P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Army reveals startling facts on Bluestar
Says Longowal surrendered

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
The Army has come on record for the first time, giving startling facts on the infamous Operation Bluestar in June 1984, including the break-up of the casualties of officers, civilians and militants, apart from the persons who had surrendered.

In his affidavit, D.V. Rao (68), a retired Brigadier, filed in the court of Harjit Singh Khalsa, civil judge (junior div)-cum-judicial magistrate first class, revealed that the then SAD president Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and his colleagues had surrendered before the Army.

It reads, "The unit commander received information from the two civilians that H.S. Longowal with his colleagues were in the SGPC building and were willing to surrender."

On this, Brigadier Rao deputed senior officers to make arrangements to take them safely and lodge them in the Circuit House.

Brigadier Rao submitted evidence by way of an affidavit in the court of civil judge senior division in connection with the suit filed by some Jodhpur detainees against the Union of India and others for recovery.

Brigadier Rao, who is currently working in the Training Institute of Hyderabad, stated that in June 1984 he was posted as Commander, 350 Infantry Brigade in Jalandhar which was part of the Ninth Infantry Division.

He was called by the civil administration to assist the civil authorities in clearing the Golden Temple complex from terrorists and to recover all illegal arms ammunitions, explosives etc from the complex.

He stated that all major buildings in the Golden Temple were heavily fortified when he reached Amritsar on May 30, 1984.

The Army under the command of Brigadier Rao was ordered to undertake Operation Bluestar by the GOC Ninth Infantry division on the directions of the Punjab Government.

Brigadier Rao, in his affidavit, stated that special instructions were given to the troops that no weapons should be fired at Shri Harmandar Sahib and heavy machine guns were not to be taken.

The troops would not wear boots but caps and other uniform. The instructions were clear that troops would respect Shri Harmandar Sahib with proper regards like they do in their temples. They would fire in self-defence only.

However, as the troops advanced, terrorists opened fire from all places, leading to heavy casualties of forces.

The Army suffered 83 deaths which included four officers, four JCOs and 75 other ranks while 13 officers, 16 JCOs and 220 other ranks sustained injuries. The casualties to the civilians inside Golden Temple were 492 dead. The Army had apprehended 433 persons who were segregated as terrorists from total of 1592 persons apprehended.

S.S. Sood, lawyer for the Jodhpur detainees, said he would 'smash' the affidavit during the next hearing on April 17 at the time of cross-examination.

He said Brigadier Rao, who could not appear today, was likely arrive here on the date fixed by the court.


Mann’s beamers at Amarinder
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
As promised, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh issued an open letter to his successor Parkash Singh Badal asking him to issue instructions to stop harassing his colleagues and officers.

But before Badal could react to his letter, Amarinder Singh’s brother-in-law and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann pitched a beamer at him saying “his sudden flight to London has nothing to do with his health or the condition of his heart.

“Literally his heart is sound and there is sufficient medical treatment available in India for any such failings, but metaphorically his heart has been stolen by the lady from Pakistan who has taken him to London,” said Mann alleging that “he has shown cowardice and lack of leadership. He has not only exposed his workers to the expected tyranny of the Badal regime, but caused extreme embarrassment to his family to face the music for his corrupt trespasses and moral lapses.”

The letter of Capt Amarinder Singh, copies of which were made available to the media in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here this afternoon, said he had “already made a statement that actions taken by anyone in his government, be they ministers, functionaries, officers of the administration or the police, were taken when I was the Chief Minister and I own full responsibility for them.

“All decisions were taken by the Cabinet, which I chaired, and those decisions that did not require Cabinet approval, were approved by me as Chief Minister. Harassing my former colleagues or officers when I have taken the responsibility is uncalled for and I hope you will give instructions to stop such actions.

“My decisions have been in the interest of my state and I am answerable to the people of the state, which I shall gladly do. We have a Constitution in our country, which has always guided us along the path we take and a judiciary which we have absolute faith in, which were responsive to the happenings throughout my five years and took suo moto corrective action wherever necessary. I do not think there has been a government ever in the state, other than that of Partap Singh Kairon, that can claim more progress and development in all fields, as has been carried out by the Congress government, which I have had the privilege to lead for five years,” the letter said.

