Monday, February 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Sonia’s CWC

Your editorial “Sonia’s Working Committee” (Feb 14) is rather harsh on Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

True, Mrs Sonia Gandhi lacks the “family’s genes” which made Indira Gandhi an exceptionally successful mass leader. however, it cannot be denied that Mrs Sonia Gandhi carries on her shoulders the rich legacy of the “unique family” which has made matchless sacrifices for the country. She is undoubtedly the best bet for the Congress at present.

The tribe of tall Congress leaders who could legitimately claim to have a mass base has, over the years, dwindled. While constituting the Congress Working Committee, Mrs Sonia Gandhi had perforce to contend with this stark fact. She seems to have made the best of a bad bargain.

TARA CHAND Ambota (Una)

Trees in schools

The plan of the Chief Conservator of Forests for tree plantation in schools is praiseworthy. But if the aim is to increase the forest cover then a lot more needs to be done before this scheme is put into practice.

Every year Pingalwara reaches out to schools and colleges and offers saplings for plantation free of charge. Many schools are keen to have a tree cover mainly because they do not have enough rooms for the students and they would like to hold the classes under shady trees. In these schools no trees survive because in the absence of boundary walls, stray cattle eat away all the saplings that are planted.

Therefore, the state government must first of all provide boundary walls to all the schools. The NGOs can also play an important role by helping the schools with boundary walls.

R.P. SINGH, Jalandhar


Taxing PF withdrawals

Those in authority have announced a tax on premature withdrawal from Public Provident Fund. It will particularly hit senior citizens who had deposited their savings in this account in the hope of using it in time of need. Most of these persons have retired from non-pensionable jobs.

Some time back, the government cut the rate of interest of PPF accounts. If at all it was to be done, it should have been applied only to new accounts.

It is not fair on the part of the government to change the terms of contract unilaterally without the consent of the other party. It amounts to breach of trust.

This step is going to hit the future of the PPF. Few new accounts may now be opened, and those already existing are not likely to get further deposits.

Before starting any saving scheme the government should announce that the terms can be changed at any time.


Hard on salaried class: The proposal to tax provident fund withdrawals will hit the salaried persons who are already hard pressed with the unending increase in prices and the increase in the surcharge on income tax.

This step will also discourage savings which are utilised for development works.




Funds for PU

The suggestion by Jyotsna, on ‘PU crisis’ in the issue of February 5 is a good idea. There are people who will gladly come forward to help the university. The products of Panjab University are spread all over the world and many of them are doing well for which they are grateful to their alma mater.

An appeal should be made for funds to old students of Panjab University. This can be done through advertisements in newspapers, and the Internet and e-mail can also be utilised. I am sure many old students will be glad to assist the university and see it flourish.


Enough of ceasefire

Mr P.C. Dogra in his article, “Enough of ceasefire in Kashmir”, has given facts and figure to show how the Kashmir problem has become serious and how the Kashmiris feel more insecure and frightened than ever before.

The ceasefire, cannot solve the Kashmir problem. It only makes the task of the security forces more hazardous. The Kashmir problem could be solved if there is political will to resolve the issue. Our security forces are performing well in the valley but the handling of the issue at the political level is not praiseworthy.

M.L. PANDIT Barsar (Hamirpur)


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