Thursday, December 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Pilferage of power

PROF SURENDER KUMAR in his write-up ‘Pilferage of power — a societal menace’ (Tribune, Dec 2) has highlighted two non-technical reasons for the deepening financial crisis in the electricity boards of Haryana and Punjab. In order to support his argument, he has put undue emphasis on the pilferage of power by consumers only. The consumers of Haryana and Punjab were pampered earlier by the politicians and this attitude is evident even today. The irony of the situation is that of the transmission and distribution losses of over 35 per cent, only 15-20 per cent are attributed to pilferage. He has chosen to ignore the irrational tariff structure in Haryana. The government, in order to gain political support, has resorted to granting free electricity to the landed peasantry. It is this politics of appeasement which has thrown the boards in a financial mess.

Instead of imposing a tight fiscal discipline, the politicians have resorted to the soft option of increasing the irrational pricing structure thereby taxing the honest consumer. The neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi continue to a lower tariff on electricity with almost a similar level of pilferage. And even if pilferage is seen as the major cause of revenue loss, the question remains, who is to blame for this? Are not the government in power, the bureaucracy, the boards and their employees responsible for the crisis? The problem lies with the managers of the state. The state itself has damaged its financial health and the day may not far when one would find Punjab and Haryana, the so-called performing states, close to the financially sick states.



Ailing law-enforcing system

This is with reference to the letter "Ailing law-enforcing system" by Ramesh K. Dhiman (Tribune, Dec 21).

The writer has correctly said that women as and when they come in contact with the police are not treated well. It is a pity that two top ranking police officers have been allegedly involved in cases of moral turpitude. There have been cases where women have fallen prey to the savagery of policemen. Women are often called to the police station in violation of Section 160 Cr. P.C. No woman irrespective of her age can be called to the police station, if she has to be questioned, this should be done in the presence of her male relatives. In the event of an arrest, a woman police officer should accompany the arresting party. The gazetted officer should personally see that the arrest is justified and she is produced before a magistrate as quickly as possible. No woman should be kept at a police station for the night, unless her police remand is absolutely necessary and then she should be kept under a woman police officer's supervision.

It has been rightly pointed out by the writer that the two incidents involving the top police brass has sounded a wake-up call for revamping the police set-up.

New Delhi



Hardly a slap

If an unfavourable verdict by a High Court against the Army is a resounding slap, the judiciary must be thrashing itself black and blue. The judiciary overturns every other judgement passed by the lower courts, which in turn are set aside by other superior courts and Benches. Does it mean that all the lower courts are incompetent and each successful appeal by a criminal is a slap on the law enforcing agencies. We all know how low the conviction rate in our courts is. Criminals of all hues are having the last laugh, courtesy our judicial system. Criminal faces are seen in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies, in powerful Government positions, even in universities, just for want of evidence or due to some legal technicality. This state of affairs is attributable to a judiciary which is suffering from technicalities of law. Setting aside of a court martial proceedings can hardly be termed as a slap.

The Army cannot take chances in its routine administration and if it is convinced rightly or wrongly that an offence has been committed it makes sure that suitable and deterrent punishment is awarded even if there is limited evidence available. It is this prompt and simple dispensation of justice that keeps the forces ticking. Let us not pass such strong strictures against the Army. I shudder at the thought of an Army caught in legal tangles and possibly neglecting its primary responsibility.

Jalandhar Cantt

Small states

This refers to your editorial "Jharkhand conundrum" (Nov 7). There is nothing wrong with small states. If there is a problem, it is with the parliamentary system which does not suit our country where the politicians have no respect for principles and their sole aim is to grab (or retain) power by hook or by crook. The article "Raoism back as winning power" (Nov 7) by Mr P. Raman presents a true picture of our 'rulers', no matter to which political party they belong.


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