He again reiterated that whenever asked he would be available to Badal at any time or place of his choosing.

Mann, on the other hand, held that “it's a great lapse of the Indian state to let him escape under these circumstances. In 2005, at Badal's behest, he had five sedition cases registered against me, besides having my passport impounded. If Badal wielded such influence when in the Opposition, he could certainly have had his passport impounded, now that he's in power. The fact is that both he and Badal have worked in tandem and made fools of the public.”


Punjab, Pak cotton traders sign pact
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 19
In a significant development which could make the governments of India and Pakistan to open up the Wagah and Hussainiwala borders for the smooth flow of trade. The Punjab Cotton Factory and Ginners Association and the Indo-Pak Cotton Ginners Association signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) late last evening to start cotton trade between the two countries.

The memorandum was signed by Sahid Farooqi Puri, chairman, Indo-Pak Cotton Ginners Association and the Jhang Chamber of Commerce and Bhagwan Bansal, president, Punjab Cotton Factory and Ginners Association for starting cotton trade and pressurising their respective governments for opening the Wagah and Hussainiwala borders to facilitate cotton trade through land route.

Bansal said the MoU also contained that cotton traders of both countries would also provide latest machinery to each other which was used in the ginning and pressing industry. He added that Pakistani traders had demanded that they should be supplied the Bt cottonseed by the Indian cotton traders so that they could enhance the production.

Puri, who headed the Pak delegation , said both countries should also liberalise the visa regime so that cotton traders could visit both the countries at ease and could fetch their requirements at cheaper rates and both countries should facilitate joint research to improve the quality and quantity of cotton.

Addressing the members, Puri said time had come when business should not be stopped by physical boundaries.

He said media could also play a significant role in making the governments of the two countries understand that 'economic' should not be disturbed due to borders.

Bansal said they would meet the authorities concerned in Delhi shortly to urge them to facilitate free cotton trade between Pakistan and India.


Rajasansi airport to be expanded
Civil Aviation team to inspect it next month
Vibhor Mohan, Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, March 19
The Punjab government will get the Rajasansi airport, Amritsar, inspected by officials of the Civil Aviation Department next month for facilities provided to passengers at the international airport and a plan will be prepared for its expansion.

This would be to strengthen infrastructure at the three airports in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar to provide more air connectivity to people of the state.

Mr Navjot Sidhu, MP, who was here to preside over a function related to the inaugural flight of Indus Airways from Amritsar to Mumbai via Delhi started this. Mr Sidhu said he would also take up the matter of shifting of the Air Force station in the airport with the Ministry of Defence so that land was made available for expansion of the airport. He added expansion plan of the airport would be finalised only after the report of the inspection of the airport was submitted. This would be the first-ever official inspection of the airport by the government.

He said Rajasansi Airport was set up during the SAD regime and now the party was back in power, it would review and strengthen facilities at the only international airport in the state.

At a press conference, Mr Sidhu said 30 per cent to 40 per cent of total passengers coming to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi were Punjabis and they could be given direct flights to Amritsar.

“This airport has become redundant due to lack of adequate land. Besides, it does not have even a single aerobridge. A grant of Rs 68 crore has been received from the Centre and there has to be proper state-centre co-ordination to make the best of the financial aid. This airport lacks infrastructure and the Punjab government is committed to upgrade it to provide better facilities to passengers,” he said.

Mr Manpreet Badal, state’s Finance Minister, who was the chief guest for the occasion said the Punjab government was serious about Amritsar’s connectivity with other domestic and international destinations and matching the infrastructure at Rajasansi with other international airports in south Asia.

“I’m from the Malwa region of Punjab and people there have the tendency to head for Chandigarh whenever they prosper. Similarly, people from Ludhiana have a liking for Delhi but affluent in Amritsar have had an association with Mumbai. Considering this, the Indus Airways flight to Mumbai from Amritsar would serve people of the area well,” he said.

The Punjab government, he said, would soon meet officials of the Government of India for a plan to improve air connectivity, along with better road and rail networks in the state.

