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Editorials | Article | Middle | Oped | Reflections

EDITORIALS

Officers, not gentlemen!
No medals for corruption in Services

O
ne
does not have to be an old-timer to recall the days when being a military officer was the guarantee of that person’s immaculate integrity and honesty. Leave alone the top echelon, any inappropriate act by even a junior officer was a rare occurrence. What a decline there has been during the past few years.

Karan and the King
India must save Nepal from itself

W
ith
the situation in Nepal spiraling out of control under the onslaught of the popular uprising, New Delhi has woken up to the fact that the principle of non-intervention cannot serve as an excuse for total inaction. The growing uncertainty has forced New Delhi to move into a higher gear of action.



EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Prudence is best policy
RBI Governor on the right track
The
Reserve Bank of India is engaged in a delicate juggling exercise aimed at ensuring adequate liquidity for growth on the one hand, and controlling inflation on the other. There are no interest rate hikes in the RBI’s annual policy announced on Tuesday. On the other hand, Governor Y.V. Reddy has made his intentions clear. The current annual growth in credit – read loans – at 30 per cent is unsustainable, and needs to be brought down slowly to around 20 per cent.

ARTICLE

Myanmar deserves attention
India’s dithering has helped China
by G. Parthasarathy

I
ndia’s
determination to follow an independent policy on issues of national security was amply demonstrated by the visit of President Abdul Kalam to Myanmar within a week of the visit of President George Bush to India. While the US and India now have an unprecedented measure of understanding on developing a stable balance of power in Asia, their approaches to relations with Myanmar have been radically different.

MIDDLE

April Fool (nahin) Banaya
by Ehsan Fazili

I
t
passed off peacefully and there was no “untoward incident”. I am talking about the April Fools or All Fools day. As a student of journalism at the AMU, Aligarh, the day was a unique experience for me two decades ago. Though I did not expect any of my friends to make me one, I was easily trapped. Many acquaintances passing by warned me against any such designs by one of my classmates. I did not agree and easily became one, making that evening unforgettable at least for myself.

OPED

Dam politics is pointless
Crores of people are benefiting from the Narmada dam
by G.S. Bhargava

T
he
Prime Minister has done well not to go along with Water Resources minister Saifuddin Soz and his collaborators who sought to stall the Narmada development project on the ground that rehabilitation of the oustees was not keeping pace with the dam construction work. In a statesmanlike gesture, Dr Manmohan Singh declined to rule in favour of stopping work on the project. Of course, Congress party functionaries, including MLAs and MPs from Gujarat, were up in arms against the Soz manoeuvre.

“Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”
by Anne Applebaum

T
o
my eye, they are lovely: Graceful, delicate, white against green grass and a blue sky. Last summer my children and I stopped specially to watch a group of them, wheels turning in the breeze.

Banur-Rajpura emerging as an institutional zone
by Pradeep Sharma

L
ong
dubbed an educationally backward area, the Banur-Rajpura belt is now emerging as a major professional educational centre. In fact, buoyed by the success of existing professional educational institutions, new players, particularly from the corporate world, are making a beeline for the area.

From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

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EDITORIALS

Officers, not gentlemen!
No medals for corruption in Services

One does not have to be an old-timer to recall the days when being a military officer was the guarantee of that person’s immaculate integrity and honesty. Leave alone the top echelon, any inappropriate act by even a junior officer was a rare occurrence. What a decline there has been during the past few years. Today, stories about acts of corruption by the officers of the three Services hit the headlines almost as frequently as by those of, say, the IAS and the IPS. What is more worrying, even officers of the rank of Brigadier and Major-General are found to be involved. At times, even the rations and petrol meant for troops in remote areas like Ladakh are found to have been pilfered, with the possible connivance of senior officers. At other times, there is the ugly spectacle of top Naval officers being involved in spying activities. All that is shaking the faith of the public in the uprightness of the Services.

Things have come to such a pass that now a Major-General of the Central Command has been found to be involved in “professional impropriety and financial misappropriation”, which in simple terms only means misuse of power and corruption. This case highlighted by The Tribune took place when he was serving as Sub Area Commander in Meerut earlier. What is all the more galling is the fact that the Brigadier posted there before him too is facing trial by a general court martial on similar charges. Why, senior army officers were found to be seeking favour in cash and as sexual favours in the Tehelka expose as well.

