Tag Archives: Punjab

Cancer Bathinda’s dubious distinction

The crowd waiting to board train no 339 from Bathinda Railway Junction shares more than the overnight journey to Bikaner (Rajasthan), its passengers are bound together by the misery of cancer and the hope of getting cured. “I see close to a hundred people boarding the train every night…What else can be done, there is no hospital for nearly 150 km and every street has patients,” says Vicky Kumar who runs a tea stall at the station. “It’s like a curse on the region, not a personal plight,” he added.

A family of five, from village Gehri Bhagi, 10 km from here, wait at the station to take their 17-year-old son to Bikaner. “We don’t know why he got cancer in the food pipe, he takes no tobacco, no alcohol. But there have been over 15 cases in the last year in our village,” his mother breaks down while speaking about her son’s illness.

Home to a million people, Bathinda boasts a thermal power plant, two coal power plants, a fertilizer plant, and a large oil refinery, and countless cancer patients. The latest data from the health department puts the number of patients in Malwa region at 120-125 per lakh against 71, which is the national average. The department states that there is a jump of 80 per cent in the number of cases from the region in 2010 compared to 2009.

“There have been over 90 deaths in the last 15 years in my village. There is a cancer patient in every house, every family; but no medical facility. Six years ago, they started making a cancer hospital, but that is a private hospital, they charge Rs. 500 just to enter the gate, the ticket to Bikaner is Rs. 34,” said Daljeet Singh (52) of village Jajjal, 30 km from here. The nearest medical facility is at Ludhiana (164 km) or Chandigarh (210 km), which has made Bikaner the medical centre for Malwa’s cancer patients. A super-specialty cancer and cardiac care hospital being set up here by the Max Healthcare Institute Limited under public-private-partnership (PPP) has failed to meet its deadline, April 2011. The Punjab government has given 4.8 acres of land of the local civil hospital to the Max Healthcare at an annual rent of Re. one for 50 years. However, details of treatment for poor cancer patients are not finalised yet. Only 50 beds had been kept for cancer patients in the proposed hospital, and Max Healthcare would give a part of its earning to the Punjab government to fund the treatment of poor cancer patients.

A 2007 epidemiological study, known as the PPCB-PGIMER Report, found that Bathinda surface waters are contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, chromium, selenium and mercury. The waste water generated from industry “is drained mostly partially or untreated in the local drains, which had led to the pollution of these drains.” Pesticides such as heptachlor, ethion and chlorpyrifos were also higher in samples of drinking water, vegetables and blood in the cotton belt of Punjab. The study also found DNA mutations in 65 per cent of the blood samples, taken from over 5,000 randomly selected people. Despite the high positive correlation between cancer cases and modern farming methods and industrialisation, government-funded institutions report indecisive conclusions. “The research does not prove that pesticides were the culprit…it is important to remember something about health studies in general: They are difficult to carry out…it would take many more years to demonstrate whether pesticides actually triggered the elevated cancer rates they found in some farming areas. Farmers have improved their standard of living, they have smoked more tobacco and changed to unhealthy diets. Or a combination of all those factors, including pesticides, might have driven cancer rates higher,” one study states.

“Officials will deny the link to industry and green revolution; but farmers are encouraged to use excessive pesticides instead of farming organically. Crops that are not conducive to the soil and water are being produced by farmers who wear no protective layer while spraying toxic chemicals. Villagers use empty containers of pesticides for storing of most of the food items, still we treat the rise in cases of cancer as a medical mystery,” asked Umendra Dutta of Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM). “Not just cancer, the mindless toxic farming and industrial pollution has led to high rates of spontaneous abortions, cancer, reproductive aliments, genetic deformities, anaemia, diarrhoea, vomiting, fluorosis and a host of skin ailments including rashes and boils,” he added.

“Some people came and took our blood samples, vegetables and milk samples; but no one told us what is wrong. Poor farmers have to go through treatment that they can barely afford, young couples are migrating so that their children are not affected,” said a 37-year-old woman, in Gayana, 15 km from here, whose son and daughter-in-law moved to Hoshiarpur after she lost her husband to throat cancer and her nephew to stomach cancer .


