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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Water-table in Punjab fast depleting

Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz has rightly voiced concern about Punjab’s fast depleting water table (Nov 22). The upper and middle level subsurface aquifers have almost got depleted during the last four decades due to over-exploitation and flogging for agricultural irrigation.

As a result, many farmers have started pumping out water from deeper aquifers beyond 150 to 250 ft depth. In the next 5-10 years, this will have serious repercussions in the state. It will hit the rural agricultural sector most. The Centre should intervene and impose a check on water extraction from deeper aquifers by anyone.

Though water resource management is a state subject, the states have shown little interest to act. The Punjab government, in particular, has been a party to the depletion of the upper and middle aquifers, by way of providing free electricity to the agricultural sector at a cost of about Rs 600 core a year.

The Centre must impose a total ban on sinking deeper well bore/ tube wells. It should also formulate bylaws, regulations and guidelines for sinking water well bores/ tube wells in consultation with the Planning Commission and the Punjab government in three months.

IQBAL SINGH KALSI, Chandigarh


 

Religious tolerance

Dogmatism is spreading fast among people. Blind adherents of organised faiths believe it to be their mission to force the rest of humanity to their own way of life. Religion for them is a public affair and the maniacs become the demagogues (Editorial, Attack most foul, Nov 17).

Religion is a personal affair and no one can thrust his belief on others. All great religions of the world preach love, tolerance, and unity of mankind. Ashoka, in one of his edicts, proclaimed: “He who does reverence to his own sect, in reality by such conduct inflicts the severest injury to his own sect.”

People should denounce oppression in any form and boldly work for a society in which human dignity is fully assured. Tolerance is the very essence of religion. A truly religious person cannot afford to persecute others.

Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, while inaugurating the World Conference of Religions, aptly remarked, “The moment we touch the level of true religion, mutual suspicions and bickering disappear and man is face to face with a breadth of vision before which all human beings appear as equals.”

Dr MANJIT SINGH CHEEMA, DB College, Bardwal-Dhuri (Sangrur)

Case against Bhattal

The news-item Congress to withdraw case against Bhattal (Nov 17) makes shameful reading. If the case against Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is true, why withdraw it? And if false, why was it launched in the first place?

The matter involves public trust. It is a question of both public money and probity in public life. No one should be allowed to betray this trust.

RAM SARAN BHATIA, Distt. & Sessions Judge (retd), Faridabad

Return of vultures

The return of vultures is good news for us. For, they play a vital role in environmental harmony. If they are back, the government should ban the veterinary drug diclofenac sodium which is responsible for the disappearance of the valuable species. (Simranjit Singh Mann’s letter, Will the vultures return? Oct 24).

The Parsi community doesn’t cremate or bury their dead. Instead, the dead are put atop the Tower of Silence to be eaten by the vultures.

RANJIT SINGH DHANOA, Govt. College, Malerkotla

 

Haryana initiative for good roads 

The Haryana government has rightly realised the importance of strengthening the infrastructure of well-built roads (Nov 27). Whenever I travel overseas, a glance at its highways helps me understand how good its government is. It also gives me an idea of those who actually build them. It also tells me how deep corruption is there, if any.

Clearly, roads mirror a country’s image. If a country’s roads are filthy, broken and poorly kept, it will reflect very badly on that country. In the US, the highways are so smooth that one can comfortably sip coffee or beverage without spilling, even while driving at 60 or 70 mph. This cannot be said about Indian roads.

I do appreciate Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh’s initiative. His intentions are good. But those responsible for building the roads should be efficient and above board.

SUBHASH C. CHAUDHRY, Indianapolis (USA)


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