Such activities have become too frequent to be brushed aside as isolated aberrations. The authorities have to look deep to find out reasons behind this shocking decline. Greed is the obvious answer. But why have so many of them sold their conscience? Is it that they are emulating their civilian counterparts in the IAS and the IPS who often collaborate with politicians with flexible conscience? Men who wear uniform must always ensure that it does never get smudged. They have a reputation and a tradition to keep. They should be role models for others.
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Karan and the King
India must save Nepal from itself

With the situation in Nepal spiraling out of control under the onslaught of the popular uprising, New Delhi has woken up to the fact that the principle of non-intervention cannot serve as an excuse for total inaction. The growing uncertainty has forced New Delhi to move into a higher gear of action. Doubtless, New Delhi has been seeking to make King Gyanendra see reason ever since he all but dumped the constitution and assumed absolute executive powers. However, so far the Government of India was keeping a discreet profile lest its diplomatic activism to hasten revival of multiparty democracy be misconstrued. Therefore, the palace was kept engaged through the Indian Ambassador in Kathmandu while, at the same time, New Delhi kept up a dialogue with the leaders of Nepali political parties.

It is against this backdrop that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s appointment of Dr Karan Singh as his Special Envoy has to be seen. Nepal is very much an area of Indian interest and the force of recent developments —especially since the popular protests began on April 6 — have given rise to many concerns. The international community too expects New Delhi to engage more directly; not only for the restoration of democracy but also to prevent the kingdom being overrun by the Maoist rebels.

So, it is after much deliberation – not delay – that Dr Manmohan Singh has chosen Dr Karan Singh for a sensitive political mission. It would be presumptuous to speculate on the Special Envoy’s brief or anticipate his moves for de-escalating the conflict in Nepal. Yet, the signal reflected in Dr Karan Singh’s choice is that New Delhi’s prime concern is not to end, but to mend, the monarchy for meeting democratic demands and, thereby, pre-empt the turmoil taking an even more violent and precipitous turn. With this initiative, Dr Manmohan Singh is only responding, and appropriately so, to the compulsions of the situation. The international community, too, can be expected to throw its weight behind the mission on which hinges the democratic future of the Himalayan kingdom.
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Prudence is best policy
RBI Governor on the right track

The Reserve Bank of India is engaged in a delicate juggling exercise aimed at ensuring adequate liquidity for growth on the one hand, and controlling inflation on the other. There are no interest rate hikes in the RBI’s annual policy announced on Tuesday. On the other hand, Governor Y.V. Reddy has made his intentions clear. The current annual growth in credit – read loans – at 30 per cent is unsustainable, and needs to be brought down slowly to around 20 per cent. Interest rate hikes across the board might have squeezed liquidity where it is still needed. Instead, the “general provisioning requirement” has been raised to Re 1 for every Rs 100 banks lend beyond Rs 20 lakh, as against 40 paise earlier, on home, personal, capital market and commercial real estate loans.

That means costlier loans, but a soothing effect on the overheating in two sectors — equity and real estate. As Mr Reddy stated, “anything growing faster than the system is a potential risk” Rising asset prices — whether they are homes or commercial property – have been known to distort economic growth, and are undesirable. Some might feel that the widespread fear of overexposure in these sectors is unwarranted. But the RBI has chosen prudence, and wisely. The increase in risk weightage in exposure to commercial real estate, an area the RBI sees as more worrisome than housing, will also help. These measures will, in addition, have the desirable effect of banks being discriminatory in their lending.

Mr Reddy is bullish on growth, proffering an upward revision of real GDP growth at the 7.5 to 8 per cent mark. Global oil prices are an obvious area of concern – prices have now hit a record $72 a barrel with the Iran crisis. It seems Mr Reddy clearly has an eye on the global economy, as he feels that the “balance of risk is tilted toward global factors.” He goes further to state that India cannot remain out of step with the general climate of a tightening monetary policy. The RBI Governor may yet have to do more.
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Thought for the day

That action is best which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers. — Francis Hutcheson
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ARTICLE

Myanmar deserves attention
India’s dithering has helped China
by G. Parthasarathy

India’s determination to follow an independent policy on issues of national security was amply demonstrated by the visit of President Abdul Kalam to Myanmar within a week of the visit of President George Bush to India. While the US and India now have an unprecedented measure of understanding on developing a stable balance of power in Asia, their approaches to relations with Myanmar have been radically different. While the US has sought to isolate the military rulers of Myanmar and has used sanctions on Myanmar exports as a part of its coercive diplomacy, India has joined hands with its ASEAN partners in South-East Asia to seek to quietly persuade Myanmar’s rulers to progressively move towards a more representative government.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Myanmar President General Than Shwe in 2004 that he acknowledged that while the “transition to democracy was complex”, it nevertheless “offered the best possibilities of addressing problems both of political stability as well as economic development”. President Kalam’s approach, while in Myanmar, was similarly nuanced.

