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July, 2008





The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal said here today that strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) was necessary to save the grass-root democracy from the challenges it faces from dictatorial tendencies.

Addressing a massive gathering of the newly elected members of panchayats from Ludhiana district who had assembled here to participate in the oath taking ceremony, Mr. Badal said that the Punjab Government would treat "Panches" and "Sarpanches" as 'local' ministers and would empower them in order to make them active and effective partners in development process. "The development process needs to be progressively decentralized, both from the Centre to the State governments and from there on to the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Civic Bodies', said the Chief Minister.

Mr. Badal also called for drastic recasting of planning process in the country. " The top-down approach to planning has already led to not only to the slowing down of development but also to growth priorities being misplaced. Planning must be in consonance with grass-root realities. But unfortunately most of the time, the country has suffered because of an ivory-tower approach to this issue, with planners deciding the destiny of villages and city wards from air-conditioned rooms", said Mr. Badal.

The Chief Minister said that he was proud of the democratic legacy of the country. "Dictatorship or rajwarashahi is absolutely meaningless in the present scenario of democracy and these systems were completely irrelevant and unsuited to the basic needs of the people in general and overall development & growth of a country like India in particular which has a cosmopolitan character of unity in diversity", said Mr.Badal.

Congratulating the newly elected panches on the occasion, Mr. Badal said that people of the state had reposed full faith in the policies and programmes of the SAD-BJP government and now it was obligatory on their part to serve the 70% of state's population residing in the villages with a missionary zeal and commitment. He asked these elected members of the panchayats to oversee the different on going development activities in their respective villages to ensure its quality and completion within a time bound frame. He impressed upon them to be vigilant while undertaking supervision of government construction works and should not adopt a casual attitude towards such works rather be involve themselves personally with a sense of firm commitment and dedication. He assured the panches that the SAD-BJP government was committed to empower the PRIs and there would be no paucity of funds for these development projects.

Cutting across the party affiliations, the Chief Minister appealed the panches to shun the practice of petty politics and come forward to serve the people with utmost dedication and sincerity. He said; "Panches are required to play a much bigger role in ascertaining the rightful beneficiaries with in their domain, who were being denied the benefits of different welfare schemes such as Atta-Dal, shagun and old age pension to win over their confidence in the PRIs". He dared them to be strict and fair enough to eliminate the names of such bogus beneficiaries who were encroaching upon the rights of the deserving ones. He also pointed out that panches should also play a constructive role in inculcating civic sense amongst the villagers to ensure clean and pollution free environment. He also asked the MPs, MLAs and members of the PRIs to motivate the villagers to contribute their share towards the execution of drinking water and sewerage schemes under World Bank Project. He said that it was all the more important for our people especially living in rural areas to have access to the basic civic amenities in order to stay healthy forever.

Later, Mr. Badal administered the oath of office to as many as 6000 newly elected panches from 892 panchayats of Ludhiana district on the occasion.

Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included Member Parliament Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Senior Akali Leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, Mr.Darshan Singh Shivalik, Mr.Harish Bedi and Mr.Jagjivan Singh Khirania (all MLAs), Ex-MLA Bhag Singh Malha, District President SAD Santa Singh Umaidpuri and District President BJP OP Bhardwaj. Media Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Harcharan Bains, Director Rural Development and Panchayats S. Gurdev Singh Sidhu, Mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura and Vice President Punjab Industry Board Satish Kumar Dhanda besides the senior leaders and party workers of SAD, BJP and members of SGPC also attended the function.


CHANDIGARH July 11, 2008

Fakir Syed Saifuddin, Director, Fakir Khana Museum (Lahore) Pakistan & descendent of famous Fakir brothers of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's kingdom today called on Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal at his esidence and apprised him of the belongings of Sher–e– Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh in their Museum. The rare collection of miniature paintings, ivory paintings, photos, documents relating to 'Tabarkat' (holy relics) and many other articles of last 187 years reflecting history of the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in connection with the Fakir Family informed Mr. Saifuddin.

Mr. Badal appreciated the role of Mr. Saifuddin and his family in establishing this biggest private museum in Pakistan showcasing almost two Centuries' history of an eventful life of some of the greatest personalities of the region and period. He also assured him to provide full support and cooperation by the state government to initiate some project related to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the state. On this occasion Mr. Badal also honored Mr. Saifuddin with a sword and a shawl.

Mr. Saifuddin was accompanied by Dr. Shivender Singh Sandhu and Ms. Manveen Sandhu. Besides, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. D.S. Guru and Special Principal Secretary Mr. K.J.S Cheema were also present on the occasion.


Chandigarh, 11 July, 2008

Some buildings at Amritsar, Jalandhar & Phagwara were checked for alleged violations in construction works and non-compoundable violations were detected.

Disclosing this here today Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Local Government Minister Punjab said that building at Plot No. 417, Albort Road, Amritsar and commercial building of Deep Financiers near BSF Chowk Jalandhar were found not constructed under building laws during checking. The Commissioners of Amritsar, Jalandhar Corporation have been directed to take action against the owners of these buildings.

He said that at Phagwara to residential plot were found to be merged in a development scheme and commercial building Vij Palace/London Stores has been constructed without any parking provision. Orders have been passed to IT Phagwara to initiate the process of resuming the plots as per law.

Mr. Kalia said that two Municipal Town Planners, 2 Assistant Town Planners, 5 Building Inspectors have been chargesheeted in case of violations observed at Amritsar and Jalandhar. 3 Executive Officers, 4 Assistant Trust Engineers, 4 Junior Engineers and a Draftsman have been charge sheeted for not taking timely action against the violations in Phagwara.


