Monday, February 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Unauthorised colonies

There are many property dealers in Amritsar who have developed or are developing unauthorised colonies. Large colonies have grown on the sides of Rajasansi Road, G.T. Road, Majitha Road and Fatehgarh Churian Road. Some of these dealers claim to be approved licensees of PUDA. They strike bargains with land owners, give them some advance, prepare a beautiful plan showing roads, parks etc and sell plots to people at a fancy price. They assure the buyers that the colony is in the process of being approved by PUDA.

The registration deeds of the plots thus sold are executed by the original land owners. Thus the property dealers escape any legal liability. When the colonies finally emerge there are no playgrounds, sites for schools or dispensaries and parks as shown in the plans. Moreover, they face problems with the municipal corporation.

On Majitha Road and Fatehgarh Churian Road some colonies are being developed even beyond the municipal corporation limits with the promise that these will be approved by PUDA.

Why does PUDA remain silent when such unauthorised colonies are developed? And if PUDA has approved some colonies, it should ensure that these are developed according to the approved plans. PUDA should also publish the names of such colonisers or colonies in popular newspapers so that people are not cheated by unscrupulous property dealers.

B. S. SHARMA, Amritsar


Wheat price

All “farmer friendly” leaders are lobbying to increase the support price of wheat. I wonder whether they have ever studied economics. They should not make statements which would make the life of a farmer miserable. They should understand that with an increase in their vote bank, the burden on the common man would become more heavy. We have a large number of subsidies which never reach the small farmer, but they add to our budget deficit, and to the vicious circle in the economy.

None of them has done anything to educate the farmer. We have the maximum wastage in storage and transportation. We have a surplus wheat and rice, but people in famine-hit areas like Orissa still remain hungry. Increasing the price will make life more miserable for them and for their classes of society. Why are we not thinking in terms of making our agriculture more productive by adopting new methods and crops?

Lalit Batra (In response to Internet edition)



School libraries

This refers to the point raised in ‘Chandigarh Calling’ in the issue of February 19, under the heading ‘Bar to best library’.

The Best School Library award was instituted by the Chandigarh Librarians Association to make the libraries at the grassroot level fully functional and accessive to the readers. The CLA organises Competition Master library related competitions every year.

These competitions were started about four years ago and we had noticed that the same school was winning the award every year, which had resulted in resentment among the unsuccessful contestants who felt discouraged.

The matter was discussed this year by the executive which felt that the purpose of making maximum number of school libraries fully functional and accessive was defeated since the number of contestants was declining because the same school was getting the award every year. So the CLA decided to impose a rider just for one year.

While doing so, the CLA had neither any intention of helping anyone nor of ignoring those who were doing good work. The rider was only for one year and was imposed to give a chance to those who were criticising the earlier decision. Moreover, the best always remains the best and this decision will in no way affect the status of last year’s winner.

B. VERMA, General Secretary, CLA, Chandigarh

Women’s gesture

The government is facing a grave financial crisis in the wake of the earthquake in Gujarat and the working women of India want to stand by it in this difficult hour. The government should withdraw the benefit of Rs 5000 given to women in the standard deduction while computing income tax. This should have been done in the current financial year, but it should now be incorporated in next year’s budget.

This is not my feeling alone, but is the feeling of most of the women I have talked to. It will not hurt them, because the spouses of most of them are working and they are making a reasonable combined income.



Alternative crops

In the past few months there have been reports in newspapers about conferences and workshops, where the farmers are advised to abandon the wheat-paddy cycle and to diversify into labour-intensive crops such as vegetables, fruit and timber.

No one seems to have thought how the ordinary farmer whose average holding in four hectares and who is already in debt, can make a success of such a venture. Can he afford to plant an orchard? How will he market the vegetables to make a profit? Where is the help and advice coming from at the village level?

Such help is just not available. I have tried to see the local horticultural inspector several times without success. A number of mango trees have died in my orchard in the past two years. Vegetables had to be sold at below the cost price. When eventually I have fruit to sell, there are no marketing or processing facilities.

Unless the PAU and the relevant government agencies make a concerted effort to help the farmers at the grassroot level, no such scheme is going to succeed.

S. P. S SOHI, Narowal Kalan (Fatehgarh Sahib)


Police station site

The police station in Nadaun is housed in a 200-year-old building which looks like an abandoned fort. The building leaks heavily during the rains, and when the plight of the policemen was highlighted in the press the then IG of Police, law and order, was deputed to assess the situation. On his report a search was launched to find an alternative site for the police station, and a site near the veterinary hospital was selected. It was later given up and a new site in the forest of Tilloo was selected. This appears to have been done without giving any thought to the security of the police men and the convenience of the people.

The new building under construction in the forest will be difficult for the people to reach at night, particularly in the rainy season, should an emergency arise. The police, without any vehicles and a communication system, will also be exposed to hazards such as militants’ attacks.

Correct location of a police station can solve half the problems of the people as well as the police. But this principle does not seem to have weighed with those who have selected the present site.



Tackling terrorism

Terrorism cannot be eradicated from the Kashmir valley by the security forces alone. Alongwith their efforts a sustained and vigorous campaign by the politicians is necessary to disabuse the minds of the youth of the virus of fundamentalism.

Those who swear by secularism should visit the valley to explain to the people the dangers inherent in dogmatism.

People like Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and Syed Shahabuddin should go to the valley and explain to their co-religionists that as the USA could not be divided on the slave issue, Kashmir cannot be allowed to be separated from this country on the basis of religion. The creation of Bangladesh has proved that religion alone cannot sustain a state.

The Kashmiri Muslims should consult their co-religionists in the rest of the country and formulate their demands on the basis of a consensus among them.

It is really painful that Muslim leaders in the country are maintaining silence over the inhuman acts of the terrorists in Kashmir.


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