Thursday, May 24, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Taken for a ride with job letters

As long as applicants keep seeking the services of “dubious immigration consultants”, as reported by Prabhjot Singh in The Tribune, there is no reason why the fraud business should not keep booming.

Canadian immigration is so simple to achieve that anybody who can follow simple English should be able to know what one needs to file an application.

The immigration kits available from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi or from the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (http:\\ are the most elaborate and simplest step-by-step guides. They explain everything about the process in detail, right from step one to the end. Links have been provided here to other useful sites for the applicant’s help.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police last week charged prominent Toronto-based immigration consultant Santokh Singh Basra with 28 counts of fraud, including “duping prospective immigrants by offering them job letters”. Each “purchaser” of these job letters shelled out at least Rs 50,000 to Basra for the job offer alone. And the police says none of them is going to make it to Canada solely on the basis of the job letters or Basra’s consultancy.

A simple para in the Guide for Independent Applicants, issued by the high commission along with the application form, states that “any job offer by a Canadian employer has to be validated by the Human Resource Department of Canada”. This means that the department will certify that no candidates are available in Canada to take up the job offered to the applicant.


I wonder why none of the 340 victims gave thought to this before making Basra richer by Canadian $ 1 million in just three years. Well, with the amount of money flowing in, dubious consultants will not move out in the near future.

The minimum wage in Canada is $6.85 per hour. Luck and resourcefulness of immigrants play an important part in what they do in Canada. A large number of highly-qualified immigrants had to drive taxi-cabs or do sundry jobs in the beginning but many have risen to good positions as well. Remember, Ujjal Dosanjh used to work in a mill.


In defence of Sanskrit

There are some persons who believe that Sanskrit is a dead language and therefore no efforts should be able to revive it. It was actually killed for the survival of Urdu and English under the influence of the Britishers and the Muslim League. Urdu has now been replaced with Hindi and Punjabi in official work.

The Shimla radio station broadcasts news in Sanskrit. But very few people in Himachal understand it. Sanskrit should be made a compulsory subject. It is the language of “devtas” and “devis”.



Grain policy-what policy?

This refers to the editorial “Grain policy — what policy?” Actually there are three recommendations on prices — the third one being: “OMSS prices should not only cover the procurement costs but should also fully reflect the differences in cost of transport and storage at different points of sale”.

The editorial, however, has not commented on this. This policy, if implemented, will make major subsidy reduction e.g. keeping a near uniform issue price under the open market sales scheme. The Government/FCI under the scheme sold 25 lakh tonnes of wheat in the deficit areas, thereby losing around Rs 375 crore. (This does not include government sponsored programmes). More so, this wheat was purchased by private trade and industry for sale processing without any control on the sale price of end products.

Neither consumers got any benefit of this subsidisation nor did the government save on subsidy. The entire process benefited trade and industry in the recommendation, which is of paramount importance. The government, however, is not likely to implement this due to vested interests who utilise their political and bureaucratic peer pressure and clout.

Referring to your objections to the second proposal of scrapping all levies, I would state that if we have to succeed under the WTO regime, the pricing and taxation have to be on global level only. That is no MSP and taxes of any kind.

In the global environment where intense competition entails, the prices have to be determined by the market forces and tax levels have to be as per global standards. The government did not accept the recommendation of the Commission of Agricultural Costs and Pricing which had recommended a price of Rs 520. For the government’s survival, the MSP was increased by Rs 30 (from Rs 580 to Rs 610). Needless to mention that areas where procurement is not taking place, the price of wheat hovers from Rs 480 to Rs 500 only.

There is no private purchase in Punjab. A large quantity of wheat has also moved in Haryana from UP and Rajasthan resulting in the procurement of more than 61 lakh tonnes till date.

It is incorrect to state that the Centre collects the tax from the consumer. Never ever has the FCI been able to realise the economic cost from the consumer. Look at the ever-increasing subsidy bill. It is transfer of funds only. Imagine a situation where the Centre does not reimburse “cost plus administrative expenses plus efficiencies/inefficiencies of government machinery” to the procuring states and the states have to procure grains on their own strength and subsequently dispose of the grain in the domestic market/exports market.

Recently Markfed exported wheat on government approved rates of Rs 4150/4250 per MT for ports. To deliver the grains at the port, an additional cost of Rs 1,250 be Rs 3,000 per tonne against the previous year’s economic cost of Rs 8,500 per tonne. Who bears this difference of Rs 5,500 per tonne? — the tax-payers of the country. While the Food Minister takes great pride in having sold wheat worth Rs 2,800 crore for exports, yet no statement is made in its economic/actual costs which was Rs 6,800 crore.

We as a nation face protein energy malnutrition and the 30 per cent population categorised as BPL families cannot afford to buy grains. Instead of exporting and incurring such huge losses to, feed mostly the importing countries’ animals with a better wheat, we should have fed the nation and improved their nutritional and health status. This requires a mission mode which, however, is only restricted to speeches.



The Sachi Sakhi controversy

The sort of noises being made by Bibi Kiranjot Kaur are more likely to be counter-productive. The Sachi Sakhi author, Kapur Singh, ICS, was highly respected for his authority on Sikh affairs.

Master Tara Singh, now being defended by Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a member of the SGPC, was very close to Kapur Singh. Master Tara Singh even stayed with Kapur Singh at Dharamsala, when the latter was posted there as Deputy Commissioner.

Later during partition, Master Tara Singh's conduct came under criticism by his earlier friend, Kapur Singh, as he believed Master Tara Singh let down the Sikhs by not asking for a separate state and threw the Sikhs "with their hands and feet tied" before the preponderant majority and at their mercy.

At a Sikh congregation at Sisganj Gurdwara in Delhi, someone proposed raising a memorial to Master Tara Singh which Kapur Singh opposed comparing him (Master Singh) to Marshal Petain and Admiral Darlan of France who constituted the French government when the country was overrun by Hitler's Germany. Later, both these leaders were indicted traitors and punished. Admiral Darlan was executed while Marshal Petain was spared as he was suffering from incurable cancer and was about to die. We, the following, have had the honour of meeting Master Tara Singh and we all agree with the reading of the current and recent history of the Sikhs in the Independence era as recorded by Kapur Singh.

We do not agree with the outbursts of Bibi Kiranjot Kaur against the author of Sachi Sakhi and his opinion against Master Tara Singh's political conduct.

We strongly recommend that Sachi Sakhi be reprinted in its original version. If political compulsions of the SGPC come in the way, let some NRI do it as was done earlier by a Canadian Sikh.


‘Sangat darshan’

All Punjab Government Departments, municipal corporations, improvement trusts, PUDA, M.L.A.s, Mayors, Chairmen, ministers and the Chief Minister of Punjab appear to have awakened from a sound sleep of four years. Daily new development schemes are announced involving crores of rupees. The "sangat darshan" programmes also cost heavily.

The schemes, which could not be formulated in the past four years, are now launched for implementation in five or six months. No public money should be spent till the elections and all powers should be vested with the Commissioners or the Deputy Commissioners.

B. S. SHARMA, Amritsar

Double standards

This refers to a news item about the Punjabi University Teachers Association President, Dr. B.S. Khera’s dharna on the denial of senior scale to a few faculty members. On one side he staged a dharna against the Vice-Chancellor, on the other he became an instrument in the hands of a coterie in getting a Reader rejected for promotion to Professor in Panjab University, Chandigarh, where he acted as an expert on the selection committee. The leaders of teachers associations should have a uniform yardstick for teachers as and when they get a chance to help them.

D.P. SHARMA, Chandigarh


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |