P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Govt has let loose police on opponents: Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, here today said Punjab Governor S.F.Rodrigues had assured her to set up a cell to deal with complaints against police excesses. A delegation led by Bhattal submitted a memorandum to the Governor raising several political issues.

Bhattal and others have stated that the ruling party has let the police loose to suppress political opponents, Dalits and government employees.

Others who accompanied Bhattal were Santokh Singh Randhwa, Mohinder Singh Gill, Rana Gurjit Singh, Brahm Mohindra, Lal Singh, Tej Parkash Singh, Amarjit Singh Samra, Avtar Singh Brar, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Kewal Dhillon, Randip Singh, Harmohinder Singh, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Tarlochan Singh and Amrik Singh.

In the memorandum, the Congress has strongly objected to the hike in electricity tariff, bus fare, revenue collector rates, fees and other charges in various professional colleges.

The Congress has alleged that the state was using repressive measures to suppress the employees seeking implementation of their demands. The police was resorting to cane-charge on employees holding peaceful demonstrations. The law and order situation in the state was deteriorating.

Number of assaults and atrocities on Dalits had increased. Rapes, murders and incidents of looting had become order of the day. The government had put an embargo on the dedicated fund meant to pay scholarships to Dalits, shagun scheme for SCs and pension to widows and old-age pension.

The SAD-BJP government had promised to waive loans of the farm sector but now the government has gone back on its promise. Financial health of the state was turning from bad to worse.The government was out to sell land belonging to jails and hospitals. During its previous tenure from 1997-2002, the SAD-BJP alliance had sold rest houses and bus stands and now it has started selling land to meet their day-to-day expenditure. It has failed to implement the atta-dal scheme.

Bhattal said the state government should announce Rs 100 per quintal as bonus on paddy to farmers.


Selling of Birs
Publishers go underground, victims booked
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Even as owners of Jeewan Singh Chattar Singh, the oldest publishers of Guru Granth Sahib, have gone underground, fearing yet another attack by activists of Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee, the district police chief has recommended imposition of Section 144 in the surroundings of the publishing house to stop sale of Guru Granth Sahib in future.

The recommendation to impose ban orders has been recommended by the district police chief to the dstrict magistrate.

All 15 members of the publishers have gone to an unknown place as they were asked by the police not to open their shop till further orders.

Meanwhile, the police today registered a case against the victims. However, the police spared the activists of the committee who had attacked the sons of the publisher on the reported direct intervention of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The victims had sent missives to the President of India, Prime Minister, union home minister and human rights commission against the “excesses:” committed on them.

The buyer, Swinder Singh, was produced in the court of duty magistrate Harjit Singh Khalsa and sent in police remand for two days. However, the two brothers who were taken into police custody yesterday are yet to be produced in a court. All three persons were accused of hurting the religious sentiments.

However, Harbhajan Singh, owner of the publishing house, said his firm had been selling the holy book since 1890. “My great grandfather Bhai Chattar Singh used to sell handwritten birs.” He alleged that the unsavoury incident was result of some business rivalry. He further said the police remained mute spectators when his sons Prabhjit Singh and Harneet Singh were picked up from the shop and their faces blackened in full public view.

However, the Sikh intellectuals feel that Akal Takht and the SGPC should be blamed for having failed to get the hukamnama implemented. Had the Jathedar, Akal Takht, acted timely, the unsavoury incident could have been avoided.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said he had also received a complaint from the publishing house.


Virk deposited Rs 3 cr in banks: Vigilance
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 6
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has found that former DGP S. S. Virk had deposited Rs 3 crore in various banks and also owned property worth crores of rupees.

Orders on bail plea reserved

Rupnagar, October 6
District and Sessions judge Rekha Mittal has reserved orders on the bail application of former Punjab DGP Sarabdeep Singh Virk and Congress leader Vinay Pal Dimpy for October 8.

The case came up for hearing today wherein the judge directed to reserve the orders. Earlier, the matter had come up for hearing on October 4 and was later adjourned for today. — TNS

Sources in the bureau claimed that Virk and his family had 37 accounts in various banks and also had a showroom in Sector 9, Chandigarh, apart from having some land.

Most of their accounts are reportedly in HDFC Bank. Bureau officials claimed that in one branch of the bank in Chandigarh Virk had four accounts in the name of Sarabdeep Singh Virk, S. S. Virk Jaswinder Virk, S. Singh and Sarabdeep Singh. Rupees 36 lakh were deposited in one branch of the HDFC on July 23, 2001, in four instalments. A sum of Rs 15 lakh was deposited on a single day in September 2000.

The sources said a team of senior vigilance officials today visited a branch of the bank. According to the RBI directions, an account holder had to inform the RBI if he deposited Rs 10 lakh or more in a bank on a single day.

The sources further said even though Virk had claimed in November 2004 that his family had decided to construct the marriage palace on the Patiala-Zirakpur road, the property was very much in existence at that time because a marriage had taken place there on October 28, 2004. Vigilance officials estimate that Rs 50 crore were spent on Chimney Heights. In 2005 Virk had taken a loan of Rs 5 crore for renovating the “sheds” which had already started functioning as marriage-cum-resort.

They said the vigilance officials claimed that land was purchased by members of Virk’s family at Bakarpur and Dayalpur Jhugian villages and also had a share in a house in Sector 27, Chandigarh.

According to sources, Virk’s wife was able to get Rs 64.50 lakh when government acquired the land in her name at Kishangarh village. Again the amount spent on purchasing property was in excess than the amount shown as having been earned.


Pak visit comes in way of Canadian visa
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Certain Punjabis, who have recently visited Pakistan, have alleged that they are being denied Canadian visa.

Gurjinder Singh Mahal (36), an Amritsar-based businessman, told The Tribune that he had applied for Canadian visa so that he could go and meet his younger sister Kanwaljit Kaur in Rosedale in August.

Even though he fulfilled 13 points on the check list, he was denied visa on the grounds that his “ties to the country of residence were balanced against factors which might motivate to stay in Canada”.

After he sent a letter to the Canadian Embassy, pointing out that with his family and property in India, he had reasons to come back on the expiry of his stay, this objection was removed, but three other objections like “insufficient documents to show income” were put. Interestingly, these conditions had been cleared the first time.

“My only disqualification is that I visited Pakistan on pilgrimage visa in June, 2006, to pay obeisance at the Sikh shrines in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and Khartarpur Sahib,” he said.

His mother, Surinder Kaur, had the same story to narrate, even though her case was recommended by Gurbax Singh Malhi, Canadian MP, in October, 2006. “I wanted to visit Canada to attend the marriage of my daughter, who is well-settled there. But getting a visa sanction to Pakistan before this proved to be my undoing, even though I couldn’t make it to the neighbouring country,” she said.

Mahal said, “I recently made a short trip to Thailand and Malaysia on tourist visa but the embassies of these countries had no objection,” he said.

There are others who have gone through this but do not want to protest openly for the fear of being blacklisted by Canada.

Requesting anonymity, another businessman from Gurdaspur district said he, too, was denied Canadian visa because had gone to Pakistan as part of a Sikh jatha on pilgrimage visa.

When contacted, Trudy Kernighan, minister counsellor (immigration), Canadian High Commission, said, “I can assure you that the Canadian High Commission has no policy in place that would allow us to refuse applicants simply because of previous travel to Pakistan.”


CM supporting Tytler: SAD (A)

Amritsar, October 6
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s silence over the clean chit given to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler for the 1984 riots by the CBI has proved that he is hand in glove with the Congress government at the Centre.

Stating this to the media here today, Ram Singh, general secretary, SAD (A), alleged that Badal was supporting the Congress to save Tytler. He rued that even after 23 years of the incident the Union government was not ready to give justice to the affected Sikh families or pay them compensation.

Welcoming the opening of border for cargo trade, he said party president Simranjit Singh Mann had urged the two neighbouring countries for opening the Attari border in 1990 but the then governments at the Centre and in the state had opposed him. — TNS


SAD (youth) gen secy dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Balraj Singh Bhunder (40), national general secretary of the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), died here early this morning following a heart ailment. He was cremated at his native village Bhunder, near Sardulgarh in Mansa district, this afternoon. He was son of general secretary of the SAD and former Akali minister Balwinder Singh Bhunder.

Balraj Singh was an upcoming young politician who also remained a managing director of the Central Cooperative Bank, Mansa.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur Badal, his son and working president of SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal, Akali ministers, MPs, MLAs, Congress MLAs, including Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Mangat Rai Bansal and Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Advocate General Sukhdeep Singh Bhinder, leaders of other political parties attended the funeral procession of Balraj Singh.


Bankers demand holiday on Aggarsain Jayanti
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 6
The All-India Gramin Bank Officers Association today asked the Punjab government to declare a holiday on the occasion of Maharaja Aggarsain Jayanti on October 12 under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Bank employees and other staff covered under this Act felt that by not declaring this a holiday the government was discriminating against them.

Stating this here today, national secretary of the association Pali Ram Bansal said earlier the government had not declared a holiday on the occasion of the birth centenary of a national martyr Bhagat Singh on September 28 under this Act, though employees (Punjab government) throughout the state had enjoyed a holiday on that day.

The secretary asked the government to declare holiday on October 12, so that bank employees would not feel that they had been given a step-motherly treatment by the state government in the case of holidays announced by it from time to time on 
special occasions.


300 hectares to come under forest cover
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 6
The district forest department has decided to bring around 300 hectares of land under forest cover in the district soon. Currently, less than 1 per cent of the total land of the district is under forest cover.

The department has started involving registered committees to develop forest cover. It has so far identified around 100 committees at the village level, which have been entrusted with the job of planting trees on land identified by the department.

A plan for development and plantation of trees in the villages is also being prepared by the department.

District forest officer Nidhi Srivastva said a micro plan covering around 34 villages had been prepared and plantation on 60 hectares in six villages had been completed.

She said an incentive of Rs 4,000 per hectare was being given to panchayats for development of forest cover.

She said expenditure involved in the plantation would be borne by the forest department with funds provided by the union government. Besides, free plants were being supplied for plantation on non-forest government land to government offices and institutions.

Around 6,000 free plants have already been supplied to schools and 3,000 to the PSEB grid at Mullepur, she said. The forest officer added that the department had also made an appeal to NGOs to come forward and plant medicinal trees. Srivastva said it was a matter of great concern that only 5.7 per cent of the total land in the state was under forest cover.

She added that the district forest department had geared up to undertake an extensive drive to bring more land under forest cover.


7 of family missing for over 2 years
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 6
Despite having announced cash rewards and making all possible efforts, the district police have been unsuccessful in tracing seven members of a family, who had gone missing in May 2005.

The sudden disappearance of the seven including five kids has baffled the police, who till date are clueless about the family members. Jaspal Kaur (45) along with her three daughters, Mandeep Kaur (20) and her five-month-old son Lovepreet, Kulwinder Kaur (16), Parwinder Kaur (11) and son Nirbhay Singh (8) were reported missing on May 7, 2005. Residents of Talaniya village in Bassi Pathana segment, these persons disappeared in broad daylight without leaving any trace.

According to Jaspal Kaur's husband Sukhwinder Singh, who is a daily wager, on the fateful day when he returned from work, he was surprised to see that none of the family members were home. Initially, he thought they might have gone to Rajpura to meet their relatives. But after enquiring from them and from a few other relatives, anxiety gripped him as all denied having any knowledge about his family members’ whereabouts.

The incident stunned many as name of a local Congress leader cropped up in the case. It was alleged that given the financial crisis being faced by the family, the Congress leader wanted to sexually exploit the daughters, for which he had started harassing the family members. Initially it was presumed that troubled by the Congress leader the family members committed suicide by jumping into a canal. However, the police soon turned down the possibility of a suicide as no bodies were ever recovered.

The police soon came up with a cash reward of Rs 50,000 for the person who would provide information that could help in tracing the missing family members. Special teams were formed to investigate the matter but no clues could be found that could lead the police to the missing persons.

SSP Nilabh Kishore after taking over the charge here ordered reinvestigation of the case. The SSP said till date not even a single person had turned up with any relevant information about the family members. He said though it had been a long time since the family went missing but the police were still investigating the matter.


Overbridge project facing delays
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 6
The much talked about railway overbridge that was proposed to be constructed on the busiest railway crossing of the historical town of Sirhind has failed to take off even as the tenders were called in and elaborate plans were prepared ready by the Union Ministry for Railways and the state government.

