Thursday, February 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Tackling disasters

After the cyclone in Orissa last year, Oxfam prepared a critical report on India’s disaster policy in which the relief organisation attacked Indian policymakers’ efforts to tackle natural disasters as more reactive than preventive. Every year about 56 million Indians are affected by natural disasters, and the cost of these disasters to the country is nearly US $ 190 billion. The amount the Prime Minister has sought from international banks is a pittance in comparison. In the same report Oxfam had also recommended the construction of earthquake-resistant houses in seismic zones and better construction and lay-out of roads.

Preventive action is the only way to minimise the effect of such disasters. This should take the form of strict construction codes which the building industry should be made to follow. It is a pity that it should take a disaster of such magnitude for the ordinary people to realise that their legislators have failed them at every turn, and that much more should have been done to prevent loss of life.


Telephone fault

For the last few days, the residents of Pathankot are being forced to pay for local calls at the rates applicable to international calls. This is said to be the result of a fault that has occurred while reorganising telephone circuits because of the Government’s decision to expand the scope of local calls.


The Telecom Department has been callous in not informing the people about the fault. As a result, the telephone users will be paying heavily for their local calls. There have already been arguments and disputes at telephone booths between the callers and the booth-owners.

The authorities concerned must accept responsibility for this situation and make the necessary corrections in the telephone bills.


Tribune from Bathinda

Congratulations on launching the Bathinda editions of ‘The Tribune’ ‘Punjabi Tribune’ and ‘Dainik Tribune’. It fulfils a long standing need of the readers of the Malwa belt and the adjoining areas of Haryana and Rajasthan. Though it has come late, yet it is the right decision.

Now we will get the same information every morning as is available to the readers in Chandigarh. It will also enable the paper to focus more closely on Faridkot Division.


A PEEP INTO FUTURE: Your Bathinda edition will shine like a beacon light in the Malwa region. The group will also bring closer the people of nearby Haryana and Rajasthan. The growth of Bathinda will be accelerated through interaction with the print media. This newspaper has lately added many features such as Saturday Plus, Agriculture, Health, Science and Arts Tribune every week. The Sunday Magazine gives a rich insight into our glorious cultural past and also a peep into the future. This paper played a significant role during the freedom struggle. Its editorial is preserved in the cellular jail (which is now a national museum) at Port Blair. The vision of the founder, S. Dyal Singh Majithia, goes beyond the coastal boundaries and territorial waters.

It will be useful to improve the layout of tender notices and publish these districtwise and departmentwise. This will enable the people concerned to keep track of the money being spent by different departments.

DAYA SINGH, Bathinda

Pragmatic step: The Tribune Trust has taken a pragmatic and effective step to reach out to its readers by bringing out the Bathinda edition. “The Tribune” has always served as a watchdog of the peoples’ interests. I as a regular reader of this daily, am sure that with the passage of time The Tribune will definitely prove a land-mark in the field of mass communication.


Yeoman’s service: The Tribune deserves kudos for having started “Bathinda and Neighbourhood”. The Tribune is doing a yeoman’s service to Bathinda people. It would be better if The Tribune displays prominently the addresses and phone numbers of its office at Bathinda so that the local correspondent could be contacted easily.

K. K. MITTAL, Bathinda

Expand coverage: Heartiest congratulations on your starting the Bathinda edition. May the venture prove beneficial to the readers as well as the Tribune Trust.

Now, with changing times, a popular institution like The Tribune, should expand its field of coverage. The Bathinda edition is a step in the right direction. Readers of The Tribune may perhaps vote for many more of such regional editions, especially one at the national capital, but being a Himachali, I would like your next regional edition to be devoted exclusively to Himachal Pradesh.

K. K. NOATAY, Barsar (HP)

Weather report: Now that The Tribune is published also from Bathinda, it would be in the fitness of things that Bathinda is included in your daily weather report.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, AmritsarTop


Cut govt spending

The Prime Minister’s statement that the people should be ready for more taxes is in bad taste. In this hour of national catastrophe, people from all over the country are coming forward with all possible help and there is not going to be a dearth of anything, as far as the people are concerned. It is the bureaucracy which mismanages things and relief does not reach the sufferers in time and much of it is either wasted or misused.

Revenue generation through taxes is a coercive method and never goes well with the people, particularly when they themselves are making contributions voluntarily. A large chunk of the revenue, (Rs 75,000 crore) is already being spent to maintain the bureaucracy and equally big amounts are being spent on VIP security. It would have been in the fitness of things if the Prime Minister had advised austerity in the government and exhorted the official machinery to spend the revenue rationally. Any additional taxes are going to be inflationary and are bound to hit the earthquake ravaged people hard.

D. S. MATHUR, Ambala Cantt

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