Wednesday, November 1, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Method of calculating power load

THE Punjab State Electricity Board has come under strong criticism from various quarters because of its incorrect policies. One such policy has been adopted in calculating the connected load of the consumer.

The board authorities insist on adjudging the load of the consumer based on the number of gadgets he has got installed in his home, notwithstanding the fact that he does not use all the gadgets all the time. They make him cough up more money for the power load he never uses. This is sheer injustice. Here I want to bring into focus two important aspects of the method.

Firstly, the method used for calculating load is absolutely out of date and based on the crude judgements when the technology was old and a consumer used bulbs and fans. Things have changed today. A consumer is a highly conscious person and has the option of going in for power-saving electric devices. But the board does not recognise this and uses all means to prevail upon the poor consumer. The board does not give any incentive to the consumer who wants to follow the instructions written on the bill regarding “power saving slogans”.

Secondly, when the power meter goes by the digital reading in kw/h and the consumer gets the bill because of his consumption in kilowatt per hour, does it leave any justice in using a different technique for calculating the load of the consumer. Why don’t the authorities use this meter reading in deciding the connected and consumed load of the consumer? It is apparent that the board’s authorities want to employ all the methods to fleece the poor consumer who has little knowledge about the technique and methodology.

Thirdly, a simple fuse like power load sensitive device can be used inside the meter of every consumer to permit him the connected load. For instance, a consumer who has applied for and granted permission for 2 kw connected load, should be allowed to use the device whose thermal capacity is up to 2 kw only. The device can be made from metal with high sensitivity to blow out if the connected load exceeds the permitted one. The board should charge for the device in case the consumer wants to increase his connected load.

In the case of the blown device, he may be made to part with some payment suitably for the reconnection of the power connection. In this way the consumers all over the state will be saved from all kinds of embarrassment.




Training of masons

Development activity, especially in the field of building construction plays a vital role in the economic growth of a country. A good mason plays a significant role in contributing to the quality of workmanship.

Old castles and other magnificent buildings constructed by traditional masons are models of good workmanship and have no match. As per ancient history, there was a time when masons used to enjoy a supreme position in society and it was the highest paid profession.

Earlier due to the strict caste system, skilled masons were easily available since the families traditionally working as masons used to encourage their children to adopt the same profession. In the present social system, their children are no longer interested in adopting the traditional profession of the family, resulting in the unavailability of skilled masons. Thus, there is an immediate need for the country to think about evolving some suitable courses where training to masons can be insured.

A large number of masons are employed in construction projects and most of them are without any institutional training. The large number of cases reported in the Press regarding bad quality work in the buildings constructed by various agencies can also be attributed to the unavailability of trained masons.

A substandard work executed by untrained masons brings a bad name to the civil engineers/architects associated with the planning and execution of the project for no fault of theirs. ITIs run technical courses for electricians, carpenters and TV and radio mechanics but not for masons.

The objective of such training should be to improve the existing abilities to perform at the work site and to give them a qualification for career promotion also.



Ostrich farming: a wrong step

I read the news report about the recent promotion by the Government of India of ostrich farming as a potential profitable business by slaughtering the harmless vegetarian birds to export their meat. It is against the spirit of Article 51A(g) of the Constitution which enjoins all citizens to have compassion towards all creatures. Besides, the proposed ostrich farming will result in the premature killing of the bird. It will be slaughtered in the age group of 1-3 years when its normal life-span is around 70 years. It has also raised the fundamental questions about the ethics of introducing an animal not for the sake of the environment or as a showpiece for children, but with the sole purpose of rearing it for slaughter. It has been known that clipping and quilling of these birds causes haemorrhage in blood vessels and is a stressful and painful exercise.

I invite the attention of bureaucrats and politicians to the letter of the Prime Minister dated 31.5.2000 which was addressed to all Chief Ministers. He expressed serious concern over the unnecessary cruelty being inflicted on animals.

Hence just for the sake of foreign exchange gain, untold cruelty should not be inflicted on the poor ostrich.

New Delhi


Surplus food problem

MR R.N. Malik’s article on the problem of surplus food (Oct 24) is timely. He is right: “excess of everything is bad.”

Against our required food stock of 10 mt, it is presently 42.5 mt, i.e 4 times. Farmers are well aware that in FCI godowns, grains are deteriorating year after year. The disposal of 30.5 mt (nearly 35 crore bags) by suggested methods, of distribution among the hungry and the poorest, food against work, exporting at lower rates (at a loss), etc, is a gigantic task, rather impossible even on an SOS basis for a year or so.

The consequent loss has to be borne by all Indians, including the poor and farmers.

The only alternative is from “plenty to diversification” on production. We do cry for small holdings of land in Punjab but never promoted intensive cultivation, which is feasible and more remunerative to the farmers. If the Punjab/Haryana economy is to be saved “diversification” should be the slogan of the future and started on a war-footing.

p. l. garg


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