Sunday, October 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pvt grain stores in Punjab
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Oct 28 — To overcome the problems of procurement, lifting and storage of foodgrains, the Punjab Government has started the exercise to create additional storage capacity for the grain.

The government has decided to invite private entrepreneurs, state agencies and multinational companies to construct covered stores and open plinths before the next season.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, said that a plan was being made to construct covered stores near the big grain markets and focal points where adequate space was available. He added that private entrepreneurs would be encouraged for this task by offering them better facilities and  handsome return. Arrangements would be made to store the foodgrain immediately after its procurement from the market. The cleanliness operation of foodgrain would be done at the spot.

The Chief Minister added that he would also hold meetings in this connection with NRIs during his 10-day visit to Canada where he was scheduled to meet the British Columbia premier, Mr U. Dosanj.

Mr Badal admitted that the paddy-wheat rotation was causing much problems to the government and the farmers and that the matter had been taken up with the Central government to work out a solution.

He had also held talks with the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for developing big seed farms and better and high yielding varieties.

He claimed that package announced by the Central government for the paddy growers of Punjab was unparallel in the history of state. With this package, the paddy growers would be suitably compensated.


Farmer commits suicide
From Sushil Goyal and Vinod Seth

DHURI, Oct 28 — Another paddy grower has ended his life this paddy season after his failure to sell his paddy and alleged harassment by arhtiyas.

The paddy grower Harbhajan Singh (35) of Kherri Khurad village near Sherpur who allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide a day before Divali after waiting for a month at the Sherpur grain market for buyers for his paddy.

Harbhajan Singh was cremated on the same day without a postmortem examination or the police being informed though he was taken to the Primary Health Centre (PHC), Sherpur, when he fell unconscious. From there he was sent to Dhuri hospital, but he died on the way near Ghanauri Kalan village. The Sherpur police claimed that it had not received any information neither from the PHC nor from the family about the suicide.

According to police sources the family of the deceased found a suicide note in the shirt pocket of the farmer which his father gave to the Sherpur police station. On the basis of the note a case has been registered against the arhtiyas who were allegedly instrumental in the suicide.

In the suicide note the farmer blames one Sandip Kumar alias Bhoja and Bheema, both arhtiyas of Sherpur, for ending his life.

The note claims that Harbhajan had been sitting in the grain market for a month to sell his paddy. But neither was his produce sold nor would the arhtiyas allow him to shift it to another mandi.

He has also mentioned that 10 quintals of his paddy were even stolen while he waited at the grain market. He has also alleged that the arhtiyas had threatened to liquidate him when he could not sell the paddy, so he decided to end his own life instead.

The police had registered a case under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC against Sandip Kumar alias Bhoja and Bheema, both arhtiyas of Sherpur. Both the accused are said to be absconding. Police sources said they had taken some bones fragments and ash of the deceased from the cremation ground for chemical examination.

Talking to TNS at Kherri Khurad village today, Mr Ranjit Singh alias Jaswinder, younger brother of the deceased, said his brother had told him several times of his harassment by the arhtiyas but his family members had taken his pleas casually. He sought action against the culprits.

Mr Ranjit Singh claimed that in order to save their skin, the arhtiyas had sold off his brother’s paddy immediately after Harbhajan Singh’s death.

The deceased, a marginal farmer, has a small land holding of a few bighas and is survived by his wife and a son (12).Back

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