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A school for monkeys

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has sought clearance from the Central Zoo Authority to set up an ultra-modern facility to tame, rehabilitate and teach manners to rogue monkeys.

The first-of-its-kind monkey school will provide inmates with medical care and good-behaviour training. “In addition to veterinary doctors, the centre will have experts and it would be a sort of good manners school for the monkeys,” said a senior official of the Punjab Wildlife Department, on Friday.

Alarming situation
“There have been several cases of monkey bites and the problem has reached such an alarming situation that every week there are one or two cases of monkey biting from across the district. This is why we have decided to build a rehabilitation centre adjacent to a mini zoo in Patiala. This will be the first such centre in the State,” Chief Wildlife Warden of Punjab R.K. Luna said.

According to Mr. Luna, the monkey population has reached 50,000 in the State and around 10,000 in Patiala. The aim is to target monkeys that pose a serious threat to people in Punjab, as the animals move into towns and cities looking for food. They usually create havoc by chasing and attacking residents, injuring them and snatching their belongings.

Complaints with civic bodies and Divisional Forest Offices have been pending mainly because there is no place the animals can be kept after they are caught.

Jasmer Singh, DFO Wildlife, Patiala, said: “Once the centre is functional, forest officials in Punjab will be able to catch monkeys from residential areas and send them across so that they can be taught to be decent and live socially with other monkeys.”

Bad behaviour
Officials accuse them of a variety of bad behaviour from terrorising children to destroying property. Macaque monkeys destroy TV antennae, tear down clothes lines and damage scooters and motorcycles.

“Besides people landing in hospitals after encounters with monkeys, the animals also often get hurt when house owners try to chase them away or keep them out by using live electric wires and other means,” Mr. Luna added.

Minister for Forests and Wildlife Tikshan Sud said the case file had been sent to the Central Zoo Authority and a location on Dakala Road in Patiala identified.

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Brides purchased, then exploited in Haryana, Punjab

Decades of unchecked sex-selective abortions have made the once fertile States of Punjab and Haryana suffer a drought of brides, making human-trafficking a lucrative and expanding trade. Often projected as a voluntary marriage, every year, thousands of young women and girls are lured into the idea of a happy married life with a rich man in Punjab or Haryana. Sadly most ‘purchased brides’ are exploited, denied basic rights, duplicated as maids, and eventually abandoned.

Only solution

With skewed sex ratios (Punjab-893, Haryana-877 females per 1,000 males) it is impossible to find a bride for each man, and ‘importing a bride’ has become the only solution. Also, with the tradition of not marrying within the same village and eligible girls marrying the wealthiest suitor, often NRIs, the majority of men in villages are left unmarried and often addicted to drugs.

“What is wrong in marrying a poor girl? I demanded no dowry, rather her family’s social and economic position has improved,” said an agitated Prakash Singh of Harsola village in Kaithal (Haryana), when asked why he married a 19-year-old girl hailing from a poor village from Assam. Interestingly, Mr. Singh has three brothers and no sister; he does not believe that there is any dearth of women in his village.

“There were no eligible girls in our village or social circle. After my son turned 35, we realised that unless we accept a non-Punjabi girl he would never be married and no one would carry the family name forward; so we had to make arrangements,” said Mahinder Singh, an elderly man in Pohlo Majra, Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab). The migration might seem to be a measure to correct the gender imbalance, but the ultimate goal is producing sons.

“Marriage to an imported bride makes caste, language and culture immaterial as long as the price is paid to the girl’s family and a male child is born. Depending on the age, looks and virginity of a girl, grooms pay anywhere from Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 300,000,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini, a non-governmental organisation working on the issue.

The obvious need gives the practice a social sanction and makes it look like a social service: Sushma Kaur of Pohlo Majra, who married a Sikh man 15 years elder to her, calls it a ‘blessing.’ “My uncle arranged the match, it was difficult in the beginning because of the new language and the culture, but my husband took care of me…My village in Bengal has an excess of females and no one to care for them, and it is a great service if I can arrange a matrimonial match. Ever since I got married, 10 years ago, over a dozen girls have followed me from Bengal,” she says with pride. She added that none of the girls were ill-treated; however, it was not unheard of.