Highly-placed sources said for the time being, the ministry has put the project on a hold following objections raised regarding the height of the bridge. As per the original draft, the bridge was to be constructed at a height of 6.5 metres over the railway crossing with an incline of 833 feet on either side. It was to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 14 crore, and the structure would have eased the traffic problems on both side of the railway crossing. It was also proposed to build service lanes on both sides of the bridge and to permanently close the railway crossing.

Though tenders were floated and parties interested had even deposited the requisite amount mentioned by the ministry, after the railway officials stated that height of the bridge should be raised by another 1.5 metres, it was decided to put the project temporarily on hold. The union ministry and the state government returned the amount collected from the private parties, the sources said.

They added that an increase in the height would have increased the length of the incline by at least 30 metres, following which it was decided to delay the project. Sources said now fresh tenders would be called after getting a new plan approved from the competent authorities, which is likely to take some time.

The local residents expressed their dismay over the delay in the project. Naresh Batish, a local businessman, said being a busy track, the railway crossing remained closed for long hours causing a lot of problems for the commuters.

Another resident Narinder Singh lamented that the over-bridge in the town could have provided a shorter route to people travelling from Fatehgarh Sahib to 
Ludhiana and would have made lives of the locals easy.


Forensic Medicine
No takers for MD seats
Lalit Mohan

Patiala, October 6
The MD forensic medicine course in government medical colleges of the state is not finding any takers. There are five seats of MD in forensic medicine - two in Patiala and three in Amritsar medical college.

However, for the past two years not even a single student has opted for the course. Sources in the department alleged that lack of awareness and failure of officials concerned to motivate the students was the basic reason for the seats remaining vacant.

The number of private forensic experts who are giving evidence in courts in criminal cases is increasing. However, still in Punjab the medical colleges are not finding any student for MD in forensic medicine.

If the trend continues the postgraduate seats in government colleges might reduce further. Already there are just about 39 postgraduate medical seats in the state. As per the rules there is one postgraduate seat for every professor in medical colleges. Since many professors have left government medical colleges, the number of postgraduate seats have already reduced to more than half the number available in the colleges about a decade ago.

Private colleges which are coming up in the state have started picking up faculty from the government colleges by paying hefty pay packages. 


Tributes paid to Bharpur Singh

Chandigarh, October 6
The Sikh Educational Society and the Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation have expressed shock over the death of Bharpur Singh, who had served the society for 15 years as its secretary. The society runs eight educational institutions, including colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh.

A condolence meeting to pay tributes to Bharpur Singh was held in the local Guru Gobind Singh College today. Among those who spoke at the meeting were president of educational society Gurdev Singh Brar, joint secretary Jasmer Singh Bala and principal Gurdeep Singh. They said Bharpur Singh was a visionary educationist who made a great contribution to the field of education. He was a progressive person in religious affairs also. He remained active in Sikh politics too. — TNS


Maj-Gen Paul is GOC, Panther Division

Amritsar, October 6
Major-Gen P.S Paul took charge as General Officer Commanding of Panther Division here today. He succeeded Major-Gen K.M.S Shergill who relinquished his office today.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy, he has also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in a counter-insurgency area and a Mountain Brigade in the eastern sector where he was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal. — TNS


Orders on Virk’s bail plea reserved
Tribune News Service

Rupnagar, October 6
District and Sessions judge Rekha Mittal has reserved orders on the bail application of former Punjab DGP Sarabdeep Singh Virk and Congress leader Vinay Pal Dimpy for October 8.

The case came up for hearing today wherein the judge directed to reserve the orders. Earlier, the matter had come up for hearing on October 4 and was later adjourned for today.


7 booked for illegal sand mining
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 6
Two panchayat members of Mahlakhurd village, falling under Baghapurana sub-division, have alleged that three of their co-members, including sarpanch and four others, have been fleecing the panchayat of revenue worth lakhs earned from mining sand.

Gurmit Kaur and Bhagwant Singh, in their complaint registered at the Baghapurana police station, mentioned that sarpanch Nahar Singh, panchayat members Gurmail Singh and Sukhchain Singh and four others had allowed contractors to dig sand illegally from the panchayat land.

They said that the contract was not extended after following proper norms. Besides, the accused issued false receipts to contractors and never deposited the amount with the panchayat. They alleged that they have been involved in this activity for the past four years.

Following the completion of inquiry, the police station concerned has registered a case.


Sexual assault by godman alleged

Faridkot, October 6
After a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by godman Bickerdin, the police registered a case against the accused here today.

