Prabhjot Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 27. From ban on turban in France to direct payment to farmers for their produce are the issues that have provoked two Rajya Sabha members from Punjab — one sitting and the other former — to seek immediate intervention of both the Union and the State government.
While former Union Sports Minister and sitting Rajya Sabha member Manohar Singh Gill has joined hands with the Punjab Farmers’ Commission Chairman, GS Kalkat, in supporting direct payment to farmers for their produce, former Rajya Sabha member and Punjab Pradesh Congress chief HS Hanspal wants Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to raise firmly the turban issue with the French Government.
HS Hanspal, who is a member of the National Commission for Minorities, says that now when India has decided to buy 126 advanced combat aircraft from France, it is time for the Indian Government to “take up turban issue of the Sikhs with the French Government.”
The UNHRC has asked the French Government to report by March 15 about measures taken by it to remove this violation.
“Jathedar of the Akal Takkht and various Sikh organisations from all over the world have taken serious view of the violation of religious rights. They all have threatened to intensify their stir for restoration of their turban pride. Overseas Sikhs also look towards the Indian Government as saviour of their religious rights,” Hanspal said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Manohar Singh Gill has expressed his surprise that instead of a producer getting paid for the commodity he sold, payment is being made to third person. “It is an unprecedented situation,” says Gill holding that even chairman of the Farmers’ Commission GS Kalkat and a study by the Punjab Agricultural University supported direct payment to farmers instead of through commission agents.
Gill, who remained Financial Commissioner, Development, in Punjab, says, “Making payment to third party is perhaps legally untenable also. When the new government assumes office in the state next month, it should ensure that payment for the next crop of wheat is made directly to farmers than through commission agents.”