Monday, May 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Women can do symbolic seva

THE Sikhs will be inclined to agree to the views of Ms Paramjit Kaur Tiwana (May 21) that seva has to be performed and not snatched. The overwhelming view among the Indian communities is that the Sikhs are more broad-minded and respectful towards their women, thanks to the teachings of their Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, who sayeth, “So Kion Manda Akhiye Jit Jamme Rajaan”. (It is wrong to ill-treat her who has given birth to kings).

The concept of gender equality, however, should not be stretched too far. A respectable distance is observed at home between the male elders in the family and the daughters and daughters-in-law. The elders never wish their ladies to be oddly dressed in their presence, which otherwise becomes a necessity, sometimes, for them for performing the domestic chores well. This message is understood by both sides and there lies the grace.

If women are allowed to perform seva in the Sanctum Sanctorum, they will have to jostle with men, and, in the process, their head gear and dupattas may go awry. It will then give rise to another controversy of defining the dress code for them.



To quote the answer of the Akal Takht Jathedar in an interview pointing towards the right of the Sikh women to do seva at Golden Temple by Ms Majinder Pal Kaur to support her viewpoint, is irrelevant as some issues are so delicate that a cryptic answer skips the implications involved therein.

Women may be allowed to touch the articles used in the seva, as a symbolic gesture of their will. They should, however, not raise a “non-issue” and utilise their energies in more constructive work.

Gursharan Singh Narula, Administrative Officer-North India,
Sikh Human Development
Foundation (USA), Ludhiana

Review the registration policy

THERE is growing concern among the people of Haryana about its development. Politicians make empty promises during the elections and, once elected, forget about them. Unfortunately, the people are not involved in the development process.

Panchkula, Faridabad and Gurgaon had once elevated Haryana to the world map. Presently, while only Gurgaon seems to be progressing, the other two cities are facing slump in developmental activity. Panchkula and Faridabad were once considered dream cities for people to settle. However, now there is virtually no house building activity there.

Two reasons can be adduced for this state of affairs. First, the registration fee for residential plots is as high as 15.5 per cent. This is, perhaps the highest in India, compared to the reasonable 6 per cent in Punjab and Chandigarh. The registration fee for a plot even in Sectors 25 or 26 in Panchkula is Rs 2,800 per sq metre. This is unprecedented. The result: people are losing interest to settle in the two cities.

The problem is that development of all other activities — commercial, industrial or recreational — is linked to this basic residential activity. Gurgaon is an exception because it has almost become a part of Delhi. In fact, it is often compared with the Delhi market. Its geographical position is also better than Faridabad.

Of course, the high registration fee is aimed at mobilising higher revenue to foot the wage bill of the overstaffed government employees and officers. But this will become counterproductive in the long run.

The state government should review its registration policy and fix reasonable fee so that people evince interest to settle in Panchkula and Faridabad. Clearly, this holds the key to the overall growth of the state.

Jagvir Goyal, Chandigarh



Ways of Punjab CM

Apropos of the editorial “Arrogance doesn’t pay” (April 25), I wonder why issues like the Chief Minister spending Rs 1.44 lakh from the state exchequer every day for his helicopter tours do not figure in the Vidhan Sabha. I have seen some officers cutting down their travelling expenses even while performing their duties, but look how the Punjab Chief Minister is functioning!

Why do our leaders forget their roles and responsibilities once they are elected? It is very disgraceful for a Chief Minister to join dharnas and agitations.

Narinder Kumar, Sheikhpur Bagh (Nawanshahr)

Woes of TV viewers

The Conditional Access System (CAS) which the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has hammered out will not be an effective safeguard against the exploitation of television viewers by cable operators. A top-box required to be installed for each TV set will cost Rs 7,000 or more. It will merely restrict reception from specified channels. Many people may not consider it worth their while to shell out such a huge amount.

Moreover, the device will not solve the problems of poor service and malfunctioning. Sometimes, cable operators snap connections without justification simply to cause harassment. The monopoly which they enjoy at present in their respective area leads to fleecing. The market forces will automatically come into play if there are competitors in each area.

We have witnessed edifying results of open competition in other sectors much to the advantage of the common man. Telecommunication and aviation are good examples. They jack up the charges frequently on one pretext or the other. The viewer has no other option but to pay through his nose willy nilly. Therefore, the crying need of the hour is to do away with the monopoly of cable operators and encourage competition.

Dr Priyanka Awasthy,  Chandigarh

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