The woman, in her complaint, said she approached Bickerdin for getting treatment as she was not well and did not recovered despite consulting doctors. She went to meet the accused on the advice of an acquaintance when he allegedly sexually assaulted her, she said. The accused godman is still absconding,. — TNS


Suicide Bid
Dismissed cop dies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6
Gurjant Singh (50), a dismissed cop of Behman Jassa Singh village in Bathinda district, who had set himself and four members of his family on fire, succumbed to burn injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, last night. He was admitted here on October 1 with 80 per cent burn injuries.

His family members who sustained burn injuries in the incident included his wife and three daughters Hardip Kaur (28), Beant Kaur (26) and Birpal Kaur (24).

Gurjant was facing eight criminal cases, including murder, and was declared a proclaimed offender by a court in a case pertaining to attempt to murder.

The cop took the extreme step when a police party from Talwandi Sabo arrested him. His other daughter Rampal Kaur is reported to have earlier alleged before the SDM, Talwandi Sabo, that her father took this step as he could not tolerate the humiliation meted out to him by the police. 


IGNOU to empower disabled
Tribune News Service

Khanna, October 6
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has signed an MoU with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) to make joint efforts in promoting education programmes for the empowerment of people with disabilities.

IGNOU will collaborate with the RCI in designing and developing the education programme for rehabilitation of disabled persons.

Dr Ashok Sharma, regional director, IGNOU, said it would be an awareness-cum-training programme of three months for the parents of the disabled children. This would enable the parents to empower their disabled children and lead them to a dignified life, he said.

The university would also offer certificate and diploma courses under the same programme, he added.

Dr Sharma said plans to launch B.Ed and M.Ed. (Special Education) and PGPD (Special Education) at places where the government universities had not reached so far were also on the cards.

As per a report of the Planning Commission of India, it is estimated that about 5 per cent of the population suffers from disability of some kind, be it visual, hearing, orthopaedic or mental retardation based.

According to the 2001 census, there were 21,906,769 disabled persons in the country.


Syndicate meeting goes soft on VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 6
In what could be termed as victory for vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, Swarn Singh Boparai, today’s much hyped syndicate meeting ended without any din. The meeting was being considered significant due to the recent statement of the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that the government would write to the Governor against the VC.

Despite hectic parleys just 24 hours before the meeting by government representatives in the syndicate, nothing transpired at the meeting. None of the agendas proposed came up for discussion despite the fact that the government representatives were in a majority in the syndicate today.

The softened attitude of the syndicate members, who in the recent past were spitting fire, was being taken as an indication by insiders that there was no government move against the VC as has been reported in the media in the recent past.

Syndicate member and SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra said the meeting had been postponed. The syndicate members spent most of their time discussing the controversial agendas passed in the last meeting. He said the main agenda included the reinstatement of Hem Raj Verma, a professor in physics. In the last syndicate meeting it was decided that Verma would be regularised from the date he was suspended. The syndicate had only approved the stoppage of two increments as punishment for him. However, in the proceeding it was recorded that he would be regularised from August 6, the date of the last syndicate meeting.

Lots of agendas were kept pending in the last meeting. It was decided that these should be taken up later. However, these were shown as approved in the proceedings, Chandumajra alleged.

Meanwhile, the university spokesperson in a press note maintained that the minutes of the last meeting were approved today. However, Chandumajra maintained that no minutes had been passed and the VC had been directed to put up the amended agenda.


Students’ Death
Homeopathic colleges remain closed

Abohar, October 6
After the death of four BHMS direct degree students of the local HMCA in a road mishap yesterday, all homeopathic medical colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh were closed today as a mark of condolence.

One of the victims in yesterday’s road mishap, Virender Yadav, was married only last year. Amit Gujjar of Ghaziabad was engaged to be married in December. The parents of the students, who came to receive the bodies from the mortuary at the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here, were inconsolable.

Panjab University senator Dr B.C Josan, IFFCO chairman Surinder Kumar Jakhar and Sunil Jakhar, MLA, have also expressed shock.

Principal Rajinder Girdhar and president Tara Singh Ahuja have received condolence messages from the heads of the homeopathic medical colleges all over Haryana and Delhi. — OC


NRI Quota
Admissions of students cancelled
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University yesterday ordered the cancellation of admissions of about 150 students of various courses under the NRI quota. The decision, which evoked flak from the students, was taken in view of the strong indictment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement.

