Wednesday, January 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



“Refugees” not the right word

THE middle “Maintaining links” by Rear-Admiral Satyendra Singh (The Tribune, December 21), was quite interesting. However, being one of the innumerable people who were forced to migrate from the other part of Punjab, and sought a new beginning on this side against all odds, I must express my reservations on the word “refugees” used to describe the likes of us by the writer.

We, who came from across the border in 1947, are not refugees. It was not by choice that we migrated to this side. The fact is that we were forced to do so. If anything, we are victims of Partition, or merely displaced people on whose sacrifices and cost the part on this side of the border got its Independence.

Most of us did not seek recourse to alms or sympathy, or depend upon the mercy of others. We did not beg of anybody. Instead, we began our life afresh. We take pride in the fact that by dint of sheer hard work and tenacity we built from scratch. What North India is and has today has been made possible by the hard labour put in by the likes of us.

  Due to their sheer hard working nature, the displaced people posed a competition to the locals. This was not taken to kindly by the latter. There was resistance from some on this side. So much so that at one stage when the border between Haryana and Delhi was sealed to check the influx of the migrants from West Punjab, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel warned against provoking these people further. He said that they were till then trying to earn their living with hard labour and dignity. If even that were to be snatched from them, they would plunder and loot everybody.

So, we are not refugees.


Economy measures, HP style

A news item in The Tribune dated December 22 said that the Himachal Pradesh government abolished (merged with the adjoining forest divisions) three forest divisions in the tribal and interior areas of the state in the name of economy measures, but did not abolish any post of the 100 IFS and 120 HPFS officers. Instead of sitting in tribal and interior areas, they will be posted in easy areas near the border with UP, Haryana and Punjab.

These three forest divisions were created with specific purposes of cold desert rehabilitation, wild life preservation and eco-restoration in the hydel project areas in the Satluj basin, including the task of checking the forest mafia from illicit felling and illicit encroachment. Is the task over, for which the three forest divisions were created?

The government could not post DFOs in this interior belt due to the pressure from them for nearly one year. It was considered to merge these forest divisions and post the officers in easy areas as CCF, Wild Life HQ, at Hamirpur. Some of the forest divisions like Renuka, Paonta Sahib, Nalagarh, Kunihar, Dehra Palampur, Parvati/Shamshi, Banjar and Kotgarh are also equivalent in areas and workload to the merged forest divisions. Therefore, these nine forest divisions can also be merged and many posts of IFS and HPFS officers abolished, which will be an appropriate economy measure.

The whole forest department requires restructuring and pruning at the top level and strengthening in the tribal and interior areas. Moreover, work on many overlapping forestry projects is going on in these areas bordering the plains.

Morang (Kinnaur)



Commutation of pension

The year 1999 was dedicated to the elderly persons, who need maximum care in the twilight zone of their life.

However, it is regretted that the justified demand of the pensioners for the restoration of the commuted equivalent part after 10 years — an identical period of time for which it was commuted — has not been accepted despite the fact that the Fifth Pay Commission had recommended its restoration after 12 years.

Recently the Government of India rectified another anomaly concerning such pensioners as retired during the period from January 1, 1996, to September, 1996, vide its memorandum No 45/86/97-P & PW(A) Part I. Still it left the main demand concerning the whole lot of pensioners all over India untouched though it also merited rectification as a symbolic gesture in the dying years of the millennium.

It is a pity that the government favours piecemeal rectification of the problems being faced by the pensioners. Needless to point out that the government has nothing to incur by way of additional expenditure in any manner in this respect. Fortunately, the present government has a ready ear to listen to the problems of the people. Why, then, has a decision with regard to the restoration of the pension equivalent after 10 years not been taken thus far?

New Delhi

Tears for a dog

The news item published in The Tribune of December 24, "Dog saves the child, dies", moves one's heart. It is really remarkable as to how the dog saved his four-year-old master from a swarm of bees by covering him with his body and then died from the stings.

According to the report, the child, Kharin Toloza, was playing with his dog, Chocolate, in Valie Viejo, northwestern Argentina, when he was attacked by the bees. The pet immediately came to the rescue of the child and saved his life at the cost of his own.

If we inculcate such spirit in ourselves the earth will become heaven.



Guess as to what IA will henceforth be taken to mean instead of Indian Airlines?

Answer: Inform Afghanistan!



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