Mr Badal added the government would strengthen infrastructure in the state and upgradation and expansion of the three airports at Chandigarh, Amritsar and Ludhiana would be on priority.

If there was a plan to set up an international airport at Jalandhar as well, Mr Sidhu said though this proposal was yet to be considered, Aviation norms specify there would not be two international airports in a radius of 170 km.

Mr Sidhu refused to take any questions on cricket and insisted that he was here to talk only about the airport.

Indus Airways launched its daily service between Mumbai and Amritsar and direct daily service between Delhi and Amritsar. The CRJ 200 (50-seater aircraft) will operate daily flight on the Delhi-Amritsar-Mumbai-Amritsar-Delhi sector.


Governor’s Address
SAD-BJP extends hand of cooperation to Opposition
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Besides extending its hand of friendship and cooperation to the Opposition, the SAD-BJP says it is determined to consign all bitterness to the realm of the past and go ahead with its date with the promised goal of peace, prosperity and all-round development.

Setting its agenda for the next five years as reflected in the Governor’s Address in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today, the SAD-BJP alliance proposes to set up a separate department for employment generation as well as a youth development board, besides filling all vacant posts in various departments in a specified timeframe.

The Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), in his 36-minute Address, not only dwelt on better cooperation and cordiality between the treasury benches and the Opposition, but also talked about various ambitious projects the new government has decided to unveil.

To provide quality education, it plans to set up adarsh schools, one in each block, where wards of poor farmers and Dalits will receive free education. The entire education system will be revamped.

Realising that industrial growth was stagnant, it now proposes to establish three boards, one each for large and medium industry, small-scale industry and the trade. Each of these boards will have representatives from the industry or trade concerned and will give a practical shape to “make and implement your own policy”.

It hopes to commission the much-publicised Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Bathinda within the next four years. An investor friendly industrial policy will also be formulated.

On the power front, it says, its’ endeavour will be to add 5,000 MW of generating capacity in the next five years. Besides free power to agricultural consumers for the pump sets, it also proposes to provide 24-hour uninterrupted power supply to the industry in three years or less. It also promises a scheme for 24-hour power supply to farm houses in small clusters known as ‘dhaanis’ and ‘deras’. It proposes to release tube well connections to small and marginal farmers, especially those holding up to 5 acres or those in water-logged areas.

To mitigate the trade and industry, the new government plans to simplify VAT. It will also encourage public-private partnership model of growth.

A new housing policy will be formulated.

Setting up a knowledge city, in collaboration with the Union Government, is also on the priority list. The new city will comprise an Indian institute of science education and research, a national institute of agri-food biotechnology with a biotechnology park and a premier management institute.

Work on the 62-km Ludhiana Ring Road, 13-km Mohali Expressway and bypasses for other towns will also be taken up.


Bhattal objects to skipping of Vande Matram
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The main Opposition led by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today strongly objected to the skipping of the playing of the national song, “Vande Matram,” in the Punjab Assembly. As per today's business in the House distributed to Members and mediapersons, immediately after the arrival of the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), the national song was to be played and all members were requested to stand up.

As the Governor arrived, he, accompanied by speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, headed towards the speaker's podium. And soon after, the Governor got up and started reading his Address. As Bhattal noticed the lapse, she got up to raise the point. However, the Governor continued to read the Address. Little later, Brahm Mohindra, Congress MLA from Patiala, got up and urged for the playing of the song. He even exhorted the BJP ministers and MLAs on the treasury benches to speak to get the song played. As both Bhattal and Mohindra continued to raise the point while the Governor was reading the Address, secretary of the Vidhan Sabha Nachhattar Singh Mavi came to Bhattal's seat and tried to explain the matter to her.

However, Bhattal did not agree with what Mavi said. Mohindra told The Tribune that Mavi was saying that he would issue the necessary corrigendum in this regard.

"What was the need of issuing the corrigendum after the sitting of the House is over?" asked Mohindra. However, at the end of the Governor's Address, the national anthem was played.

Was the skipping of the playing of the national song deliberate to avoid any political controversy on this issue in the state? Mavi said in the tentative programme prepared for today, the playing of the national song was included. However, in the final programme for the day, it was excluded, he added.

