By : Chanchal Manohar Singh,Editor, Indian Reporter and World NEWS : The meeting called by Mr Sarbjit Pandher, Correspondent, The Hindu, in his self-appointed capacity as Convener of the Advisory Committee of former Presidents of the Chandigarh Press Club only amounted to “no-confidence” in him (Sabjit Pandher) and Naveen Garewal (The Tribune), President of the Chandigarh Press Club..
At the meeting called on Monday (April 11, 2011) at 11.00. a.m. not even one person reached at the venue up to 11.40. a.m.
Then Mr Nalin Acharya, Secretary General of the Club, was requested to appeal to members through SMS to come and attend the said meeting. Then nearly 50 persons came. They included 25 to 30 from The Tribune (which has over 200 members of the Press Club) and as many as-20 out of 275 other members from other newspapers and news agencies and TV channels. Most members seemed disinterested. Out of a dozen Advisory Committee members besides Mr Pandher only Mr V. P. Prabhakar (former Tribune Chief Of Bureau) attended the meeting.
The meeting was started one hour and thirty minutes late. Although Mr Naveen Garewal, President of the Club came, no-one presided over the meeting. One member asked as to who was presiding over or chairing the meeting. Naveena Garewal was trying to create an impression that he had nothing to do with this meeting held in the Club to launch a campaign against the decision of the Tribune management. It was followed by Silence. Mr Pandher also sat in one corner on a lonely chair.
Through a resolution passed at this meeting an appeal was made to The Tribune management to “sort out” the issue of 17 suspended employees. No one raised any voice against the Tribune Trustees or Editors of the group of three newspapers.
While talking to members who had deliberately stayed away several of those present described the meet as a “flop”. It was only an “eye-wash” and served no purpose in helping the cause of the suspended Tribune employees or bringing them closer to the Tribune management.
Meanwhile, the number of those sitting on one-day relay hunger strike, across the road facing The Tribune Office declined from twelve to four. This shows that the agitation or protest is petering out. Only meetings with Trustees, Editors or the General Managers by “rowdies” can result in some solution of the problem
The Chandigarh Press Club is not a trade union. It is a place for leisure and pleasure of the journalists. Lakhs of rupees are gifted to the Chandigarh Press Club by Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments. The Club receives the money and encashes the cheques but utilization certificates are not given to the governments. Journalists are answerable to this question as to where the club money has gone? Why Press Club President or Secretary General is not issuing the utilization certificates to the respective Governments after receiving lakhs of rupees? One group of Journalists is controlling the Press Club for the last over 12 years.
Its members are a sharply divided lot. There are serious allegations of corruption against a few office-bearers/members of the Press Club and cases against them are pending in district courts and Punjab and Haryana High Court. The End