The total media fraternity and Punjab Government today paid glowing tributes to Hindustan Times Principle Correspondent Mr. Jasdeep Singh Malhotra (41) in a condolence meeting held at Punjab Press Club Jalandhar and vowed to carry forward the unfinished task of Mr. Malhotra with renewed vigour. It may be added that Mr. Malhotra died on Sunday in a fatal accident on Jalandhar-Pathankot Road in a small stretch of road in Himachal Pradesh.
Bikram Singh Majithia Information and Public Relations Minister specially came from Chandigarh to participate in the condolence meeting and recalled his unusual associations with Jasdeep who passionately pursued the stories of Public Interest till its logical conclusion. Mr. Majithia said that he was the saddest person on the earth on the irreparable loss of his friend Jasdeep and he would continue to miss his pointed and aggressive questions in media interactions. He said that it was matter of great emotional loss for him as Jasdeep continued to pursue him till he was able to extract version from him and promise sometime to carry forward the task of environment education at school level.
Mr. Majithia said that when he became Public Relations Minister, he asked the Department to work out an institutionalized system of social security for media fraternity as they always have to remain mobile that may result in an accident. He said that the earlier practice of approaching Chief Minister every time there was any tragedy with any member of media fraternity had its inherent flaws as Chief Minister is also bound by rules and regulations while announcing grants for private persons. He said that he introduced Rs. 5 lacs accident insurance cover for all accredited journalist and it is just because of that accident insurance cover that we have been able to get a claim of Rs. 5 lacs from United India Insurance Company within 24 hours and Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today handed over that cheque to the family of Mr. Jasdeep. He said that now he has expended the scope of this insurance scheme by including all yellow card journalists in this scheme. He also announced that a committee has been constituted by the department to review the conditions for yellow card journalist so that more deserving journalists could be given yellow cards.Recalling the unique personality of Mr. Jasdeep Singh Malhotra Mr. Majithia said that he was different from crowd and known for his special aggressive and passionate questioning. He said that Jasdeep always loved to grill political personalities with complex data. He called upon younger journalists to carry forward the socially relevant journalism of Jasdeep.
Expressing concern over undue sensationalism done by a section of media in the case of unfortunate accident of Jasdeep Mr. Majithia said that members of fourth pillar of democracy should always act responsibly. He said that accident occurred in Congress ruled Himachal Pradesh and Punjab government was in regular touch with Himachal Pradesh Police investigating the case and said that Punjab government would continued to apprise Punjab Press Club regarding the updates of investigation. He decried the lowly attempt of Congress party to politicize the unfortunate accident without understanding the fact that the accident occurred in Congress ruled state. Mr. Majithia said that as a President of Youth Akali Dal, he has handed over a cheque of Rs. 2 lacs to family of Mr. Jasdeep Singh Malhotra besides Rs. 5 lacs cheque given by Punjab Govt. he said that Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal had himself gone to the residence of to hand over this cheque and he has deputed Mr. Jangveer Singh Media Advisor to Deputy Chief Minister to pursue other demands of the family.Mr. Majithia also handed over a cheque of Rs. 5 lacs to Mr. Major Singh President Punjab Press Club for revamping the Press Club. Earlier Mr. Pawan Kumar Tinu Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Gurcharan Singh Channi, District President SAD, Major Singh President Punjab Press Club, Mr. Satnam Singh Manak on behalf of SAFMA, Mr. Jatinder Pannu, Mr. Majoj Tripathi, Mr. Rajiv Bhaskar, Mr. Surinder Kumar, Mr. I.P.Singh and Mr. Dinesh Dhall also paid glowing tributes to Mr. Jasdeep Singh Malhotra.