Telescopic benefit in train fare

The Railway Ministry’s decision on Thursday to restore telescopic benefits in end-to-end fares from June 15 is welcome. The passengers were harassed ever since this facility was withdrawn peremptorily on April 1, 2006. Prior to April 2006, passengers using the computerised passenger reservation system were permitted to purchase tickets for stations even beyond the destination station of the train, availing themselves of the telescopic benefit.

I was deprived of buying a single, direct II Class ticket from Chandigarh to Madurai (Rs 537, 2950 km). Following the withdrawal of the facility, I was forced to buy two separate tickets as there was no direct train between Chandigarh and Madurai — one from Chandigarh to Chennai (Rs 499, 2450 km) and another from Chennai to Madurai (Rs 185, 490 km). If one adds reservation charges for two tickets — Rs 50 as against Rs 25 for a single ticket, the overall increase comes to Rs 172 or 30.60 per cent in the fare.

The railway network covers the entire country and there are very few places which can be covered without changing a train. Thus, most passengers were forced to cough up more money. Anyway, I am happy that the Railway Ministry has restored the telescopic benefit.


Hollow claims

The Punjab Congress’ repeated claims that out of 66 promises made in its election manifesto, 64 have been fulfilled leaving only two promises — the grant of benefit after 4, 9 and 14 years of service to government employees and abolition of octroi — are hollow and misleading. No promise made to the pensioners regarding grant of house rent allowance and raise monthly medical allowance from Rs 250 to Rs 500 besides 2 per cent quota in built-up flats/plots etc. has been fulfilled.


Obviously, the Congress is making false promises to woo voters. I would appeal to the electorate to vote strictly on the basis of the party’s performance during the last term. Neither the Centre nor the state has solved the problems of the common man with a limited source of income. Instead, his income has been squeezed by reducing the bank and post office savings interest rates and hiking the prices of essential commodities like pulses and wheat.



Newspapers focusing the achievements of the Amarinder Singh government in various sectors and all the departments are spreading public awareness. The emphasis should be on what has been done and what is yet to be done.

There are issues which are left neglected due to red tape, non-implementation of policies like filling up of posts in education and other departments, continued vacancies of professors and lecturers even after two years of the department having invited applications for filling the posts through PCMS doctors.

K.P. SINGH, Ghungrana (Ludhiana)

Save power

In these days of severe power shortages, reports about the poor saving power by replacing ordinary light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are timely. I am sure, all the states should make it mandatory to use only CFLs and phase out the energy inefficient incandescent lamps immediately.

However, to begin with, the following measures will have to be taken. One, VAT on CFL lamps must be reduced to zero (it is 12.5 per cent at present). Two, Excise and Customs duty must be slashed to zero (recently ED was reduced, but price rise continues. And three, the government should enforce stringent quality standards for CFL lamps with guarantee and encourage producers to provide a 11 W CFL equal to 60 W incandescent lamp for Rs 20 (price in the Chinese domestic market where only CFL is on sale).

At present, the Indian lamp manufacturers are just providing substandard stuff at high prices beyond the means of most Indians. This trend can only be changed and precious electricity saved by formulating a new national energy efficient lamp policy.


Army’s image

The news-item Maj-General in dock on graft charges proves that the Army’s image has taken a beating nowadays. Earlier, the Army enjoyed good reputation. There was transparency in the procurement deals and no corruption and misappropriation of funds. Now career hungry officers are the root cause of corruption in the Army.

It is time to restore the Army’s image through strict enforcement of the code. Exemplary punishment should be given to those found guilty, irrespective of the ranks.

Col R.S. GURUNG (retd),

Kandrori (Kangra)


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