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Wednesday, January 13, 1999
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Punjab: causes for financial decline

  AS a Punjabi I cannot prevent myself from hanging my head in shame when I read in the newspapers that the once prosperous and golden state of Punjab has been reduced to a state of bankruptcy by the people who are supposed to govern it. The state, which heralded the Green Revolution and the White Revolution in the country, is now unable to pay salaries and pension to its serving/retired employees! One wonders how once rich state, with the highest per capita income, is now totally bankrupt. It is also very distressing to note that small farmers have started committing suicide.

In spite of the pathetic scenario one notices vulgar display and waste of wealth on useless government functions and worthless foreign jaunts by ministers, who come back from such trips with suitcases full of gifts but with no fresh ideas as how to improve the living conditions of the people they govern.

More than the ruling party it is the corrupt bureaucracy which is driving the state to a point of anarchy. One glaring example is the hesitation of the Excise Department of Punjab to earn additional revenue by way of import fee on certain items in spite of a favourable High Court judgement just because an affected party in the neighbouring state has influenced a senior excise officer to find loopholes so that the orders are somehow not executed and recoveries deferred. Crores of rupees as revenue, which could to some extent reduce the present financial mess, are intentionally not been recovered for selfish considerations of an interested group of officers in the Excise Department. The bureaucracy is able to do this mainly because the ministers are not able to understand the implications and do not know their jobs. One wonders how long the current mess would continue?

It is high time the ruling party wakes up to the reality and sets its house in order.

New Delhi

Chandigarhians in USA

On our first visit to India, after having taken up jobs in the field of software technology with American companies in the USA, it was heartening to find that India was preparing for a sort of revolution in information technology. It is making its efforts to emerge as the IT leader in the world. This was evident from media reports from various states, particularly from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

By now it is well known that the software industry in the USA employs a large number of engineering graduates from all over the world, and Indians among them are the most preferred ones because of their genius. It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that at present Indians dominate the US software industry. We in America sometimes fail to understand that if Indians withdraw from the American software industry, what will be the fate of this most advanced country. The software industry in the USA may face a virtual collapse for want of Indian technocrats.

Chandigarh too figures prominently on the software technology map of the USA, in the sense that there are many graduates from PEC, Chandigarh, here. Most of the graduates employed in the US IT industry are making their own contributions in the technological development of the world’s most advanced country.

Many like us are working on the most favourite software of today — JAVA and SAP — providing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions, developing e-business and e-commerce solutions. Thousands of graduates from India employed in the IT industry in the USA are, in fact, developing software for not only local clients but also those from Europe. What hangs over the minds of patriotic Indians like us is that the benefits of investment on these Indian graduates in general and specifically those from Chandigarh are being reaped by the most developed country, which has spent nothing on our education. Many a times we feel that our own country should get the benefit of our knowledge. There is always a strong hidden desire in all of us to contribute to the development of our own country. But most of us feel discouraged by the working conditions there.


(In response to the Internet edition.)

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Woes of villages

I want to draw the attention of the Chandigarh Administration /Municipal Corporation to the pitiable condition of public toilets at Lahora-Khuda village, 1.5 k.m from the PGI.

There are four public toilets, separately for men and women, situated around the village. A sweeper is appointed for each public toilet. Yet these toilets are in a pitiable condition, posing a serious threat to the health of the people. They do not clean the toilets properly and always absent themselves from duty.

The flush system is not in a functioning condition. Users have to carry a separate pot for water. Their taps are out of order. Water always flows outside. People misuse the water in the absence of the sweeper. There is no proper arrangement for lights during the night, which creates problems for women and girls.

However, lakhs of rupees have been spent for providing the sewerage facility in the village by the municipal corporation. Work on the sewer line was completed last year, but it has not started functioning yet.

The municipal corporation should conduct a survey in such villages to solve their problems. Fourth class employees should be appointed for cleaning purposes. The administration can provide allowances to the panchayats so that they can handle the situation effectively.


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Misuse of loudspeakers

The annual examinations of schools, colleges and the university are drawing closer. Students need a calm, quiet and noise-free atmosphere to concentrate on their studies. High-pitched sound coming from the loudspeakers of religious places, however, disturbs their concentration.

Those managing the affairs of the religious places need to be reminded of the law of the land on the proper use of loudspeakers and mikes.



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