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

November, 2008



Chandigarh November 2, 2008

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today extended his warm greetings to the people from Bihar in particular and other parts of the country in general settled in Punjab on the auspicious occasion on the Chhath Puja.

In a message the Chief Minister said that India was a country bestowed with a unique feature of 'unity in diversity' where people of different faiths, religions and casts celebrate their festivals in unison and perfect harmony. He hoped that the sacred occasion of Chhath Puja would offer an opportunity to further strengthen the bonds of Integrity, Compassion, Goodwill and Brotherhood to demonstrate the true spirit of secularism . He appealed the people to celebrate this auspicious occasion rising above the parochial consideration of cast, color and creed.


3 Permanent Lok Adalats also to be inaugurated on 8th November

Chandigarh, November 4, 2008

In an effort to institutionalize Alternative Dispute Resolution and explore possibilities of settlements of disputes by parties themselves, the Punjab & Haryana High Court is poised to launch Mediation and Conciliation Centres, aptly called "Sampoorna Samadhan Kendras" in 17 District Courts in the States of Punjab and Haryana from 8th November 2008. Simultaneously, 3 Permanent Lok Adalats are also slated to function from that day in the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

Giving details, a spokesperson for the Punjab Legal Services Authority stated that Mediation and Conciliation along with Arbitration and Lok Adalats have emerged as important alternate means of conflict resolution in the recent past. Mediation is a process in which an impartial or neutral third party assists disputants in finding a mutually acceptable solution. Besides being participatory, it is both voluntary and confidential. It revolves around the willingness of the parties to resolve their disputes and the skills of the mediator to guide parties towards and acceptable settlement.

Elaborating further, he stated that Mediation differs significantly from both litigation and arbitration. In the latter cases, the decision is subject to be challenged by way of appeal or otherwise. Further unlike litigation and arbitration, the Mediator does not give his or her own judgment about the dispute. In Mediation, parties are encouraged to end their disputes on a voluntary basis. While Mediation should ideally precede litigation, parties are at liberty to opt for it at any stage of litigation. The services of Mediation can be used by parties directly or through a reference by the Court. If mediation fails, the rights of the litigants before the Court remain intact and they can avail of the remedies available to them under the law.

The spokesperson informed that Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 makes it obligatory for the Court to give a fair chance to a conciliated or negotiated settlement before adjudication is embarked upon. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 also makes provision for enabling settlements. At the highest level, the Indian Judiciary has decided that mediation will be increasingly used in the legal system. Punjab and Haryana High Court has initiated Mediation by passing an order in a pending litigation with the consent of the parties to try mediation in cases it considers fit and appropriate. Where the mediation is directed by the Court, the Mediators are appointed by the Nodal Officer under the directions of the Mediation and Conciliation Committee of the High Court from the pane of trained and experienced Mediators, who are members of the High Court Bar Association.

The Delhi High Court had embarked on the project on a pilot basis. Taking a lead from the success of the Mediation centres there, the Punjab & Haryana High Court started a Mediation Centre in the High Court as well as in the District Courts at Chandigarh wherein senior counsels have been devoting their time and energy as impartial Mediators. Buoyed by its success, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has now embarked upon setting up similar Centres at the district level in the District and Sessions Courts premises. 9 Mediation and Conciliation Centres in Haryana and 8 in Punjab would become functional on 8th November 2008 after their inauguration by Hon'ble Mr. Justice SB Sinha, Judge Supreme Court of India in the presence of Hon'ble Mr. Justice T S Thakur, Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court through a process of video conferencing. The districts being covered in the present phase are Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, Sangrur, Faridkot at Moga, Hoshiarpur and Ferozepur in Punjab and Rohtak, Gurgaon, Hisar, Faridabad, Sonepat, Rewari, Karnal, Kurukshtera and Jind in Haryana.

Two Judicial Officers from each of these districts have been imparted exhaustive training separately to act as Mediators. Till date, 21 Advocates and 38 Judicial Officers have been trained in the process of Mediation and another batch is scheduled to be trained from 8th November 2008, for which the inauguration would be done by Hon'ble Mr. Justice SB Sinha of Supreme Court of India.

Hon'ble Mr. Justice Mahesh Grover of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chairman of the High Court Mediation & Conciliation Committee, stated that it is probably for the first time in the country's legal history that 17 Mediation and Conciliation Centres spread over two States would become functional simultaneously in different districts. The Committee has set for itself the target to not only cover the remaining districts in the two States but to also set up similar Centres at the Sub-Divisional level, said Justice Grover.

Chairman of the Legal Services Committee of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Hon'ble Mr. Justice KS Grewal stated that the 3 Lok Adalats to be inaugurated by Hon'ble Mr. Justice SB Sinha of Supreme Court on 8th November would each be headed by a retired Judge of the High Court. Retired Justices AL Bahri, SK Jain and Mrs. Bakshish Kaur have been designated for the purpose. Initially, these Lok Adalats would be taking up cases related to Motor Accident claims which have been referred by competent Courts. However, over a period of time other matters would also be taken up for settlement by these Lok Adalats, he added.