After the address, the Governor left the House accompanied by the speaker. However, members of the House, including leader of the House Parkash Singh Badal and Bhattal remained sitting. The speaker, perhaps, had not adjourned the House and that is why members kept sitting. Again Mavi had to tell the members that the proceedings of the House were over and they could leave.


Speaker cancels visit to Pak

Chandigarh, March 19
Punjab speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon has cancelled his programme to visit Pakistan, it is learnt. He was to visit Pakistan later this week to attend a conference of speakers. Deputy speaker Satpal Gosain will also not be able to attend the conference because of the ongoing session of the Punjab Assembly. — TNS


Cong men present set of excuses
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
A set of beleaguered Congressmen, all losing candidates in the last month’s Assembly elections in Punjab, besieged the party office here today with their versions, opinions and theories on “why the Congress lost the elections”.

Blaming everything from a shift in the Hindu votes to the popularity of Parkash Singh Badal’s promise of cheap atta and daal and to incorrect distribution of tickets, Congressmen submitted statements to a fact-finding committee. Most of the losing candidates stayed on till late in the evening.

Senior ministers in the previous Amarinder Singh regime and also former MLAs had a version of their own, each one of them speaking more vociferously than the other. Prominent among all reasons being cited is the shift in the urban vote towards the SAD-BJP combine. A senior leader pointed out that “all along the national highway, starting from Rajpura bordering Haryana, and right up to Amritsar residents of small towns and cities voted against the Congress.” The only exception was the Malwa region where the trader class is generally viewed as “different in thought” than their brethren elsewhere.

The leaders were nearly unanimous in blaming the “panthic agenda” as a reason for the loss. Saying the Hindus felt alienated as the Congress pursued an agenda that was seen largely “pro-Sikh”. The number of Hindu candidates in urban constituencies should have been more in number, reasoned another losing candidate. The shopkeeper, the small trader, the Dalits, the backwards, the employees, all were disgruntled, pointed out another. While the imposition of the value added tax had irked traders, the Dalits and backwards could not reap the benefits of free power as promised and the urban educated youth was disillusioned.

An outspoken young Congress leader from the Malwa region blamed the factor of “rebel candidates” saying no effort was made by the party to curb dissent as several of the rebels got a sizeable number of votes. A senior leader from the Doaba region even questioned: “Does development count? We did so much and still people voted against us.” It is only personal contact that matters, he reasoned, explaining that crores were spent on development. He added that for the first time the Doaba region had overwhelmingly voted against the Congress.


Rs 1.5 crore given to CM’s relief fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
In response to an appeal by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh, agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah and chief administrator, PUDA, Som Parkash today contributed a sum of Rs 50 lakh each towards the CM’s relief fund.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh presented the cheque on behalf of Markfed, Langah on behalf of the Punjab State Rural Development Board and Som Parkash on behalf of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA).

A spokesman of the Punjab Government said the fund would be utilised to bail out farmers whose crops had been badly damaged due to the recent hailstorm and unseasonal rains by giving them adequate compensation.


3 commandos of CM's security hurt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 19
Four members of the Punjab Chief Minister's security staff, including three commandos, were injured when their vehicle and a truck collided near Dhanaula village on the Sangrur-Barnala road last night. The names of the injured persons were Satish Kumar, T.C. Yateesh, C.B.S. Reddy (all commandos), and driver of the vehicle Narinder Singh.

The three injured persons, Satish Kumar, T.C. Yateesh and Narinder Singh, were brought to the Sangrur Civil Hospital, from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, for further treatment.


‘Puri’ shop owner in tax net

Patiala, March 19
The income tax authorities today raided the premises of Sadhu Ram, owner of a puri-kachori shop at the Arya Samaj crossing area of walled city. People relish his preparations sitting on wooden benches in his small shop. Long queues of puri-kachori seekers can be seen in front of it in the morning and evening.

Sadhu prepares the dishes himself. The authorities refused to divulge the findings of the raid. — TNS


Villagers pull down “disputed” structure
Our correspondent

Barnala, March 19
Angry residents today demolished a wall erected near gurdwara at Bhaduar village. Hundreds of angry villagers who had gathered at the gurdwara to offer prayers took back the possession of the disputed land between the gurdwara and Nanksar thath. In retaliation, members of the Nanaksar thath fired in the air.