In a scholarly analysis in his book on “India and South-East Asia”, one of our foremost experts on South-East Asia, former diplomat Sudhir Devare, has devoted an entire chapter entitled “Myanmar: A challenging Frontier” to the crucial role of Myanmar in India’s quest for “strategic convergence” with its South-East Asian partners. Myanmar shares a 1600-km border with four insurgency-prone northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

Mr Devare describes how, as a result of astute Indian diplomacy, the Myanmar army has cooperated with India to fight Indian insurgent groups like ULFA, NSCN (K) and PLA in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2004. This has been of crucial importance to India primarily because Bangladesh becomes hyperactive in aiding separatist and Islamic extremist groups to operate in India whenever a Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government assumes office in Dhaka. Members of northeastern groups are infiltrated from Bangladesh into India through Myanmar.

Attempting to isolate Myanmar had disastrous consequences for our northeastern border security between 1988 and 1993. Narcotics smuggling and cross-border insurgencies increased rapidly. Moreover, China moved into the vacuum created by external ostracism and established strong economic and military ties with Myanmar. Things changed for the better after New Delhi undertook a process of extensive economic, diplomatic and regional engagement with Myanmar.

India has provided assistance to Myanmar in areas like telecommunications, information technology and higher education, and in setting up a Remote-Sensing and Data Processing Centre. India has also emerged as Myanmar’s largest export market, primarily because Myanmar has the potential to meet India’s ever-growing requirement for pulses and beans. The border trade that Myanmar has with India lags far behind similar trade with China primarily because of restrictive trade practices adopted by us. The bureaucracy in Udyog Bhavan and North Block that has no understanding of the ground realities on our borders would do well to visit China and study its border trade practices.

With Myanmar now a member of ASEAN, New Delhi’s earlier fears of that country becoming a satellite of China have eased. Myanmar is, in fact, set to become the “land bridge” linking India with the dynamic economies of its ASEAN partners. India has shown interest in developing transport corridors through Myanmar to Thailand, a move that will give Indian exports and tourists land access to South-East Asia and help in the economic development of the northeastern states.

After having constructed a road linking the township of Tamu on the Manipur border to the railhead in Kalemyo, India is now discussing the prospects of linking this road network through the ancient Myanmar Kingdom of Pagan to Mae Sot in Thailand. India has extended credits modernising the Myanmar railways and supplied rails and rolling stock, apart from assisting Myanmar in upgrading the Yangon-Mandalay sector of its railways. What is being envisaged is a trans-Asian rail network that would link Hanoi with New Delhi.

More importantly, with Bangladesh determined to deny transit facilities for our northeastern states, the construction of an inter-nodal road-water highway through Myanmar to the Bay of Bengal is under consideration. This project will provide Mizoram and the northeastern states access to the sea, bypassing Bangladesh. New Delhi’s efforts to make Myanmar a key hub for its “Look East” policy has been strengthened with the formation of the BIMSTEC grouping bringing together littoral and hinterland states of the Bay of Bengal in an endeavour to promote regional cooperation in trade, transportation, communications, counter-terrorism and energy.

Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal from SAARC and Myanmar and Thailand from ASEAN are set to become a free trade area by 2016 through the BIMSTEC grouping. This strategy envisages that while Myanmar retains close relations with China, it is not exclusively dependent on that country. What is thus being achieved through diplomacy is a viable balance of power in South-East Asia.

Over the past two years India’s Petroleum Ministry had been advocating an impracticable scheme of building a pipeline through Bangladesh to transport gas from Myanmar to India, from an offshore exploration project in which both ONGC and GAIL have equity stakes. This proposal was ill-conceived as Myanmar has deep suspicions of Bangladesh soil being used to promote Muslim separatism in its Rakhine province and Bangladesh was placing impossible demands on India on extraneous issues.

