Paper leak: Unearth the scam

The news item regarding cancellation of Class X and XII examinations by the Punjab School Education Board following leakage of question papers is shocking. This episode is a clear manifestation of the death of public morality.

“I had not thought death had undone so many”, laments T.S. Eliot in “The Waste Land”. The expanding sterility and dwindling store of faith will finally catch up with the human species and its symptoms are already there in abundance. This shock will soon be over once another earthquake shocks the sociosphere, for there are skeletons and skeletons up the sleeves of time, only waiting in the wings.

I sympathise with the small minority of people who believe in uprightness, values and morality. I would like them to come together and punish the violators of public faith by publicly exposing them, by publishing their photographs in the newspapers along with their dirty deeds.



The Board Chairman, who had always upheld good traditions, must be an unhappy man today. If he shows guts and decides to unearth this unholy scam, he will find thousands of people on his side. The Board, whose reputation has taken a nosedive, will have to be salvaged from the oozy waters by bringing the guilty to book.

Dr J.S. ANAND, Bathinda

Reaching a VVIP on mobile

Mobile phone is a blessing for many but a problem for others. I don’t have one for my use. I had a bitter experience the other day. I wanted to speak to a VVIP about an urgent problem. I rang him up at his residential office at about 9 am. This VVIP has two phones both of which do not work! A call from a landline to a mobile is expensive. Left with no alternative, I rang up on his mobile more than once.

First there was response but the connection was cut off. Then I tried 3-4 times, the last one at 11.45 am. Every time I got the coded message that the mobile had been switched off. Ten minutes earlier, I rang up at his office. His PA replied: “Sahib comes to the office at 4 pm or so. You may contact him on his mobile”. I told him my experience with his mobile. He agreed to connect me with the VVIP “when he would be in his office at 4 pm or so”. As indicated earlier, I made the last try on his mobile immediately after this with the same result.

VVIPs’ mobiles have made the phones of ordinary people very costly because the former are at government cost and, therefore, they don’t need to use them. But what about people like me who fail to reach them?

SATYA PAL DANG, Chheharta (Amritsar)

Nuclear powers

Apropos of the news item “Accept India, Pak, Israel as N-powers, says Kasuri” (March 12), I don’t agree with the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s statement that India, Pakistan and Israel should be accepted as nuclear powers. Their nuclear arsenal has grown out of clandestine acquisition of nuclear components, cheating treaties and trust reposed on them by unsuspecting countries who gave them nuclear power stations for use for peaceful purposes.

Moreover, neither India, Pakistan nor Israel has given representation to minorities in their respective nuclear command and control systems. Nuclear weapons in the hands of the bigoted majority in these countries, for use against religious hatred amongst them, would create havoc in South Asia and Middle East. I feel, the nuclear strength acquired by these countries through illegitimate means should not be legitimised.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, Former MP (Lok Sabha), Quilla S. Harnam Singh, Fatehgarh Sahib

INTACH’s role

This has reference to Brij Bedi’s letter “Heritage buildings” (March 12). His charge that the Punjab unit of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage is not playing its role properly is incorrect. INTACH, an NGO, provides expertise in the field of heritage conservation. It also functions as a pressure group to protect historical properties and sites.

However, as it is not a department of the government, it cannot give directives to any agency to preserve or conserve a heritage property. It is, at best, a body of concerned citizens and experts working according to a defined and set policy.

In Punjab, INTACH has taken many initiatives — saving the Qila Mubarak in Patiala, persuading the Punjab government to declare Ram Bagh in Amritsar as a protected precinct and the proper upkeep of Jallianwala Bagh. INTACH also sought directions from the Supreme Court on the solid waste dump point, Ajahabal Road, Amritsar, coordinated with the SGPC, Punjab and Central governments for presenting the case of Golden Temple to UNESCO for world heritage status and raised the issue of saving the Saragarhi Memorial School, Amritsar, from demolition.

It has also prepared heritage walk brochures and organised seminars and workshops. INTACH needs the support of all citizens in its endeavours.

SUKHDEV SINGH, Punjab State Convener, INTACH, Amritsar

Pensioners’ grouse

Despite financial crunch, Punjab MLAs have again been given a significant but indirect hike in their salaries. On March 16, the State Assembly passed the Punjab Legislative Assembly (Salaries and Allowances of Members) Amendment Bill, 2004, authorising the state government to pay income-tax on the salaries of MLAs.

As it is, Punjab’s Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker besides the Leader of the Opposition are entitled to this perk. However, pensioners have been denied this benefit despite the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission’s recommendation to refund the income-tax paid by the state government pensioners.


Promises galore

Campaigning is hotting up for the ensuing elections. This time too, tall promises are being made by every political party to woo voters, little realising how these will be fulfilled. For instance, the downtrodden are assured of justice and the educated unemployed are promised jobs in the government or in the private sector.

One does not know why adequate efforts were not made for the last many years to set things right and what new strategies the Congress or the BJP are going to adopt. How long will we be taken for a ride by the political parities?

B.R. DHAND, Mansa

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