A field study on the impact of sex ratio on the pattern of marriages in Haryana by Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra covering over 10,000 households, revealed that over 9,000 married women in Haryana were bought from other States. The study which covered 92 villages of Mahendragarh, Sirsa, Karnal, Sonepat, and Mewat districts said that most of the people accepted it as a common practice, but denied having bought a bride in their family.

Most untraceable

“In every village there are over 50 girls that have been bought; some of them as young as 13 and a very small percentage of the ‘sold for marriage’ women are found to be living a married life. Most are untraceable or exploited or duplicated as domestic servants by the agents or men who marry/buy them. There are also instances of girls being resold to other persons after living a married life for a few years,” the study added.

Most of them come from poverty-ridden villages of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa, because their families need money; and despite the prevalence of the dowry system in the north Indian states, men are ready to pay for a wife.

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Plight of the HIV+ widow

Vrinda Sharma

CHANDIGARH: “The only thing worse than being HIV+ is being an HIV+ widow,” says 26-year-old Pooja Thakur, who lost her husband, a truck driver in Punjab, to AIDS five years ago. Pooja is one of the many widows in the State who are shunned by society once they contract HIV from their husbands.

Compared to the social stigma faced by such women, the medical complications of the disease look frivolous. Apart from being considered a “bad omen” at social functions, most such women are treated as outcasts by their own families.

“My in-laws blamed me for my husband’s death and threw me and my three sons, two of whom are HIV+, out on the street. Because of the social stigma, no one provides shelter or job to an HIV+ person and the females, especially young widows, usually fall prey to sexual abuse,” says Pooja who works as president of the Chandigarh Network of Positive People (CNP+).

While a few of these women manage to find some source of employment, usually as maids by hiding their disease, many fall prey to prostitution. “I lost my husband and I was denied my right over what he left behind. Worst, for no fault of mine, I too had HIV. At first I thought of committing suicide but there was no one to look after my children, so I left the village in Fazilka and went to Ludhiana, but poverty drove me to prostitution,” rues a 26-year-old mother of two whose husband contracted the disease by sharing infected needles.

According to the National AIDS Control Organisation, over 17 per cent of HIV/AIDS cases in Punjab are caused by sharing of infected needles, the national percentage for which is barely 3 per cent.

According to the CNP+ Programme Coordinator, “The national training module for prevention of transmission of HIV to children, 2002, is flawed because there is no consideration of the socio-economic variables of rural India. All efforts of the government agencies are focused at getting photos clicked and putting up a colourful exhibition followed by lunch and tea for the guests and VIPs.”

According to a senior official of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society, over 50,000 people visited the Red Ribbon Express, a special train run to create awareness among the masses about HIV/AIDS. The official added that the Government grants widows a pension and free education to all children irrespective of their HIV status. The pension received by a widow, HIV+ or not, is Rs.250 per month, which comes once in a few months, according to Meenaj Vij, who has been HIV+ for the past 14 years.

“Though the first few years are difficult, each widow learns to live for the sake of her children. A few lucky ones have a supportive family or a job, but even the unlucky ones carry on hoping for a better future for their children,” she adds.

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nurses migrating to greener pastures

HANDIGARH: Despite having over a hundred nursing schools and colleges, Punjab is facing an acute shortage of nursing staff in its hospitals, as most nurses tend to choose better pay packages abroad.

The required ratio for nurses is 1:3 in the general ward and 1:1 in ICU, but at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research here the ratio of nurses in the general ward is 1:27 and in ICU, it stands at 1:6. There are 1,664 sanctioned posts of nursing staff, but there is a 30-40 per cent shortage.

While some nurses are on long maternity leaves, most of them are preparing for the Nursing License Exam to avail themselves of opportunities abroad.

A shortage of skilled medical staff in many developed countries, the prospects of high pay and social respect are reasons enough for underpaid, overworked nurses in Punjab to queue up at English-speaking tuitions and apply for vacancies abroad.

Low pay structure is a major reason behind the migration. The placement consultant of one of the leading nursing colleges here said: “The difference in the pay is reason enough for many as they can earn anything between Rs.16-18 lakh annually in foreign countries, while in India their pay is less than Rs.2 lakh. Also, a huge number of nurses close to retirement try to go abroad with the goal to settle their families abroad.”