With India dithering and unable to develop a plan on how it would transport the much-needed natural gas, Myanmar entered into an agreement that would enable it to supply to China the gas for which Indian companies had invested money to China. President Kalam’s visit has resulted in a Myanmar understanding to supply gas from this project to India. India’s new Petroleum Minister, Mr Murli Deora, would be well advised to move expeditiously in finalising arrangements for transporting this gas to Tripura through a Myanmar-India corridor that bypasses Bangladesh territory.

It would be pertinent to remember that no military government, whether in Pakistan, Indonesia or Myanmar, relinquishes power suddenly. The Myanmar military government has constituted a “National Convention” to draft a new constitution for the country. Rather than join a western chorus of condemnation, India would be well advised, as Mr Sudhir Devare suggests, to work closely with Asian powers like China, Japan and South Korea, and the members of ASEAN to encourage a phased move towards a more representative government in Myanmar. After the Pakistan army has ruled the country for over half a century, General Musharraf has set up a National Security Council that will give his army an institutional say in national governance for the foreseeable future. Myanmar can, at best, be expected to evolve constitutionally in a similar manner.

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MIDDLE

April Fool (nahin) Banaya
by Ehsan Fazili

It passed off peacefully and there was no “untoward incident”. I am talking about the April Fools or All Fools day.

As a student of journalism at the AMU, Aligarh, the day was a unique experience for me two decades ago. Though I did not expect any of my friends to make me one, I was easily trapped. Many acquaintances passing by warned me against any such designs by one of my classmates. I did not agree and easily became one, making that evening unforgettable at least for myself.

One of my classmates, Gazanfar, wanted me to wait for him so as to visit the city police chief’s residence, whose wife was one of our classmates. The association had led to our relationship with the young SSP and we had had a couple of meetings with him. He was also keen to interact with journalism students. Thus, Gazanfar’s argument was easily accepted and I had a long wait for him outside a hostel of the MM Hall.

Finally hungry I biked away to the Shamshad market to have my dinner at a dhaba. Next morning as we approached the classroom it was all smiles if not laughter, for I had become the April Fool of the class. I was not at fault given my “innocence” with the jubilant atmosphere among the students of the AMU those days.

Eager to learn about the spirit behind the day, I experienced it once during my school days. I got an inland letter card costing 15 paisa from a shop in the village, which also housed the village post office. After writing the address of one of my cousins on the card, I wrapped it and handed over to him with the impression that it was a letter sent to him by post. When he opened it in my presence, for I waited to make April Fool of him, it was equally frustrating for me.

Having been elder to me by a couple of years, the cousin had least sympathies for I had wasted 15 paisa for this simple gesture. Very simple lessons learnt from our elders — not to waste time, energy and money.

But merry making and laughter are equally important for keeping yourself healthy, as laughter reduces chances of hypertension. And there are no restrictions on remaining happy.
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OPED

Dam politics is pointless
Crores of people are benefiting from the Narmada dam
by G.S. Bhargava

Medha Patkar
Medha Patkar

The Prime Minister has done well not to go along with Water Resources minister Saifuddin Soz and his collaborators who sought to stall the Narmada development project on the ground that rehabilitation of the oustees was not keeping pace with the dam construction work. In a statesmanlike gesture, Dr Manmohan Singh declined to rule in favour of stopping work on the project. Of course, Congress party functionaries, including MLAs and MPs from Gujarat, were up in arms against the Soz manoeuvre.

In this context, I can never forget Professor Yogendra K.Alagh’s uncharacteristic display of excitement when Narmada water reached the western parts of Gujarat, at the mouth of the water- starved Kutch. Whenever I saw women, including small girls of this area, trek long distances for a pitcher of water, I would look forward to the day when they would have enough water at their doorstep, he has said.

Now it has happened, he added, collecting a mouthful from the gushing flow at the early stages of the Narmada dam about three decades ago. Professor Alagh was Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and later of Nagaland University and also Minister of Power and Planning in the United Front Government headed by I.K. Gujral.