Despite the global economic meltdown, US based MERIAL the only global pharmaceutical company exclusively devoted to animal health today firmed up $100 million dollars (Rs.500 crore) Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Punjab by setting up a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine manufacturing project at Lalru in district SAS Nagar (Mohali).

An assurance to this effect was given by President MERIAL Dr. Jean-Loius Crosia during a meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal here at his official residence this morning.

Dr. Crosia informed the Chief Minister that MERIAL was a world leading, innovation-driven animal health company providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. He pointed out MERIAL employed approximately 5000 people and had world wide operations in more than 150 countries. MERIAL is the joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. (USA) and Sanofi-Aventis (France).

Dr. Crosia further said that the MERIAL scouted for investment destination in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, after getting favourable response from Punjab Government and on-spot delivery of services had firmed up investment in the state. This would be the fourth FMD Vaccine manufacturing plant in the country and three other such plants were located in South and West. It was also informed in the meeting that first phase of the project would be completed by 2010 and the second & third phases would be functional by 2011 & 2013 respectively.

Dr. Crosia revealed that MERIAL India Pvt. Ltd. with an investment of Rs.250 crore would also set up a R&D centre to explore India's domestic requirements of F&D vaccine, besides a full-fledged production plant being established in Punjab. He further informed that the company had already purchased 20 acres of land in Lalru.

Dr. Crosia said, "This new Biotechnology facility with world-class process and standards for production and R&D of FMD vaccines in Punjab will be comparable to our facilities in UK, Brazil and France."

The Chief Minister thanked Dr. Crosia for reposing confidence in Punjab keeping in view congenial investment climate which it offered to the prospective investors added that the FDI worth Rs.500 crore would act as a catalyst to attract much more such investments in the state, besides giving impetus to the local employment potential both direct as well as indirect. Mr. Badal said that the upcoming FMD vaccine project would certainly give a boost to the dairy industry in the state as Punjab had the highest per capita availability of milk per day i.e. 901 grams which was 3.88 times higher than National average.

Mr. Badal further said that it was the high time to adopt allied farming in the fields of dairy, fishery, bee-keeping, piggery etc. to supplement the farmers' income as the traditional agriculture had already reached a point of saturation due to low returns as compared to higher input costs. The Chief Minister assured Dr. Crosia that Punjab government would provide all possible infrastructure back-up support and also depute a nodal officer to oversee the progress of the project on day to day basis and to offer one stop services.

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included Local Government & Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia, Chief Secretary RI Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister DS Guru, Principal Secretary Animal Husbandry SC Aggarwal, Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce SS Channy, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister AK Mahajan, chairman, Punjab pollution Control Board Yogesh Goel, Director-cum-Secretary VN Janjua besides the representatives from MERIAL India Pvt. Ltd. comprising Finance Director Ms. Samia Jaber, Country Head Mayank Parekh, Anil Nagpal and SD Rampal.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today released a special issue of Punjabi monthly magazine 'Mehram' dedicated to the Tercentenary Celebrations of Gurta Gaddi Divas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib here this morning.

Giving the details of the special issue, Mr. SS Bir, Editor-in-Chief of the Mehram group of publications said that it contained 300 coloured pages with relevant photographs and articles contributed by eminent Sikh Scholars on the different aspects highlighting the basic philosophy and ideology of Sri Guru Granth sahib in context to human and social evolution. Likewise, a 124 pages special supplement in English was also released on the occasion by the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister appreciated the initiative of Mr. Bir for bringing out the these special issues focused on the Tercentenary Celebrations of Gurta Gaddi Divas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and hoped that it would act as a beacon for the millions of readers to acquaint themselves with the universal message of holy Granth Sahib as an 'Eternal Guru'. Mr. Bir was accompanied by his son Mr. Gurpreet Singh Bir and noted Punjabi writer Mr. Darbara Singh Khalon.

Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included Media Advisor to the Chief Minister Mr. Harcharn Bains, Chief Secretary RI Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister DS Guru.



Virtually giving effect to the recommendations of the Public Relations Minister, Mr.Bikram Singh Majithia, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today ordered the setting up of State and District Level Joint Committees of Government and Media representatives to look into complaints by and against the media persons in the State. These committees would also advise the Government on the guidelines to be observed for greater media -Government interaction and understanding. These committees would also keep the Minister for Information and Public Relations apprised of their suggestions and recommendations from time to time.

Stating this Chief Minister's Media Advisor Mr. Harcharan Bains said here today that similar committees would be set up at every district headquarter also. While Mr. Bains would be the Chairperson of the State level committee, the Deputy Commissioners of respective districts would head these panels in their areas.

