SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Tackling the problem of jobless youth

The editorial “Jobless youth” (Nov 7) rightly states that the present growth in terms of 8-10 per cent GDP and 45 per cent increase in the bullish equity market in a year (8200 to 13100 BSE Index from Nov 1, 2005 to Nov 1, 2006) gives the impression of “India shinning”. However, it will not only create social inequality but also provoke unrest and violence which is already manifested by the burgeoning number of Maoist activists.

The glaring example is the teacher. Those employed in the government get a monthly salary of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 plus benefits like pension, LTC irrespective of whether they attend school. Then, we have teachers in the organised private sector like DAV’s who get moderate salaries but have to work.

However, lakhs of qualified teachers work in unaided schools for a paltry pay of Rs 1,000 a month. Though all teachers work for the same goal — national literacy — there is gross inequality and injustice. The government is concerned about only government teachers because they are organised and are perceived as vote banks.

I appeal to the government to pay unemployment allowance to all the educated youth depending upon their qualifications. It should supplement the salaries of all those who are in the unorganised sector. For example, if the private school pays Rs 2,000 a month, the government should pay Rs 6,000 so that the teacher gets Rs 8,000. If the government takes all services out of its ambit, huge funds will be available.

Instead of staging dharnas for government jobs, the unemployed youth should organise themselves as a vote bank. Then, they can negotiate with the major political parties and tackle the unemployment problem.

BHARTENDU SOOD, Chandigarh


 

Crisis in Delhi

One question that arises in the context of the sealing crisis in Delhi is why were unauthorised shops allowed in the residential areas in the first place? Obviously, it was because of the Delhi Municipal Corporation officials’ greed for money.

Surprisingly, the first Delhi Master Plan 1982 had developed less number of shopping centres over the decades and failed to meet the excessive demand. This has led to mushrooming of unauthorised shops in the residential areas. One wonders why did the Supreme Court not order sealing and check the spread of unauthorised shops three to four decades ago.

The Union Ministry of Urban Development has delayed the finalisation of Delhi’s Master Plan 2021 in formulating the mixed land use. Had it been prepared earlier, the present confrontation with traders could have been avoided. The Centre should expedite the Delhi Master Plan 2021 encouraging mixed land use. This would ensure peace among the traders and the government.

GOPAL BHARGAVA, Delhi

Importance of the Siachen

Some sections seem to feel that the Siachen Glacier has no importance to our country’s defence and that the expenditure incurred on maintaining the troops is avoidable. This impression is erroneous for two reasons.

First, the Siachen is bound on the West by the Saltoro Range of mountains. On the north, Indira Col controls access to the Shaksgam Valley and the MacMahon Line beyond (illegally ceded by Pakistan to China). In the East are the Nubra River, the Saser Range and the Shyok River Valley abutting Aksai Chin. In the North East lies the mighty Karakoram Range.

If enemies snatch the Siachen, they will dominate the entire area extending thousands of square kilometres. Thus, its protection should be India’s primary objective.

Secondly, Pakistan has by devious means got an incorrect LoC showing the Siachen and the Karakoram Mountain Range as part of POK included in the maps issued by the Western countries and used by the United Nations. (Jet Airways recently installed software showing the wrong LoC on its aircraft).

Any withdrawal from the Siachen without having the maps corrected will mean according de facto recognition to Pakistan’s claims. Indira Gandhi’s decision to garrison the Siachen on a permanent basis was bold and sagacious.

Brig P. S. BHANDARI (retd), Batala


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Writing off loans

Even as elections to the Punjab Assembly are fast approaching, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal are accusing each other of not making sincere efforts to write off the farmers’ loans. The real purpose behind these charges and countercharges is to woo the peasant community.

Both parties know that it would be practically impossible to write off the loan of any agriculturist. No government or the cooperative commercial banks are in a position to do so.

One-time settlement of loans is another possibility. However, if the loan of any farmer is written off, it will set a wrong precedent and the entire economy will get derailed. If the Punjab government is concerned about the farmers’ suicides, it can study the problem and help such families where the nature has really played havoc with their agriculture produce.

B.R. DHAND, Mansa

Farmers’ suicide

I am happy that The Tribune has highlighted the report prepared by the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission in detail (“Farmers suicide rose after 1992”, Nov 14).

In fact, Indebtedness is the main cause of farmers’ suicide in Punjab. Moneylenders should not be involved in the process of procurement of food grains. All agencies should make payment directly to the seller instead of middlemen. Many marginal farmers have lost their small holdings to these middlemen with political connections. The Union Food Ministry should direct Central procurement agencies like the Food Corporation of India to start direct purchase from farmers.

GURPAL SINGH SEKHON, Patiala

Punjab pensioners

The Punjab government allows old age allowance to its pensioners on attaining the age of 65 and 75 years. The state government has granted interim relief to its pensioners vide its notification dated October 31, 2006. However, it is silent on old age allowance. It needs clarification whether old age allowance is admissible on interim relief.

YASH PAUL GHAI, Ludhiana


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