The career of students of MBA, MCA and various other courses under NRI quota has been put at stake as besides losing one precious year, they will be required to appear and clear the entrance test again for securing admission in the university.

Vice-chancellor (VC) of the university Jai Rup Singh refused to comment on the matter and said he was busy in a meeting.

Repeated attempts to contact university registrar Dr R.S. Bawa proved futile as he did not attend the phone calls.

The affected students approached the VC in the morning and urged him to find a suitable alternative for them by adjusting them in the varsity to save their year.

Meanwhile, Gautam Majithia, president, National Students Union of India (NSUI), urged the university authorities to move the Supreme Court instead of asking the students to file the petition against the judgement of the high court. He said if the university failed to file a petition in the apex court, the NSUI would be forced to launch an agitation against the university.


8,000 appear for interview at Rayat and Bahra Institute
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 6
Over 8,000 engineering and computer sciences students from the region participated in pool campus placement exercise that got under way today at Rayat and Bahra Biotechnology Centre for Excellence at Sahauran campus of the institute.
Job aspirants at the campus of Rayat and Bahra Institute near Kharar
Job aspirants at the campus of Rayat and Bahra Institute near Kharar on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gahru

A large number of students from various institutes queued to be a part of this selection process conducted for recruitments of software engineers and assistant engineers in Wipro Technology Infrastructure Services. Over 6,000 students had registered online much ahead of actual beginning of interviews today, which attracted over 2,000 on-the-spot registrations as well.

A team of 22 human resource department officials from Wipro TIS led process of campus interviews.

Informing about process National Head Wipro TIS said that recruitments to be conducted for appointment of software engineers and assistant engineers will look out for BE, B.Tech and MCA pass outs of 2005, 2006 and 2007 batches with 60 per cent aggregate marks in matriculation, plus two and graduation. The salary for this category will be Rs 2.75 lakh per annum.

Further, diploma holders, graduates and post-graduate degree holders of 2005-07 batches will be preferred for recruitment of assistant engineers with annual packages of Rs 1.70 lakh and Rs 2.20 lakh for diploma and degree holders respectively.


Bhojpuri Movies 
A profitable proposition for cinema halls
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6
Suresh Kumar, a resident of Bihar, may be missing many things in Bathinda, but not the “Bhojpuri flavour”, as many local cinema houses are screening Bhojpuri movies.

Though putting up in the town for the past 10 years, Kumar feels at home when he watches these movies.

Bishambher, a native of Uttar Pardesh, never misses a Bhojpuri movie whenever it is screened in any cinema hall in the town.

Due to a large concentration of people belonging to Bihar and UP in this burgeoning township, Bhojpuri movies have caught the fancy of cinema hall owners, as they have started getting good returns by screening them, while are prone to losses most of the time while showing big banner Bollywood movies.

Not only this, Bhojpuri, a dialect of eastern UP and Bihar, seems to have taken an edge over native Punjabi, as Bhojpuri movies have been attracting large crowds compared to Punjabi movies.

While the two Bhojpuri movies, “Banke Bihari” and “Purv Aur Pachhim”, having a star cast of Ravi Shankar and Rambha, being screened in two cinema houses of this town, have been attracting a sizeable crowd in all four shows, “Mitti Wajjan Maardi”, starring Harbhajan Mann, who has given a number of hit movies earlier, has been witnessing negligible crowd in its last two shows.

Mohan Lal, manager of the cinema house screening “Mitti Wajjan Maardi”, said earlier people from rural areas used to come on every mode of transportation to watch Punjabi movies whenever they were screened in any cinema house. However, now only a few people from rural areas have been coming to the cinema house to watch this movie despite the fact that it has a good star cast. He added that people from rural areas had been watching only the matinee show.

Interestingly, the Bhojpuri movies have also changed the economics of cinema houses, as most of them, which have been screening such movies at regular intervals, have been earning handsome profits after meeting the overhead expenditures, while those cinema houses, which are screening expensive Bollywood movies, have been earning just enough to meet their production cost.

Charni Kumar, manager of a cinema house, said for the past one year, two Bhojpuri movies were being screened in the cinema house in a month. He added that most of the movie-watchers belong to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 


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