The police is camping at the disputed site.

Jaswinder Singh, a thath spokesperson, terming the pulling down of the wall as illegal and contempt of court said they would approach the court. He said financial commissioner (revenue), commissioner Patiala division and the High court had in the past declared the case in their favour and after winning the case they had raised the wall.

The villagers said that people by blocking their entry to the gurdwara had done a big injustice to them and they had done no wrong by pulling down the wall.


Holidays on Bhagat Singh’s birth, death anniversaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The state government will organise year-long celebrations to observe the 75th martyrdom day and 100th birth anniversary of Sardar Bhagat Singh that fall this year.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced holidays on March 23 and September 27, the martyrdom day and birth anniversary, respectively, of the freedom fighter.

A spokesman of the Punjab Government said Badal decided to revive the holiday on March 23 on persistent demand of the public after a gap of five years as the previous government had withdrawn this holiday.


Saini as VB chief: High Court seeks record of transfers
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab government to produce the record of recent police transfers, which include the posting of IGP Sumedh Singh Saini as Vigilance Bureau (VB) director.

Taking up a PIL filed by four Congress MLAs - Jeet Mohinder Singh (Talwandi Sabo), Joginder Kumar Jain (Moga), Naresh Kumar Kataria (Zira) and Jasbir Singh Khangura (Qila Raipur) - the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain and Justice Rajive Bhalla gave time till March 23 to produce the record. The petitioners have prayed for directions to quash the transfer orders, maintaining that the same were in contravention of provisions of the Punjab State Vigilance Commission Act, 2006. They have also prayed that till the time the PIL is decided, the transfer orders be ordered to be kept in abeyance.

The MLAs have also prayed that directions be issued to the government not to transfer any officer to or from the VB and the Punjab Vigilance Commission as also to secure the record pertaining to investigations carried out by the VB during the previous regime.

On March 8, the SAD-BJP government had posted Saini as VB director, removing then chief director Izhar Alam, who is now DGP (Prisons).

Appearing for the petitioners, former Punjab advocate-general R.S. Cheema told the court that the transfers and postings were an attempt by the Parkash Singh Badal-led government to subvert the statutes and basic principles of natural justice.

He pointed out that Section 24 of the Punjab State Vigilance Commission Act says that the chief director would be appointed for a term not less than two years and he would not be transferred out except with the approval of a committee comprising the chief minister, the chief secretary and the chief vigilance commissioner.

All transfers - DSP-level officers and upwards - can be done only by a three-member committee headed by the CM, the VB chief director and the chief vigilance commissioner.

The present government, it was pointed out, did not follow the set procedure while transferring the chief director, who can only be an IPS officer of the rank of not less than the ADGP rank. The petitioners have also referred to the ongoing proceedings against Saini in a Delhi High Court in a case of three persons going missing after being allegedly picked up by the Punjab Police.


Chief parliamentary secys sworn in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today administered the oath of office and secrecy to Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Mohinder Kaur Josh and Jagdish Raj Sahni as chief parliamentary secretaries at a simple but impressive ceremony. Phillaur and Josh belong to the Shiromani Akali Dal while Sahni is from the BJP.

Phillaur and Josh were ministers in the previous SAD-BJP government. Josh was elected from the Sham Chuarasi seat in Hoshiarpur district, Sarwan Singh Phillaur from Phillaur in Jalandhar district and Sahni from Batala in Gurdaspur district.

Prominent among those who were present included speaker Nirmaljit Singh Kahlon, deputy speaker Satpal Gosain and ministers Manoranjan Kalia, Tikshan Sud, Upinderjit Kaur, Hira Singh Gabria, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Laxmi Kanta Chawla and Bikram Singh Majitha.


Labour unions clash, 4 hurt
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 19
At least four labourers (members of the Punjab Pardesh Paledar Union) engaged in loading and unloading of foodgrains were injured in a clash with members of the FCI Paledar Union near the local circuit house where both parties had come to fill tenders floated for loading and unloading of foodgrains by government agencies.