Prof. Alagh heads the Human Development Institute, which is naturally loath to see persons displaced from their homes and land.. But he is not for throwing the baby out with the bath water. He has edited a publication for which Medha Patkar contributed a chapter giving her point of view. The Narmada Project, when completed, would irrigate 1.8 billion hectares of land — a mind boggling prospect which compares well with Nehru’s shining legacy of the Bhakra Nangal. It will reach water to four crore people of Gujarat, including Saurashtra and Kutch, besides yielding millions of megawatts of electricity for Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

It is incomprehensible how power-starved Maharashtra has joined Soz and his colleagues in opting for stoppage of work on the Narmada dam. The people of the State, plagued by a perennial power shortage resulting in long hours of load shedding, would be shocked by the Government’s politicking. In the process, the three BJP-ruled States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat combined to defeat consensus by the Soz committee, not a healthy development!

Mr B.G. Verghese, eminent editor and research professor at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi, has written perceptively on harnessing river waters and overcoming problems of rehabilitation caused by displacement of populations in the construction of large dams. “Against the background that no more than 12 percent of India’s hydroelectric potential has been harnessed — a wasteful luxury for a country with massive electricity needs — we cannot but opt for projects like Sardar Sarovar and Narmada Sagar”. The rehabilitation issue constitutes the eye of the storm “over these projects,” he writes. The Narmada Waters Dispute Tribunal set out the parameters of rehabilitation and associated benefits in 1978.

The Supreme Court has since entered the picture. Verghese also points out that the rehabilitation package proposed by the Governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh — then under Congress party governance — is by no means ungenerous.”

But a dialogue between the authorities and the families being rehabilitated — so vital for continued co-operation — was not possible because professional agitators had got into the act. Now film personalities and others seeking ready publicity have compounded the problem. He reiterates the principle that insistence on adequate and wholesome compensation for displacement from homes and hearths and humane and accountable rehabilitation should not be carried to the point of impeding the project itself.

Against this background, hunger strikes and ‘fasts unto death’ have no place in disputes over rehabilitation of oustees from hydro projects. The Union Government and Soz as its incumbent representative should have ensured it before they intervened in the matter. If such tactics had been resorted to in Nehru’s time, monumental projects like Bhakra-Nangal, Damodar Valley on the Mahanadi in Orissa or Nagarjuna Sagar in Andhra Pradesh would never have been built. One has seen that at the time of the building of the Nagarjuna Sagar, historic Buddhist relics had been shifted from shore to shore for preservation. Even then, quite a few less important objects had to be abandoned. Nobody staged a dharna on the issue. Because of Nehru’s towering personality and the fact that the Congress party governed most of the affected States ensured smooth sailing for the gigantic ventures.

Incidentally, in another study confined to the Narmada, Mr B.G. Verghese has brought out the agitational profile of Medha Patkar. When the Maharashtra Government offered to rehabilitate the families uprooted by the Maharashtra section of the Narmada Sagar project on degraded forest area in the State, she objected that forest should not be encroached upon. That it was recognised as a degraded forest area did not move her. At the same time, she would insist on rehabilitation of the Adivasis in terrain congenial to their tradition and culture. In the process, the project work was held up for near about ten years! Ultimately, the authorities ignored her and completed the task, despite some unpleasantness. There was no Saifuddin Soz at that time!
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“Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”
by Anne Applebaum

To my eye, they are lovely: Graceful, delicate, white against green grass and a blue sky. Last summer my children and I stopped specially to watch a group of them, wheels turning in the breeze.

But there are those who dislike them. They say the modern windmill is worse than ugly. It is an aesthetic blight, a source of noise pollution, a murderer of birds and bats. The young windmill industry, they say, is “an environmental plunderer, with its hirelings and parasites using a few truths and the politics of wishful thinking to frame a house of lies.” Far from being clean and green, “corporate wind is yet another extraction industry relying on false promises,” a “poster child for irresponsible development.”

Such attacks come from websites, most started by local groups opposed to a particular project. Their recent, rapid proliferation is not an accident: After languishing for years on the eco-fringe, wind energy has suddenly become mainstream. High oil prices, natural gas shortages, better technology, fear of global warming, state renewable-energy mandates and, yes, tax breaks have finally made wind farms commercially viable as well as clean.

Traditional utility companies want to build them — and thus the traditional environmental movement (which supports wind energy) has produced a handful of untraditional splinter groups that are trying to stop them.

They may succeed. Already, activists and real estate developers have stalled projects in Eastern United States. The groups do have some arguments, ranging from the aesthetic — if you are bothered by the sight of wind turbines on a mountaintop, which I am not (or, anyway, not when compared with the sight of a strip mine) — to the economic.

