehli & UT Chandigarh Mr. Om Parkash Kelkar, the Chief Minister pointed out that all the villages in the Union Territory are Punjabi speaking areas. A vast majority of the capital city not only speaks but also have strong emotional bonding with Punjabi. The chief minister said that it was necessary to issue electoral roll in Punjabi language in addition to English and Hindi.

In a statement later, Mr. Badal said that the issue had strong emotional, cultural and political implications and the anomaly should be removed immediately. He said that Chandigarh was not only the capital of Punjab but was built solely for the state. He said that the legitimacy of Punjab's rightful claim on the city had never been a subject of debate. The Chief Minister further said way back in 1985, even the then Prime Minister of India had, in a written Accord, acknowledged Punjab's right in this matter and had even set a date for its transfer to the parent state. This had also been ratified by the parliament. He said that this was done in acknowledgement of the fact that Chandigarh and the villages following in it were all Punjabi speaking.

Mr. Badal appealed to the General Rodrigues who is also the Governor of Punjab to intervene personally and immediately to ensure that Punjabi continued to enjoy its legitimate place of respect in the Union Territory. He called for an immediate issuance of electoral rolls in Punjabi. The panchayat elections are due on December 14.


CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 11: Strongly advocating the need for expanding the role of the Red Cross Movement, the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Gen. (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, PVSM VSM, called for focused attention on the eradication of social ills of drug addiction and female foeticide, by adopting multi-prolonged strategies. We have to work with commitment, dedication and make the programmes aiming to tackle these societal problems, a mass movement.

Presiding over the State Level Managing Body and Executive Committee Meeting of the Punjab Red Cross, here at Punjab Raj Bhavan, today, General Rodrigues said that the problem of drug addiction has got alarming proportions in urban and rural areas of the State and needs a crusade against it through the tools of education, therapeutic treatment of the affected people, practical approach for their rehabilitation and making them useful and productive members of our society. He said that Red Cross Volunteers can play a significant role by responding to the needs of the people through their sincere and committed endeavours following fundamental doctrine of selfless service. There is also a need for activating and reformation of drug de-addiction centers running in the State by the Red Cross and other NGOs by making the service-oriented programmes more responsive scientific and result-oriented.

Mrs. Jean Rodrigues, President of the Punjab State Red Cross Hospital Welfare Section, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab participated in the discussion in this State Level meeting attended by concerned Administrative Secretaries of the Punjab Government including Mr. A.R. Talwar, Principal Secretary Health & Family Welfare and Mr. M.P. Singh, Secretary to Governor, Deputy Commissioners of the Districts, distinguished philanthropists and leading social workers from all over the state.

General Rodrigues further said that the future pattern of our Nation and the State will be determined by the way in which we develop progammes for improving the quality of life of our people and moral standards of our children. Emphasising the need of restructuring the budget and judicious utilization of Red Cross Funds on the schemes covered in the Red Cross objectives, General Rodrigues asked the District Red Cross Branches to regularly deposit the agreed share of funds with the State Red Cross Branch and the Central Body to meet the growing financial needs. He said that dues of the previous years must also be cleared without any delay, to regularize the accounts.

While discussing the issue of ensuring pro-active role of NGOs in the Red Cross Movement, General Rodrigues pointed out that the genuineness, credibility and performance of NGOs must be evaluated to enroll them as partners of Red Cross Movement. It was, therefore, resolved to constitute a Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Rajan Kashyap, former Chief Secretary Government of Punjab to prepare a draft policy to induct more NGOs in the fold of Red Cross Movement. The Principal Secretary Health & Family Welfare and some Deputy Commissioners has been associated with this committee. The Committee have been asked to submit the report in a time bound programme.

The meeting also discussed various issues including improvement in financial resources of the Red Cross and also rationalizing the functioning of Red Cross medicine stores, canteens, bhojan bhandars and other public utility services. The issue of VAT exemption for purchases made by the Red Cross Society also figured in the meeting and it was decided to approach the Punjab Government for favourably considering this issue of great public interest and to make necessary exemptions from payment of VAT on purchases made by the Red Cross from time to time.

General Rodrigues also presented momentos to eminent philanthropists and heads of various NGOs for their contribtion towards the Red Cross Movement

Surg. Cmde, V.K. Puri, Retd. Secretary Red Cross, while giving an account of the activities and achievements of the Punjab State Red Cross said that the organization had made all efforts for giving relief to the needy people with special focus on giving safe blood to the patients, an awareness campaign against drug abuse & narcotics, medical check up of students, youth training camps and financial assistance and medicines to the needy patients.


CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 12: Senior BJP leader and Medical Education Minister of Punjab, Mr. Tikshan Sud while welcoming the Union Government's intention of enacting harsher anti-terror law said that UPA Government belated realization of having harsher anti-terror law has cost India very dearly.

In a statement issued here today Mr. Sud said that the decision of Manmohan Singh Government to revoke POTA to appease a section of society for vote politics has already inflicted a great damage on Indian society. He said that BJP had a very consistent stand that terror cannot be fought by keeping vote politics in mind but every party and every section of society has to come on one platform to give a befitting reply to the terrorists. He said that our leader Mr. Lal Krishan Advani, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr. Raj Nath Singh had already offered total support to the Union Government on the issue of terror.

The BJP leader said that time has come that Congress Party should rise above petty party politics especially when there was threat to unity sovereignty and integrity of the Country. They should apologies to the public for revoking POTA that has resulted loss of thousands of innocent lives besides damaging the economic and social structure of the Country.






Daily Punjab press release