Saturday, August 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Condemnable vandalism

APROPOS of the editorial “The dirty dozen” (July 27), the suspension of 12 Shiv Sena MLAs for six months to one year by the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly is certainly “very appropriate for their crime”. They richly deserved it in view of the terrible mayhem, indulged in by them, while protesting against the arrest of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray.

The members played havoc with the Speaker’s table, chairs of staff, microphones, whole public address system, glasspanes of the recording room, etc. Speaker’s silver mace was snatched. He was provided with security cover by marshals, when the furious Sena members gheraoed him on the podium. They shouted: Ham sey jo takraaey ga/mitti mein mil jaaey ga. Do such members deserve to be called law-makers? The cost of the articles, deliberately damaged by them, should be recovered from them.

Violence has no place in democracy. Nobody is above law.

It is a pity that no BJP leader has condemned the acts of the Sena MLAs.

Mr Bal Thackeray demanded resignation of the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chhagan Bhujbal, who sanctioned, his prosecution as Home Minister, little realising that the court discharged him not because he was innocent, but because the case registered against him, was barred by limitation.


Kargil-II is avoidable

This has reference to the letter of Mr S.P. Malhotra, “Kargil-II is avoidable” (July 10). It is surprising that no political party has expressed its views on suitability of the much desired preventive measure to combat terrorism by connecting the Chenab with the Ravi though a tunnel in HP for diverting the Chenab water to India, even through Mr Malhotra’s views have been published in The Tribune at least four times. May I suggest that copies of The Tribune dated July 10 be sent to the PM and the Home Minister.

It would be convenient if The Tribune expresses the elaborate views through its editorial columns. It is expected that India would have more irrigational water after commissioning of the proposed tunnel. Pakistanis are our brothers and sisters but they, particularly their political leaders and the Army, should also accept the old blood relation.


Unfair to pensioners

While accepting the recommendations of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission, the Punjab government revised the pensions of its pensioners vide Finance Deptt notification No. 1/7/98-1FP III/8709 dated 16.07.1998 (Finance personnel III Branch). Para 2.3 of this notification related to the pensioners who retired within nine months of coming over to the revised scale i.e. between 1.01.1996 and 30.09.1996. While making calculations for working out the amount of pension on the basis of average emoluments drawn during the last 10 months, special pay was not to be included in the emoluments vide these instructions.

Thereafter, another notification No. 1/7/98-1FP III/17144 dated 24.12.1999 (Finance personnel III Branch) was issued for including the amount of special pay drawn by the pensioners while working out the amount of pension on the basis of average emoluments drawn by them during the last 10 months of their service.

Now the Punjab Government has issued another notification No. 1/10/99-1FP III/4630 dated 6.04.2000/5.05.2000 (Finance personnel III Branch) vide which special pay has again been kept out of the emoluments while calculating the amount of pension which has resulted into the net loss of pensions ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 500 per month to all those pensioners who were getting special pay at the time of their retirement. Total loss of pension on this account will be much more while calculating dearness relief at the rate of 38% on the basic pension. Quite a large number of pensioners are affected by the issue of latest instructions by Punjab Government.

Keeping in view the provisions of rule 6.19 (C) of Punjab Civil Service Rules Vol. II and to mitigate the hardship meted out to this class of pensioners, the Punjab Government should rectify the mistake and issue revised instructions for inculding special pay for working out the average emoluments to calculate the amount of pension in respect of those pensioners who were in receipt of special pay and retired within nine months of coming over the revised grades i.e. between 1.01.1996 and 30.09.1996. Or they may be allowed to exercise option to draw their pension as per previous instructions issued vide notification No. 1/7/98-1FP III/8709 dated 16.07.1998.



Spare a thought for the soldiers

Apropos of the letter by Mr A. Roy (August 1), I wish to share my views on the subject. The first anniversary of the Kargil victory was observed in Chandigarh on July 26 at the local Parade Ground. Candles were lit to pay homage to all those who lost their lives or limbs. A huge “pandal” was erected for the public to participate in to observe the proceedings. The function was organised by Punjab and Haryana Governments, HQ Western Command and the Chandigarh Administration.

It was pathetic to note that the “general public” was conspicuous by its absence. Present were mainly serving soldiers, ex-servicemen, relations/friends of the martyrs, NCC cadets, school children and official organisers. In fact, security personnel outnumbered the general public. Perhaps the organisers knew that the “public” response would be poor (as it was not a “paid” political rally where masses are brought in trucks); the Army was very cleverly coopted to the function to fill the vacant seats.

There was an appeal made to the “public” by the government earlier, which was well published in the media, “to light a candle” at their homes in memory of the Valiant Soldiers. It was sadly noted that not a single candle was lit in Chandigarh and its satellite towns except for the honourable exception by a few ex-servicemen. The enlightened readers may search their own hearts; how many of them “cared a candle” for the soldiers?

Those who light up their homes on frivolous superfluous occasions did not light “a candle” for the soldiers and airmen who laid down their lives for them (the “public”). Is this the way we honour our valiant soldiers who brought us yet another victory after 1971? Apart from official functions there was hardly any participation by “the public”. One wonders whether this “ungrateful nation” really deserves to be defended at all.

Thank God there is the Indian Army to keep us together. Otherwise this nation would have been “Balkanised” long back, considering the “apathy” of the common man and the “misrule” by our politicians. Learned readers may like to ponder how long even mighty Indian Army would he able to hold us together if this state of affairs continues.


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