They are right to note that wind will not soon replace coal or gas, that wind isn’t always as effective as supporters claim, and that some people are going to make a lot of money out of it (though some people make a lot of money out of coal, and indeed Real Estate as well).

But they also reflect a deeper American malady. The problem plaguing new energy developments is no longer NIMBYism, the “Not-In-My-Back-Yard” movement. The problem now, as one wind-power executive puts it, is BANANAism: “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.’”

The anti-wind brigade, fierce though it is, pales beside the opposition to liquid natural gas terminals, and would fade entirely beside the mass movement that will oppose a new nuclear power plant.

Still, energy projects don’t even have to be viable to spark opposition: Already, there are activists gearing up to fight the nascent biofuel industry, on the grounds that fields of switch grass or cornstalks needed to produce ethanol will replace rainforests and bucolic country landscapes.

Soon the nonexistent “hydrogen economy” will doubtless be under attack as well. There’s a lot of earnest, even bipartisan talk nowadays about the need for clean, emissions-free energy. But are we really ready, politically, to build any new energy sources at all?

By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post
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Banur-Rajpura emerging as an institutional zone
by Pradeep Sharma

Long dubbed an educationally backward area, the Banur-Rajpura belt is now emerging as a major professional educational centre. In fact, buoyed by the success of existing professional educational institutions, new players, particularly from the corporate world, are making a beeline for the area.

Close proximity to Chandigarh, good connectivity, affordable land prices, qualified manpower and infrastructural facilities and a rising demand for new professional courses are some of the factors which have spurred the mushrooming of professional colleges in this belt. The Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes, Chitkara, Gian Sagar and the Desh Bhagat Educational Trust, are just some of the names which have set up institutions here.

Till a few years ago, there were no takers for land in the area. Land is now selling at a premium. The Banur-Rajpura belt is at the tri-junction of GT Road, the Tepla-Kharar road and the Ambala-Chandigarh road, which connect it to the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides Chandigarh. The location, coupled with the availability of the land at affordable rates, make it ideal place for setting up educational institutions, says Mr Manmohan Garg, Chief Executive Officer of the Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology (SVIET) at Ramnagar, near Banur.

Well-to-do families in the region comprising the states of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, prefer to educate their children in the vicinity of Chandigarh, notes Mr JS Sandhu, Chairman of the Desh Bhagat Educational Trust, running a chain of institutions including the Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Tangori.

The locational advantage of being equidistant from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, enables institutions to get the best of faculty and students, says Mr Garg, who was one of the first to set up colleges in the area. Since Rajpura is a railway junction, a substantial number of students from Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir also come here to study.

Proximity is important for parents, particularly those with daughters. “It is always better to send your daughter to a college in Chandigarh’s periphery than in some remote part of the country. When the quality of education is at a par with institutions in other parts of the country, the temptation is all the more strong,” as Mr AK Sharma, a parent and Sector 27 resident of Chandigarh, observes.

At least two major corporate groups are said to be planning to enter the education business in the belt in a big way. A Delhi-based industrial house has acquired a large chunk of land for several educational institutions, including a B.Ed college.

Another industrial giant, which has major stakes in the pharmaceutical industry, is also interested. Though the group is keeping its plans under wraps, a representative conceded that they were planning to pump in about Rs 100 crore in educational institutions in this belt.

Not to be left behind, the colonisers and builders are also jumping into the fray by announcing housing projects on the Zirakpur-Patiala road to cater to the housing needs of the faculty and other employees of the existing and proposed educational centres.

A number of educational institutions are getting qualified faculty for the specialised courses, such as the dental courses, from outside the region. Many of them have the budget and taste for higher-end apartments, many builders feel.
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From the pages of

August 8, 1942

Congress call for mass struggle

The All-India Congress Committee passed the official resolution (calling for a country wide mass struggle for independence on the widest possible scale, on non-violent lines, under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership) by a large majority, only 13 members voting against.

Mahatma Gandhi called on all Indians to begin to feel that they are free men. He asked Indian Princes to act as trustees on their people and not to be autocrats. The time for them to change had come. He asked them to act wisely while he was alive. When he was gone, Pandit Nehru would have no patience with them.

Mahatma Gandhi called on Indian newspapers to stop publication of their newspapers. He added that when India’s independence was achieved newspapers could resume.
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House, wife and children are all transitory; they only have a momentary existence. The palm-tree alone is real. One or two fruits have dropped off. Why lament?

— Ramakrishna
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