Wednesday, February 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Economic terrorism

“Khota sikka” (base coin) is a term synonymous with a rogue or useless family member. During the first half of the 20th century, when printing facilities were not quite developed only “khota sikkas” were occasionally found to be in circulation, and not counterfeit currency notes. After World War II the prices of metals rose sharply and there was a time when the intrinsic value of the coins was more than the face value and unscrupulous people found it profitable to melt the coins to sell the metal. When the government minted a very light one-paisa coin with a circular hole, human ingenuity found such coins more profitable as washers for use in cycles and machines.

The computer-based technological and scientific revolution of the second half of the 20th century has completely changed the social and economic fabric of our society. Often the evil forces appear to enjoy the privileged position. There are people who take frauds, scams, counterfeits, deceit,smuggling, impersonation, corruption and extortions as honourable practices.

  Law enforcement is often slow and cumbersome, and the departments concerned are often found to be out of pace with the economic offenders. It is expected that the constitutional review, action for which has already been initiated by the Central government would adequately address to these problems.

Reports emanating from across the border that the ISI has set up a full-fledged facility/factory at Peshawar to print counterfeit Indian currency notes should cause a serious concern in this country. The seizure of such currency notes from a Pakistan Embassy official at Kathmandu (The Tribune, Jan 11), a Pakistan High Commission official at New Delhi (The Tribune, Jan 13), from two Pakistanis and four Indians (The Tribune, Jan 28) and more recently from the passengers of Samjhauta Express are only the tip of the ice-berg.

This sort of economic terrorism is nothing but an aggression, as in Kargil and deserves to be fought on a war-footing. It may have to be made adequately clear that Samjhauta Express and the bus to Pakistan are the facilities made available to the people on both sides in good faith. Obviously, there cannot be any samjhauta (compromise) or Samjhauta Express if its passengers indulge in anti-India activities.


Senior citizens’ woes

The crying of senior citizens, a weak segment of society after the reduction in the interest rate on their savings, is not without reason. It is like a double-edged weapon — the rise in the prices and the fall in the income — when the last year was celebrated as year of Aged (1999).

The government can make changes in its economic policy in view of the developments in the economy at the national and international levels. Still it can help senior citizens continue with its socialistic and welfare programmes.

In the coming budget an amendment should be made for tax exemption upto Rs 10,000 u/s 80 B from the age of 58 or 60 years instead of 65 (as at present).

This will be in the interest of the government as well as senior citizens.



Inadequate postal facility

Paonta township is growing in its size and stature. New settlements are springing up on its peripheral edges, resulting in an increase in the population. Banks, schools and training centres of different kinds are making their appearance felt here. But there is no addition to the postal facilities. The local post-office has a skeleton staff which is often seen fumbling to handle the rush of customers.

The accommodation for the office is also insufficient and the people are made to stand in long queues. The department should either expand the available facilities or open a new branch of post-office at a strategic point in the town.

There was a proposal, not long ago, to open a branch at Badrinagar. It is a very suitable place for a new branch, to cater to almost half of the population of the town. It may also be useful for the industrial areas of Gondpur and Batamandi, including Malwa Cotton Mill and Ranbaxy.

Will the Postmaster-General look into the proposal?

Paonta Sahib

“Water” controversy

This is with reference to the editorial “Getting deeper into ‘Water’” (The Tribune Feb 7).

Widespread illiteracy and increasing religious and political fanaticism have made many people turn a blind eye to the bitter truth in the country. There are people who do not want the nation to learn, improve, realise its weaknesses, do introspection and expose the unpleasant realities. Such people are always ready to put hurdles in the path of those who wish to expose the stark facts. This is what is happening in the case of Deepa Mehta’s film “Water”.

Whether “Water” gets completed or not is as important as the exercise of the right of expression in the country. The way people indulged in vandalism and the way its shooting has been stopped deserve condemnation in the strongest words possible from all quarters.

It was a direct attack on the freedom of expression.



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