Chandigarh July 11, 2008

The Punjab Government has requested the Union Government to make amendments in Minimum Wages Act-1948, to provide uniform wages for different scheduled employments, different class of workers in the same scheduled employment, adults, adolescents, women, children and apprentices in different localities.

Mr. Tikshan Sud, Labour Minister Punjab raised this issue in the meeting of State Labour Ministers of Delhi, Uttar Pardesh, Haryana and Punjab with the members of Consultative Committee attached to the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, held under the chairmanship of Mr. Oscar Fernandes, Union Minister of Labour.

Mr. Sud pointed out that Punjab was already not making any discrimination by fixing/revising Minimum Wages because labour needs of every human being were the same. Mr. Sud also advocated that revision of Minimum Wages should be done after every two years instead of present five years and revision should be made mandatory. The Punjab Labour Minister also sought an amendment in Minimum Wages Act 1948 to confer powers to departmental officers to recover fine as arrears of land revenue. He pointed out that Punjab was in process of revising Minimum Wages and two meetings have already been held on this issue.

Stressing upon the need of accelerating the pace of labour reforms in view of fast changing economy of the country Mr. Sud said that Punjab has already implanted Rashtriya Savasthia Bima Yojna in six districts including Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur with effect from 1st April, 2008 through the Punjab Health Systems Corporation. Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana would also be adopted for this scheme soon. Under the scheme B.P.L family has to pay only Rs. 30/- for getting health insurance.

Impressing upon the need of effective implementation of labour laws, Mr. Sud informed that the official of the labour department have conducted 15315 inspections under the minimum wages Act -1948 during the last year and 8055 inspections during the three months of current year. 455 prosecutions are pending under this Act. Similarly 126 claims under this Act were settled during the last year. 12579 inspections were conducted under the Payment of Wages Act during the last year and 413 claims were disposed under the same Act during the last year. As far as implementation of Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 is concerned, 528 principal employers stand registered till April, 1499 inspections were conducted by the officials of Labour Department during the last year and 18 prosecutions are pending against principal employers/contractors.

Mr. Sud emphasized that State Government has included 67 employments in the schedule of Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and every effort is being made to add workers working in un-organized sector under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. He informed the committee that powers to refer cases under 2-A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 have been delegated by the Government to the Assistant Labour Commissioners/Labour-cum-Conciliation officers so as to avoid delay which occur at the state headquarters.

Mr. Oscar Fernandes, Union Minister of Labour appreciated the work done by Punjab Labour Department. The members of consultative committee including some MPs showed concerned towards plight of migrant labour and growth of unregulated labour colonies in Punjab. Mr. Sud assured the members that necessary action would be initiated very soon.



Chandigarh, July 11: Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Science, Technology, Environment & NCES Minister today asked PEDA to take steps to expedite various renewable energy projects in Punjab to meet its commitments to achieve 10% renewable energy share of the total installed capacity in the State.

Reviewing the progress of renewable energy projects being set up / facilitated by PEDA in the biomass, hydro, cogeneration and solar sector, Mr. Majithia said that in present time of power shortage being faced by the State, it becomes imperative for PEDA to expedite its project to contribute maximum power in the power kitty.

The Chief Executive, PEDA, Sh.T.P.S.Sidhu, and other senior officers of the PEDA gave a detailed presentation about the present status and tentative completion dates for various renewable energy projects. The Minister was informed that 60MW co-generation projects in addition to 104 MW already commissioned in the month of March, 2008, would start generating power by March 2009.

The Minister also reviewed the progress of biomass power projects, cogeneration and hydel projects taht have been allotted to various developers. He directed PEDA officials to extend all assistance to private developers for completing these projects in time bound manner. PEDA Chief Executive informed that five projects of capacity 3.9MW on Sidhwan branch canal are at advance stage of completion and will be commissioned by March 2009. He said that the work will commence at mini hydel project Khanpur, Sadhar, Akhara, Channowal and Gholian on Abohar branch canal during this month and these projects of total 5.5 MW capacity will be completed by Dec.2009. The PEDA officials assured the minister that it will provide required assistance, clearances to the developers in a time bound manner and will ensure the completion of the projects on time

Mr. Majithia was also given a presentation by M/s Banayan Environment Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad, along with PSEB officials for providing CFL in the domestic sector through Clean Development Mechanism. The Minister asked the PSEB officials to move fast on energy conservation programme and work out the modalities so that energy efficiency in the lighting sector could be achieved by providing CFL.

Mr. A.S. Chhatwal, Secretary Science & Technology was also present in the meeting.

PUTIA condoles demise of Smt. Rattan Kaur

Chandigarh, July 11, 2008

Smt. Rattan Kaur, mother of Rayat & Bahra Group Vice Chairman Sh. Gurvinder Singh Bahra passed away last week after a prolonged illness. She was 70. She was undergoing treatment for brain hemorrhage for the past one year. She has left behind three daughters and two sons including Sh. Gurvinder Singh Bahra. She was cremated in her native village Parkhowal in the presence of hundreds of friends and relatives. Renowned people of the area also paid tributes to the departed soul.

Punjab Unaided Technical Institutions Association (PUTIA) conducted a condolence meeting today to pay homage to the departed soul. Mr. Anshu Kataria, spokesman, PUTIA said that a two minute silence was observed in the meeting as a mark of respect. It is to be mentioned here that Smt. Rattan Kaur was a great social worker. She was a very pious and religious lady and was the motivational force behind success of the Rayat & Bahra Group.



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