The police had to resort to a lathicharge to bring the situation under control. The clash between members of the two unions and the subsequent lathicharge by the police affected traffic on the busy Bathinda-Mansa road near the circuit house for some time.

The injured are Ram Singh, Karnail Singh, Gurtej Singh and Darshan Singh.

The clash took place when members of one union tried to stop the other union from taking part in the tender process. Both parties threw stones at one another. Lathis were also used by them.

Ram Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Pardesh Paledar Union, alleged that when they tried to participate in the process of filing tenders, members of the FCI Paledar Union snatched away bank demand drafts from them which they were supposed to attach with the forms. 


Ex-MC chief held for cheating
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, March 19
The police today arrested Rajinder Kumar, alias Lucky Talwar, former president of the local municipal council, on charges of cheating and forgery.

He was arrested on a complaint of Mohinder Sehgal, a Rajpura Town resident. Sehgal, who was a partner in the transport company of Talwar, alleged that the latter withdrew over Rs 13 lakh from their joint account by forging the signatures of Tejinder Pal, another partner, after his death.

A case has been registered.


Pak scribe gives tips to students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 19
Haroon Adeem, freelance journalist and columnist for the Daily and the Din, published from Pakistan, interacted with students of journalism and mass communication at Punjabi University here today. Adeem said: “Journalism has now become an industry in Pakistan though conditions are not much favourable there”.

The Pakistan Press is much free today compared to the regimes of former presidents of the country.

But, the press-note journalism has crept into the media. It has become a guinea pig in the hands of advertisers.

Head, journalism and mass communication, H.P.S.

Walia said positive reporting should be the focus of a journalist.

Narpal Singh Shergill from London stressed that the medias of India and Pakistan should work in harmony to bring people of the two countries together.


‘Earn while learn’

Patiala, March 19
The local Malwa Institute of Management organised a seminar on “earn while learn” in collaboration with Kotak Mahindra on the college premises on Monday. The representatives of the company interviewed the students to select management trainees. — TNS


DRIP scheme comes a cropper in Punjab
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The slow progress in the District Rural Industries Project (DRIP) in Punjab has now forced the state government to have a re-look at the project and ascertain reasons for the poor show.

The principal secretary, Industries, Punjab, has been asked by the Department of Finance to look into the reasons for the slow progress under this development programme, aimed at rural industrialisation of the state.

Only 20 per cent of the units in the four districts of the state, where the programme has been launched, received assistance under the project.

An average of a mere 35 per cent targets could be met for the credit flow under the scheme in this financial year.

The project was launched in Bathinda, Kapurthala, Patiala and Muktsar, as part of a nationwide scheme launched by Nabard.

This was launched with the objective of creating sustainable employment opportunities in rural areas through enhanced credit flow to rural non- farm sector, with an aim to evolve a role model for rural industrialisation.

Though the scheme was first launched in 1993- 94, it was launched in Punjab (Bathinda and Muktsar) for the first time in 2000-01.

Figures available with The Tribune show that there has been a dismal response to the scheme in Bathinda and Kapurthala. As against a target of Rs 16, 017 lakh for credit flow in Bathinda, only Rs 6331. 38 crore was disbursed by the banks.

Only 733 units in the district received assistance under DRIP as against a target of 3931. Similarly, in Kapurthala, where DRIP was extended in 2002-03, only 35 per cent of the target set for credit flow has been achieved (Rs 8116. 59 lakh) and only 856 units ( against a target of 7023) were provided assistance under the project.

The situation was no better in Patiala and Muktsar where less than 34 per cent of targets for credit flow have been achieved in the past one year.

While 5298 units were provided assistance in Patiala (the highest in the state under DRIP), only 713 units were provided assistance (against a target of 3030) in Muktsar.

In terms of employment generation, as many as 24,245 received employment in Bathinda under DRIP, 9608 in Kapurthala, 8005 in Patiala and 3856 in Muktsar.

Since the banks operating in Punjab have missed the targets under the scheme, a joint study will now be conducted by the Industries department and officials of Nabard in each of the four districts to ascertain reasons for slow progress and suggest measures to accelerate the pace of assistance under the scheme.


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