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Monday, December 27, 1999
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Power sector reforms in Haryana

POWER sector reforms in Haryana were initiated with great fanfare to improve electricity distribution system to ensure good quality continuous electric supply to consumers. Another objective was to insulate the management of various nigams from political influence and bureaucratic hold. Till date neither of the two objectives has been achieved. Unfortunately the management of these nigams, barring Haryana Power Generation Corporation, has fallen into hands of young bureaucrats who do not possess adequate technical wherewithal to handle highly technical projects.

Electrical power is the key to overall development of the state. During the last over 30 years, the HSEB has been under control of bureaucracy and the end result is there to be seen. The World Bank had offered to advance loan to the Haryana Government to take the HSEB out of the red by revamping it into different entities under management of professionals. Instead, senior technocrats and professionals have been made to play second fiddle to young bureaucrats. Then how can good results be expected!

A sort of vacuum has been created at CEs, SEs, Executive Engineers and Assistant Engineers level. These are the core officers for implementation of various schemes for uplift of electrical power system. As warranted by the necessity of creation of new charges of CEs, SEs, Xens and Sub Divisional Engineers under power sector reforms and also on account of retiring of superannuated engineers, early fresh recruitment of a large number of qualified engineers has become imperative. There may be overstaffing in certain clerical cadres but engineers and technicians are really in great demand.

More than six months have passed since the Haryana Government had notified the formation of four entities Viz HPGCL, HVPN, UHBVN and DHBVN but barring HPGCL, the entities have yet not started functioning independently. The second transfer scheme allocating staff to different nigams by the Haryana Government in July, 1999 has created widespread resentment amongst officers and staff as it is not without prejudice to their career prospects.

Taking a leaf out of the success story of HPGCL, under the control of a senior in-service technocrat, which has set records in generation of electricity ever since its inception about 18 months back, senior in-service technocrats should be made managing directors of other nigams too. The matter of final allocation of staff as per their representations should be finalised within a month on top priority to make these nigams independently functional otherwise to make available round the clock electric supply to people of Haryana will remain a distant dream.


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Name after marriage

We the women have made great progress all around, in all fields and are in no way lagging behind in any field. Somehow we have missed a great relevant aspect, that is the change of name and caste after marriage. Why should we not take up this angle also. This gives an impression and a feeling of inferiority. Why shouldn’t a man change name and caste after marriage. Fact is that a woman is not legally required to change name and or caste after marriage. It is only a tradition of such long standing, that we have just forgotten to take note of the fact. It is time we took notice and shed away this shackle of tradition, which looks so ugly and foolish in the present day. Educate society and do away with this tradition.

Also its legal offshoots need consideration and change of law. A child is required to put father’s name in all documents, after birth — right from the birth certificate, school course and any legal document. In fairness it should be either mother’s name required in all documents pertaining to child; as it is the mother who has the bigger role in birth and development of child; or it should be choice of the child, after a certain age, to have the right to use mother’s or father’s name, where required. In fact there need be no need to have any name besides the child’s on any document.


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Political vendetta

It is very upsetting to observe that with each passing day the Punjab Government is making a nosedive towards moral decline. Prior to the elections, the people of Punjab were promised a corruption free Government from the political pulpits by no other than Mr Parkash Singh Badal himself who is heading the present State Government. People feel misled by the utopian dreams. Little could they foresee that they were in for one of the worst ever misrules. This letter is prompted by the disturbing news items appearing almost daily in The Tribune regarding the unjust treatment meted out to the top brass of district administration of Bathinda.

It was very heartening to see an upright officer doing his utmost to unearth irrigation scam worth Rs 2.5 crore and it is sickening to find that such an honest attempt has met with political cloudburst in the shape of unseemly behaviour unbecoming of a minister. One wonders if other officers will ever dare to expose the rampant corruption emanating from political corridors.

In many of his recent public meetings, Mr Badal has publicly asked people to raise their hands with a view to punishing the corrupt and the guilty. Now that the custodians of law have themselves raised their hands in cold print, Mr Badal seems to have cut those very hands by transferring unceremoniously the officers. This smacks of political vendetta and deliberate attempt to hush up the truth. Is it your promised Ranjit Singh Rajya, Mr Badal? We hope this letter will stir the conscience or whatever is left of it in the political psyche.


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No LPG agency in Dera Bassi

During the past one decade Dera Bassi, a small town 18 km from the City Beautiful, has emerged as an industrial estate of the region. The population of the town has increased manifold.

However, there is no cooking gas agency here. People have to pay more than the actual price to get their domestic gas supply in Dera Bassi, or have to depend on other cities for the purpose.

Hundreds of the LPG users can be seen carrying gas cylinders on their two-wheelers on the national highway No 22 which can prove to be fatal.

The Ministry for Petroleum should look into the long-pending demand of the residents of the town at the earliest.

Dera Bassi


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