It is a normal practice for nurses to get enrolled with private academies around the city to upgrade their diploma to an internationally accepted nursing degree.



After upgrading her diploma to a nursing degree acceptable in Australia, Shalini Mehta is all set to for the IELTS exam.

“The nurses who have settled in countries such as New Zealand and Italy tell us that the amount of respect they get there is unmatched. Although we work more than a doctor, in we are paid less and respected even lesser.”

Inderjeet Kaur Walia, the Principal of the PGIMR’s National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE), the country’s premier nursing institute, admits that the ambition to settle abroad is a goal for many students enrolled in the B.Sc. nursing course.

“The students who do not get absorbed here do look for placements outside. Overseas placement is lucrative but I am sure it is not the only aim, many work as nurses because it is a noble profession viewed with respect.”

She added: “The mandatory exam for nurses in U.S.A., CGFNS (Commission of Graduate of Nursing School), is hardly an exacting test for good students of NINE.”

One of the students from NINE said that last year, 30 to 40 nurses from the PGI went abroad on very good pay packages. Indian nurses have a reputation of being sincere and hardworking. Even this year, many nurses have gone to Ireland on a good salary.

Chandigarh-based INSCOL Academy of Nursing, which has a tie-up with the University of Sunderland in the U.K., offers job placement in the U.K. and the U.S.A. on an average salary of Rs1.5 lakh a month.

While opportunities are many, it is important to exercise caution. They must pay attention to the terms and conditions of the middlemen. “Many a times, the nurses are required to pay 40 to 50 per cent of their salaries for two to three years under the contract,” said a placement consultant from the city.

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married to an NRI- dream or a nightmare!



CHANDIGARH: A quick engagement, followed by a massive wedding, a huge dowry and a honeymoon, after which the NRI husband flies out of India while the wife waits for her visa….. That’s how thousands of Punjabi women describe their plight. According to NGOs working in the Doaba region of Punjab, over 20,000 girls have not seen their husbands after their honeymoon.


“Eighty per cent of the marriages to NRI men in Punjab are doomed, as the husbands never return to take their brides,” says Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, the lone crusader for the helpless NRIwives.


The desire to go overseas gets manifested during the wedding season when parents force girls to marry a man whom she barely knows. If all goes well, the girl’s family feels proud of her Canada-based daughter, but if the marriage fails then the girl becomes a pariah in her own family.


These deserted wives become dependents on their parents and their misery is further compounded if they are pregnant or have children. Ravinder Kaur’s ten-year-old son has never seen his father. It is believed that he went back to Vancouver and remarried.


“We got married in 1995. He was here for four months and then he left promising me that he would send for me. I tried to contact him thereafter but all the addresses were wrong, the relatives were liars and today I am a helpless burden on my family. There is no law to help me or ensure that more women don’t get trapped,” she says, pleading to the girls of Punjab to stop dreaming about the US or Canada.


The phenomenon of runaway grooms and holiday wives has existed for over two decades and affected three generations — parents, daughters and the children. The Punjab-based Lok Bhalai Party estimates that the 20,000 cases of abandoned wives prove that the phenomenon has attained the spectre of organised crime. Over the last few years, the party has taken over 1,100 cases of abandoned wives to court.


Many girls, who go to the US or Canada hoping to live a happy life, realise that their husbands are already married or they end up being treated as domestic servants. “After waiting for my husband for over a year I decided to claim the life I was promised, so I went to his house in Toronto and I was devastated to find that he had two children. Despite the social stigma, I returned home, filed for divorce and started my life afresh because I was too young to stop living,” said a 29-year-old engineer, working in Amritsar.


“Although the alliance was proposed by a family friend, we checked every single detail of the boy and his family, then we arranged a court marriage, and after the formality of visa papers was done, we did the anand karaj (Sikh marriage),” says a retired army officer in Chandigarh whose 25-year-old daughter married an NRI from Canada last December. Baljinder Kaur, who runs Shadi Point, one of the oldest marriage bureaus in Ludhiana, says that due to the large number of NRI fraud marriages she had to double-check the identity of the groom and his family. “We keep a copy of the groom’s passport and residence proof but we always caution the girl’s family to cross-check his education, occupation and most importantly criminal record and marital status,” she adds.


Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal recently announced his decision to appoint an officer of the rank of ADGP to deal with such cases on top priority, adding that they would soon be settled within a time frame to ensure justice.


According to Chandigarh-based sociologist and women’s rights activist Jyoti Seth, the issue of bride abandonment is rooted in the false notions of wealth and well-being in an NRI life.

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declining sex ratio forces ‘import’ of brides

CHANDIGARH: Declining sex ratios have compelled farmers of Punjab to “import” brides from states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh leading to large-scale trafficking of women in the State. Usually, the girls are between 12 and 17 years of age.

“There isn’t any choice. Either you buy a bride or remain a bachelor who has no sons to inherit his property,” says Malkeet Singh (27) of Fatehgarh Sahib district. Scarcity of marriageable girls in his village, 40 km from here, compelled him to shop for a bride. He followed in the footsteps of his uncles and paid Rs.25,000 for his wife from a poverty-ridden village in Bihar.

According to the 2001 census, Punjab has a sex ratio of 793 girls for 1,000 boys. Fatehgarh Sahib has the country’s worst sex ratio of 754 girls for 1,000 boys (0-6 age bracket).

“Decades of sex-determination tests followed by female foeticide have resulted in an even more shameful sociological phenomenon wherein women have been reduced to son-producing machines. Women who fail to produce sons are sent back, sold or abandoned,” says Manvinder Kaur, Reader at the Centre for Women Studies, Punjab University.

No data is available on the number of girls trafficked into Punjab, but every village has a number of “bought brides”.

The trade is being carried on by the second and third generation victims. Malkeet’s aunt, Kusum Devi, also from Bihar, managed his alliance. “Marrying their daughters is a relief for the families, especially when they receive money instead of having to pay a dowry.”

According to Ameer Sultana of the Centre for women Studies at Punjab University: “Girls who are bought from poor homes are never considered equal. They have no rights and even after many years she knows that she is a commodity, which is used and often shared by all the men in the family.”

According to Ms. Kaur, “The females trafficked into this region will not correct the sex ratio as they are meant to produce only males. Education is not a solution as most of the foeticide cases reported are of educated women. We need a massive drive to make people aware of the ground realities because both tradition and technology have started to favour female foeticide. Going by the rate at which girls are going missing from Punjab and Haryana they would be a rare sight soon.”

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heros and non heros of Punjab

CHANDIGARH: “If a soldier dies in action a minute past midnight of January 1, 1999, his family members are entitled for various monetary benefits and government jobs. But if another soldier in the same operation sacrifices his life a minute before the midnight, there is nothing for him,” said son of a Colonel who died during Operation Rakshak in 1995. Punjab’s policy of ‘honour and gratitude’, which was formulated to offer monetary support for the kin of martyrs, fails to recognise the martyrdom of those who laid down their lives before January 1, 1999. The policy defines ‘war hero’ as a soldier killed or disabled in action post January 1, 1999 and hence extends monetary benefits and government jobs to the relatives of only. The soldiers, who died during the operation Rakshak, but before the Cut- off time drawn by the policy, are not war hero or martyr but ‘soldier killed in action.” According to the Punjab Sainik Welfare Board, there are more than 1,500 soldiers from the state who have died in action before the 1999. According to the Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Brig. I S Gakhal, “The government had to draw a line somewhere, if we try to trace sacrifices made by Punjabi soldiers then we will have to go up to World War I and II. How back can we go?” Known as the “sword arm of Indian Army”, the state of Punjab has seen a decrease in the recruitments in the Indian Army, while the Sainik Board attributes this to consumerism and lust of the private sector, families who wait that their martyrs be recognized, blame it on the discouraging policies. Gakhal added that those who sacrificed their lives for the country no lesser martyrs and we respect them, “We have send a composite report and requested that all the soldiers who have died after 1917 may be given the same benefits. Now it is for the government to respond.” In the present form the policy completely ignores the sacrifices made by soldiers killed or disabled in action before January 1, 1999. According to the kin of a ‘soldier killed in action’, “The date of sacrifice can’t define whether a soldier is a war hero or not. The merit of the sacrifice cannot be done away with by quoting a date.”

