Friday, October 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Octroi contractors in Punjab

THIS refers to the news item “Traders damage contractor’s office” (The Tribune, Oct 7). According to the news reports of a few months back, the Minister of Local Bodies, Punjab, held a meeting at Chandigarh to review octroi collection in the state.

One report said, “It was made clear at the meeting that contractors had no powers to seize goods nor would they levy and collect any penalty or composition fee....” I want to apprise the Minister of Local Bodies and the Government of Punjab of the anti-employment activities of some octroi contractors.

These contractors even go to the extent of seizing goods and imposing heavy penalty arbitrarily on self-employed educated youth hawkers, who go the sub-urban/sub-divisional /rural areas by buses, cycles or two-wheelers for selling their stationery/clothing items, etc, on a retail basis to earn their livelihood.

I would request the Government of Punjab that it should issue directives to all the octroi contractors, municipal councils and municipal corporations of the state to exempt at least the self-employed youth hawkers from the imposition of any octroi.


CPM’s declining status

This refers to the edit “CPM’s declining status” (Oct 4).

The edit mentions that following the Election Commission (EC) order on the party’s loss of national status, it has been denied the automatic use of party symbol in other states, and its candidates would be treated as independents. Putting the record straight, I would like to inform you that the EC rules in this regard are clear, that a state party, which wishes to contest in states other than where it fulfils the criteria would be given preference for its symbol.

Also, such candidates are not treated as independents upon being victorious.

The EC order in itself suffers from serious basic flaws. The CPM is the third largest party in the Lok Sabha with 33 MPs and leads three state governments, apart from having representation in 12 state assemblies. Such rules are outdated and require new amendments.

According to existing rules, a political party with a grand total of seven MLAs in four states (one from Pondicherry, two from Manipur, two from Meghalya and two from Arunachal) will be treated as a national party, while a party which has more MPs than the ratio of 1:25 in the Lok Sabha at the national level cannot qualify to be a national party.

In the last Lok Sabha elections in 1999, the CPM had polled a total of 1.97 crore (19.7 million) votes, which is 5.4 per cent of votes polled.

This is a reflection of the party’s influence and nationwide activities. The withdrawal of status technically does not in any way affect the CPM’s electoral and political strength.

What is required is that EC immediately revise and frame fresh, practical and logical provisions for recognition.

CPM HP State Committee


Indian leaders

If we go through the histories of the UK, Russia, USA, etc, we find that some of the persons who occupied the high position as Head of State had been in the army and served the nation to which they belonged. The last Viceroy of India was also an army man.

But if we shuffle through the leaves of Indian history, we may not come across any political leader who was at some time or the other in the Army. More than five decades have goneby since Independence, no leader of any political party in India can proudly declare that he or his progeny served the Indian nation as an Army man.

India fought three wars with Pakistan and recently we fought again in Kargil, but to our dismay no offspring of any political leader fell a victim or participated in the war. These political leaders would like to see their offspring entering civil services or politics so that the family could continue to rule.


General’s role

“Gen Harbaksh’s role” by Bimal Bhatia (Oct 9) is funny. He just ignores as to why histories of 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars either have not been written or not released so far?

Generals often have been blamed for preparing for the lost war by the politicians who were not preparing for any war at all. Evading history is not a sign of courageous honest people. Why was the IAF not used against the Pak armoured counter-attack in the Khem Karan Sector? Precisely what is the line of the Beas? How, where, when, why and by whom it was to be occupied? 1965 was not 1962 (thanks to Gen Chaudhary). Who could have ordered capture of Indian territory? Not surely Chaudhary or Harbaksh.




Specifications: why only farmers?

IN India, a shopkeeper can kill hundreds of people with Kuttu atta. You buy mustard oil and you will find it adulterated. Are there no specifications for these people?

Why then specifications are applied to only farmers who fulfil the basic requirements of the people? Are the farmers supplied enough electricity? Are the pesticides, seeds etc supplied to the farmers as per specifications? Most of them are substandard. They get all the commodities with rates fixed by others but they themselves cannot fix the rate of their own produce. They are not even being given the minimum support price.

I think the farmer is being harassed just because he is innocent and free from all manipulations the others are capable of.

Kurukshetra JOGA SINGH

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