Tuesday, October 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Poll to elect SGPC chief on Nov 12
Our Correspondent

Kurukshetra, October 21
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) announced at a Press conference in the Chheveen (sixth) Paatshahi, gurdwara premises here today that the annual SGPC elections would be held in the premises of Teja Singh Samundari Hall in Amritsar on November 12.

Mr Badungar said that a decision to this effect was taken at the SGPC executive committee meeting here today and letters bearing the election programme, would be sent from Amritsar tomorrow.

Mr Badungar’s term expires on November 30. Elections will also take place for the posts of Senior-vice president, Junior vice-president General Secretary and 10 executive committee members.

Announcing the benefits for SGPC employees, Mr Badungar said that the executive committee had decided that the committee’s regular employees would get 4 per cent dearness allowance on their respective basic pay from July 1, 2002 while the employees, getting consolidated salary, would be paid Rs 100 more, per employee per month and the daily-wage workers would get Rs 10 more per worker, per day than earlier.

On the restoration of historic gurdwaras in Bangladesh, Mr Badungar said a three-member committee, sent to Bangladesh, had submitted its report on the basis of which a seven-member committee had been formed to oversee the restoration of the gurdwaras in Bangladesh.

According to another decision, the Sikhs, who had excelled in various fields on the national level, would be honoured every year at Khalsai Khel Utsav. In memory of those, who sacrificed their lives in Akali Movement, a ‘Babbar Akali Museum’ would be set up at Garhshankar in Punjab where portraits and life sketches of those, who sacrificed their lives in the Akali Movement would be displayed, he added.

To a question, Mr Badungar said that all hurdles in the way of the construction of Miri-Piri Medical College at Shahabad, had been removed and Rs 2 crore spent so far on the Rs 4.5 crore project.

He said that the Sports Meet to be ogranised by the SGPC, had been named Khalsai Khel Utsav and the SGPC would organise it every year at Anandpur Sahib from 2003. The SGPC has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh grant and a matching grant had been allowed by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister. Another amount of Rs 5 lakh had been contributed by various organisations.

When asked why the SGPC members were going into hiding, Mr Badungar said that they intended to be faithful to their party by voting for it but they apprehended that government machinery might prevent them from exercising their right to vote by kidnapping, arresting and even registering false cases against them. He said that 13 out of 15 executive committee members of the SGPC, attended the executive committee meeting Bibi Kiranjot Kaur was accompanying the French ambassador’s delegation visiting Amritsar today in connection with the issue of photographs of Sikhs seeking driving licences in France and Mr Kewal Singh was looking after his daughter, admitted in a hospital in Ludhiana.

He lamented why SGPC members were given police security when they did not demand it. He felt that those who were being given police security, would not be allowed even to cast their vote as they would be taken away by the police before doing so.

Meanwhile, talking to mediapersons, one of the seven members of the Joint Committee of SGPC members loyal to Mr Tohra and Mr Badal, Mr Hardeep Singh appreciated the decision taken by the SGPC executive committee here today for holding the elections in Amritsar.

He reiterated that the Joint Committee had already condemned the Punjab, Haryana and the Central Governments for their tactics to interfere in SGPC elections. The Joint Committee’s aim was to put up a consensus candidate for the presidentship of the SGPC. The interference by the governments as well as the politicians, which was on the increase, must be curbed because religion was above politics.


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