Mr. Bains said that the State level committee would also have Principal Secretary Department of Home Affairs and Justice, President or Secretary General of the Chandigarh Press Club, a representative of the organization of the affected journalist or of the person aggrieved against a particular Media person/persons and Legal experts as members.

Similarly, said Mr.Bains the District level committees would have, in addition to the Deputy Commissioner, District Information Public Relations Officer, an accredited journalist (to be nominated by the media), a representative of the organization of the affected journalist or his perceived victim/victims , and a nominee of the Chief Minister as member.

Mr. Bains said that these committees have been set up in pursuance of the commitments made in the SAD-BJP manifesto and are based on the recommendations made by Mr. Majithia to the Chief Minister. He said that Mr. Majithia also got these recommendations incorporated in the Punjab Govt.'s media policy.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Punjab and Chandigarh journalists met Mr. Parkash Singh Badal at his residence this morning. The delegation asked the Chief Minister, among other things, to set up the joint Media-Government advisory panels. The delegations lead by Mr. Sarbjit Singh Pandher, President, Chandigarh Press Club, also sought an impartial enquiry into the alleged harassment of a journalist in Jalandhar. Mr. Badal directed his Media Advisor to personally ensure complete transparency and the observations of the rule of law in the Jalandhar incident


Chandigarh, November 4: Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Information & Public Relations Minister today made an impassioned appeal to all political parties to sink their mutual differences and work together to keep Holy City Amritsar on International tourist circuit by saving Raja Sansi International Airport from going into oblivion.

In an emotional appeal, Mr. Majithia said that time has come that all parties should rise above their party lines and petty politics to save the hard won international status of Raja Sansi Airport. He said that it was imperative for all of us to ensure that trade and economy of Punjab was not hit due to sudden stoppage of international flights to Raja Sansi Airport. It was the duty of every political party to join hands for this crucial issue to convince Union Government to ensure that it should issue notifications to make flights from Amritsar viable for airlines. He said that retention of international flights was necessary to decongest Delhi Airport as 29% traffic in Delhi Airport was from Punjab.

The Minister said that Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar was the temporal seats of Sikhs living all over the world and starting of international flights in Raja Sansi Airport had facilitated their Annual pilgrimage. The sudden stoppage of flights would now cause lot of inconvenience to lacs of pilgrims to Sri Darbar Sahib and Mata Vaishno Devi.

Mr. Majithia said that starting of international flights from Amritsar and opening up of Attari Border for trade route had sent a positive signal to the investment community, international hotel chains, NRI pilgrims and Amritsar had emerged as a favourite tourist, trade and investment destination and this sudden stoppage of international flights would have a negative impact on growing economy of Amritsar and Punjab.

The Minister stated that Amritsar which had been a great economic centre in British times, had suffered on account of partition, repeated wars with Pakistan and also during the decade long militancy in Punjab. It was, therefore, important to keep the landing charges at Amritsar Airport much lower than Delhi Airport to support economy of Border region besides decongesting Delhi Airport. He said that it was imperative for the parties to support trade and industry in Punjab, the sword arm of nation especially at a time when whole world economy was going into deep depression.

The Minister said that Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India had taken personal interest in the development of Amritsar as a trading hub of South-East Asia and he should now instruct the Civil Aviation Ministry and Commerce Ministry to issue relevant notifications to reduce landing charges in Amritsar and to clear duty drawback claims within 7 days.

Calling upon all political parties to launch a concerted and collective campaign to maintain international character of Raja Sansi Airport, Mr. Majithia said that every political party has a stake in the development of Amritsar and it was crucial for all of us to clear any road block coming in the way of development of Holy City Amritsar.



Chandigarh November 2, 2008

State Vigilance Bureau, in a drive against corruption in public life, arrested 3 Gazzetted Officers (GOs) and 13 Non-Gazzetted Officers (NGOs) in 16 different cases in last month and was able to secure the conviction of seven accused in six different vigilance cases.

Disclosing this here today Mr. Harcharn Singh Bhullar, SSP-cum-Joint Director (Admn.) Vigilance Bureau Punjab, said that Bureau has put up its best efforts to eradicate corruption amongst public servants and others in every sphere in the State. In this direction, the Vigilance officers have registered trap cases, disproportionate assets cases and criminal cases and ensured that suspect did not escape judicial punishment in the various courts in the State.

Mr.Bhullar added that during the last month of October the Vigilance had nabbed four revenue officials and two police officials red handed accepting bribes in different cases. During this period VB had registered two vigilance enquiries and four criminal cases against the suspect officials to probe into the allegations during the month of October 2008.

Giving details he added that the special courts have sentenced four NGOs and 2 private persons in six different vigilance cases after finding them guilty for one year to two years.



Daily Punjab press release