M A I N   N E W S

CM’s office ignores agro corpn chief
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 24
Former minister Brahm Mohindra may be Chairman of the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) with a cabinet rank but he was not invited to attend a meeting held at the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s, residence here today. The visiting PepsiCo Chairman discussed various future collaborations regarding the PAIC at the meeting.

This happened despite the fact that Mr Mohindra was in town and his house is situated opposite the Chief Minister’s residence. Only Mr Mohindra was left out of the high-profile meeting.

It was attended by almost all senior bureaucrats of the state, including Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill, Financial Commissioner (Development) P.K. Verma, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, S.C. Agarwal and even PAIC Managing-Director Himmat Singh.

Mr Mohindra said he was not aware of the meeting and he could not say as to why he was not invited to it. “It would be better if you ask the Chief Minister or the PAIC Managing-Director about this”, he added.

PAIC MD Himmat Singh said Mr Mohindra did not attend the meeting because it was called at a short notice. When told about Mr Mohindra’s contention that he was not invited he said “probably he was not invited”.

He went on to say that PepsiCo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve S. Reinemund was passing through Patiala for Channo and had expressed the wish to meet the Chief Minister. When asked about the presence of a large number of bureaucrats at the meeting, he said it was true adding that he had himself come to the meeting after he got a message.

Meanwhile, the District Public Relations Office stated that the PepsiCo Chairman had discussed the ongoing collaboration with PAIC for the introduction of the latest generation of citrus cultivars in Punjab.

It also quoted the PepsiCo Chairman as saying that his company was “proud” of its long-standing partnership with Punjab growers and the PAIC and saw PAIC as a resource to be developed in the years to come to meet its international requirements regionally and worldwide. Mr Mohindra’s name was not mentioned by the office.

Mr Reinemund also announced that Pepsi proposed to locate more of its ancillary units in Punjab next to its existing plant at Channo.

While the meeting did not appear to be ‘sudden’, the absence of Mr Mohindra is set to affect his hold over PAIC. Sources said present bureaucrats ruled the roost in all corporations of the state, with politically appointed chairmen being mere figureheads.

They said Mr Mohindra had been trying to prove otherwise during his short stint as Chairman after being rehabilitated in the party after a two-year gap but the latest move had given him a setback.


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