Monday, August 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Polluting units: unwise decision

THIS refers to a news-item that appeared in The Tribune on August 2 regarding the reported decision of the Haryana government to invite the polluting industries of Delhi for setting up their units in the state.

The decision seems to have been taken on the fallacious assumption that the polluting industries like those of insecticides, dyes, paints, leather and chemicals will be made pollution-free by utilising common effluent treatment plants. If it were so, Panipat with its refinery, fertiliser plant, sugar mill and a number of handloom and related dyeing units would be today an ecologically healthy township. But the fact is that in spite of some effluent treatment plants, the town plainly stinks and has become almost unlivable with even underground water-table having been polluted.

The proposal of shifting the polluting units from Delhi to Haryana seems short-sighted and unwise for two other reasons also.

Firstly, the setting up of polluting industries in the state will adversely affect a wide range of on-going clean industrial activities like tourism, electronics, computers, Internet, hotel, research and management institutions and light engineering industry like automotive, refrigeration and home appliances.


It may be pertinent to mention that an excellent infrastructure in the form of tourist complexes, specialised industrial estates like Electronics City, hardware and software, parks, Udyog Vihar, Industrial Model Township (IMT) in the state have been built up over a period of time. As a result, a large number of known national and multinational companies such as Sony, Hughes, IBM, Atcatel, Microsoft, TCS, H.C., Maruti-Suzuki, Hero-Honda and Whirlpool have established their production plants in the state. Many more are on the way. Thus, if the jobs and state taxes are the motives behind the proposal, they would be more than achieved by concentrating on these clean industries.

Further, the modern management approach and common wisdom demand that one should build and grow only in its areas of strength instead of dabbling in everything. Thus the state should concentrate on the on-going sun-rise industries, a known speciality of Haryana so far in the country.

Secondly, Haryana is a small landlocked state with hardly any major forest cover and perennial rivers and streams to absorb and neutralise the effluents of polluting industries. As per the experience world over, such industries should be set up only on large river-beds and in coastal areas.

It is thus important that the delicate ecological balance in the state is kept in mind while planning for large-scale industrial expansion.

former M.D. Hartron

A visit to Hiroshima

I went to Japan with 7th Light Cavalry as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in 1946.

One of my duties as a Squadron Commander was to carry out reconnaissance of various roads and tracks to see whether they were fit for our armoured cars to operate on, and whether the bridges would bear their weight. Hiroshima Prefecture fell within my jurisdiction.

I was perhaps the first Indian to visit Hiroshima after its destruction. Signposts had been erected at various prominent points along the main road displaying the sign “Danger Zone — Do Not Enter”. There was still the danger of radio-active rays which could cause damage to the human body. I stopped near one of the signposts. For miles around there was complete desolation. The explosion and the ensuing heat wave reduced to rubble and ashes a large portion of the city — almost the entire city — a major military centre during World War II. About 1,40,000 people perished in the firestorm that engulfed the city.

The whole scenery was harrowing, melancholic and terribly frightening. I felt like beating a hasty retreat. I stood there for sometime turning over in my mind whether to proceed any further or not. Knowing that I will not get another opportunity of this type, I decided to enter the area.

In the far distance I could faintly see some kind of a structure. I drove for about 3-4 km before reaching the spot. It was a building which had been constructed with bricks and cement. Although the roof had been blown away, a steel girder about 18 feet long and 1.5 ft in width had been bent in the middle like a bow, but it was still resting on the two side-walls. It was an abnormal site. Apparently simultaneous action of the heat and the blast had melted and bent such heavy steel into this peculiar shape.

There were a few odds and ends lying about in the debris of the building. I picked up two objects: one was a bottle of Saki (local wine) and the other a container of a facial cream. The exceptional thing about them was that they were not broken or even cracked. They had been pressed from sides like a tin can crushed under a heavy weight.

At one or two places I saw just the trunks of trees without any foliage, otherwise there was complete extermination of everything that existed. Whatever I saw has remained indelibly engraved in my mind. I returned to my regiment but did not mention about the visit to anyone.

On August 6 every year at 8.15 a.m. local time, the precise moment when the bomb exploded in a flash of blinding light, Hiroshima citizens, Japanese government officials and visitors bow their heads in silent prayer while buses and street cars stand still throughout the city.

Ambala Cantt

Need to change thinking

The latest scene on the Indian scenario reveals how far we have moved to the path of waywardness. That the all-time dacoit, smuggler and outlaw, Veerappan, is able to negotiate regarding his demands with the two state governments and have his way shows the complete failure of our law and order system.

While many an innocent are put behind bars of false charges, a dreaded criminal, having murdered over a hundred persons and killed countless elephants, is being sent emissaries for negotiations! Certainly, there is something amiss and the country is not being told the whole truth.

Our politicians and government bosses, out of their desire to enjoy power, wealth and popularity, succumb to the most nefarious designs. The same is the case with our police force and the latest news about the judiciary is not very encouraging either. If the demands of Veerappan are accepted, it will be a clear case of promoting the cause of the outlaws in a civilised society.

What we need is an urgent paradigm shift in our thinking. The public at large and especially the government and the law-enforcing agencies would need to take a look at their decision/critically keeping in view the general principles of morality and justice if we have to come out of the chaotic conditions prevailing in all parts of the country whether in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kashmir, Nagaland or Tripura.


IT coverage

Congratulations on the launch of the information technology supplement of The Tribune.

I am an IT consultant based at Chandigarh and have for a long time felt the need for the regional media coverage of information technology news and views. Although there are already many players in the field, providing the same in the form of newsletters and supplements, the one that is concise, not “individual-oriented” and authentic, is yet to be seen. It is hoped The Tribune will maintain the unique identity and standard that it has done in the past.

Since the supplement will be (hopefully) a good source of information for IT people, I would also suggest The Tribune to start an electronic newsletter at its website,, which would send direct IT news to its subscribers via e-mail. This subscription, of course, should be free and it would help in reaching a widespread IT “audience” connected with Chandigarh in one way or the other.

Additionally, it would help the upcoming IT edition of The Tribune to be more popular with the IT community. This system may also help in revenue generation if advertisements of local IT-related vendors, service providers and others are placed in the proposed newsletter.


Think a while

How wise is it to plug the source of revenue income from octrois in Haryana on the one hand and to replenish the deficit to impose tax by introducing ST Form 38 and other new taxes on the other hand?



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