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MIGRANTS 'CHANGING' PUNJAB'S DEMOGRAPHY


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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

Migrants ‘changing’ Punjab’s demography

Amarjit Thind

Tribune News Service

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031215/ldh1.htm#4

Ludhiana, December 14

“The mass influx of migrants into Punjab is a serious threat to the identity of Sikhs and there is great need to take up this issue in earnest. If we do not see the writing on the wall, a clash between the two communities is imminent in the near future,†said Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, a panch of the Khalsa Panchayat. He said large-scale migration was changing the demographic map of Punjab, a state which was created especially for Punjabis. “Not many want to admit that this is happening, but the fact is that in a majority of the cities, the deciding vote is cast by migrants.â€

He said the day was not far when the ground situation in the North-East would be replicated here also. Jobs were shrinking and whatever blue-collar jobs were available were being cornered by migrants. “All trains passing through Punjab are full of migrants and for the uninitiated it seems as if all of UP and Bihar is on the move to Punjab. Railway stations and bus terminuses are choked with migrants. So are the shanties coming up on the outskirts of every town in the state,†he pointed out.

Mr Channi said more than 10 lakh ration cards of migrants had been made so far and their number was rising every day. Similarly, all daily wage and contract jobs in milk plants, PUDA sites, rail coach factory and other such institutions had gone to migrants.

On the other hand, educated and semi-educated Punjabi youth were selling their meagre landholdings to migrate to greener pastures abroad. This was due to the inability of the government to create jobs in the state. The backlash of the North-East was due to these reasons, he added.

“Ironically, the antecedents of Punjabis are screened in whichever state they migrate to, but we are not paying any attention to thousands of people who are settling in the state every day. The rising crime graph and the arrest of migrants for heinous acts is a pointer towards the crises we are hurtling towards. A perusal of police files shows that the migrants are involved in distributing drugs and intoxicants. Gunrunning, too, is another avocation practised by the migrants,†he said.

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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

Dal Khalsa’s wake-up call on migrants’ influx

Tribune News Service

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031215/punjab1.htm#3

Amritsar, December 14

Expressing concern over the ever-increasing influx of migrant labour from UP and Bihar the radical Sikh outfit, Dal Khalsa, today decided to publish a “White Paper†showing crimes committed by them.

At a seminar, organised by the Dal Khalsa here today, it said it was a ‘wake-up call’ as the influx of migrant labour had caused serious socio-economic-cultural ramifications in the state. The Dal Khalsa warned that if the problem was not tackled immediately it would lead to anarchy and unrest in the state. “We are witnessing the explosive situation that has now developed in the northeast and Maharashtra. The Dal Khalsa alleged that certain political parties had been encouraging migration due to vote bank politics.

Quoting from the studies conducted by Punjab Agricultural University, the Dal Khalsa alleged that the origin of current migration could be traced back to the days of Green Revolution, however, the number of the migrant labour had increased manifold in the post-militancy period. The Dal Khalsa alleged that more than 22 lakh migrants had settled permanently in various parts of the state. It says that the migrants were earning about Rs 3000 crore annually and out of which they were sending back two-third of their earnings to their native places. Another study conducted by Professors of PAU stated that around 55 per cent migrants had expressed willingness to settle in Punjab permanently whereas this figure was only 11 per cent in 1983-84. With the result spirit behind the creation of Punjabi Suba stood defeated.

The Dal Khalsa leaders including Mr Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, working president, Mr Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, vice-president and Mr Kanwarpal Singh, secretary general alleged that it was the ploy of the BJP and Congress to reduce Sikhs in minority in Punjab by bringing migrants in Punjab. The Dal Khalsa said that the outfit would make a documentary film on the activities of the migrants.

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