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flood turned biharies to punjab- their second home

Bihar holds Punjab up

As the flood waters force mass evacuation in Bihar, the railway stations of Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jullander are flooded with the migrants who have come to back to their second home- Punjab.

Jeevan lal reached the Ludhiana station a week back with 8 others from his family on the Barauni-Amritsar Janseva Express. He considers himself to be lucky as he could catch the train and bring his family along, “we had no where else to go. I worked here for over eight years. now this city is our second home,” Trains which come from Bihar to Punjab, especially Amritsar-Saharsa (Bihar) Garib Rath which comes three times a week, come overloaded and return back more o less empty, said one of the railway booking officials at Ambala Railway Station.

Although there are some who don’t know where to go most have been to the cities before and are looking for old employers to find jobs. “We decided to come back because water has ruined everything there. We don’t know when the situation will improve,” said Kumar Mahesh, who works at the industrial area in Chandigarh. He brought most of his friends from Gopalganj along with him, most of who are hoping to find employment here.

In the last year workers, particularly those in the skilled category, left in large numbers, leading to a shortage of 25-30 per cent in most enterprises. The out migration from Punjab has been explained on the basis of NREGS and the anti- Bihar emotion but the arrival would provide a solution to the problem of acute labour shortage that industry and agriculture in the state.

Bihar is said to be the ‘muscle’ behind the food basket of India. The labour shortage badly affected wheat lifting operations in the just concluded Rabi season and the labour intensive rice production hit hard in the states like Punjab and Haryana.

Owner of a seven acre farm near Ludhiana, Surjeet Man said that the migrant labour is indispensable for Punjab, “No work can go on without them. Today there is hardly any Punjabi working in the farms or factories of Punjab. From rickshaw pullers to industrial workers all are from Bihar and U.P. Over 90 per cent of the agricultural labour comes from Bihar. Last year I was paying up to three times the wages to employ labour because Bihari men were leaving the state.”

According to Dayal Singh, a fifth generation Bihari residing in Mohali, “The labour from Bihar was brought by the British to lay the railway track and build the Kathunangal canal. Most of the labourers decided to settle in Punjab. Today we are as much Punjabis as anyone else.”

In a study by Punjab Agricultural University’s Department of Economics and Sociology (with a sample size of 240 migrants, 120 local labourers and 120 farmers) 81% of migrants reported a change in the language they speak, the food they eat and the clothes they wear. Pegged at more than 10 lakh in a city of about 50 lakh people, there is one migrant from UP or Bihar for every five Punjabi.

Interestingly, in similar studies in 1978-79 and 1983-84, only 33% and 40% of migrant labourers had reported a noticeable change in their language. In the last survey, however, the change in language went up to 76%. Also, 84% of respondents reported a change of preference from the traditional favourite rice to wheat. Similarly, 88% had switched from dhoti to pyjama-kameez.

The influx of Bihari population has affected not just the industry and agriculture but the entertainment also. In Ludhiana, which accounts for about 60% of Bhojpuri film’s entire collection in north India, some single screen cinema halls on the verge of closure, Bhojpuri films have acted like a life saver.


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Punjab’s postal service to sell tickets, mutual funds

Punjab Postal service will be tying up with banks and insurance companies to sell their products through the post’s network to earn revenue of over Rs. 200 crore in 2008-09. Chief Postmaster General Prithvi Raj Kumar said, “We are taking several steps this year in order to attain total revenue of over Rs. 200 crore which will allow us to reach a break even point from our operations in Punjab.”

Revealing the initiatives to be taken to improve the earnings from postal services, he said, “The department is focusing on entering into agreement with banks, insurance companies and mutual funds to sell their products through its network in a bid to jack up its income. In addition to it, the department has also tied up with Indian Railways for reservation and selling of tickets through its branches, expected to start within two months,” he said.

Kumar added that the postal department in Punjab earns back only 82 per cent revenue of its total expenditure incurred on postal operations, “We are still not able to recover 18 per cent of our expenditure from operations in Punjab. Last year postal department reported a deficit of Rs. 34 crore with total revenue of Rs. 155 crore.”

According to Kumar, postal departments of Maharashtra and Haryana are operating above the break even point at 103 per cent each and after the agreements Punjab will be the third state to break even its revenue.

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