Wednesday, April 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Moments of shame and glory

WITH shock and disbelief the nation saw the exposures made by We felt ashamed of being ruled by leaders who have crossed all limits of public morality and decency. The average Indian became sullen and crestfallen.

In such a depressing atmosphere, the excellent performance of our sportsmen came as a whiff of fresh air. Gopinath has done India proud by winning the All-England Badminton title after a gap of 20 years. Our hockey team humbled Pakistan to win the nine-nation Prime Minister’s Gold Cup at Dhaka.

And in cricket, our boys checked the unstoppable Aussies by defeating them in the Kolkata Test and eventually winning the series after a splendid win in Chennai. In the one-day series, the team has made a good start by defeating the visitors at Bangalore.

Our politicians have played a disgusting game and the sportsmen have given the country some moments of glory.

D. S. MATHUR, Ambala Cantt


Corruption as a norm

A minister was facing a protest by villagers against corruption in his department. When nothing could pacify them, the minister retorted: “You know your sarpanch well. Is he not corrupt? Is there no embezzlement in your panchayat or in that of your neighbouring village? What have you done to stop that?

Perhaps, the minister said so because the sarpanch belonged to another party, but he had a point.

Are we shocked at the sudden exposure of corruption at high places? Has Tehelka really revealed something that we did not know? We all know it too well, not the specific details of particular deals, but the working of our system. We have accepted corruption as a norm, not only as mute spectators, but also as active participants. Corruption is not an alien being for us. We meet it at every street corner, shake hands with it and even salute it if it works well for us.

So, what we need is not Tehelka for the sake of Tehelka, but something which will shake the complacency of the common man towards corruption. As more and more scams and scandals are coming to light, we are learning to take them more and more casually. The highly charged atmosphere created by these TV channels has only the entertainment value of a thriller.

Even what follows is not unpredictable — discussions, inquiries, and press conferences. A few heads may roll, but at the end, quiet flows the Ganga.

Resignations of a few may be satisfying but that is not enough. Godly things fall from the heavens but the worldly ones grow from the ground under our feet. And it is here that we need to make a start at the grassroot level.

MEET SHARMA, Chandigarh

Electricity tariff

THE Punjab State Electricity Board has found a novel way to raise the rates of domestic power supply. For consumption up to 300 units, the rate for the first 100 units is Rs 1.50 per unit. On the remaining units, it is Rs 2.60 per unit. If the consumption exceeds 300 units, then the entire consumption, right from the first unit, is charged Rs 2.90 per unit.

It has been the practice of the board to apply the highest rate after the consumption of a certain number of units and not on the entire consumption. Now, if a consumer consumes in a month just one unit in excess of 300 units, he is charged at the rate of Rs 2.90 per unit for the entire 301 units. Thus a consumption of 300 units will cost Rs 670 but 301 units will cost Rs 872.90 which means that the extra one unit will cost the consumer Rs 202.90.

This is a strange and illogical way of charging the consumer. But this anomaly has not been noticed and no protests have been voiced against the new system. This indirect way of hiking the tariffs for domestic consumption deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. The board should not fool the people in this manner and revert to its old policy of charging the highest rate on consumption beyond a certain number of units. If it is not feasible then an appropriate flat rate should be enforced.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh



Tightening the noose

The Tehelka revelations are not surprising, knowing the extent of corruption in the corridors of power. However, the involvement of some senior army officers is indeed shocking.

Transparency in defence deals, rather all government deals, giving the middlemen or agents a reasonable commission, appropriate incentives to the staff concerned for negotiating the best bargains, giving more teeth to the CVC and other investigating agencies, suitable legislation to introduce summary trials to meet out quick and deterrent punishment, and curtailing the number of judicial steps to cut delays, can be some of the remedies.

We should also try to prevent those in power from indulging in corrupt practices through periodic checks on their movable and immovable assets, their business interests and their style of living.

But the moot point is whether the politicians will bring in such measures which would tighten the noose around their own necks?

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Wake-up call

The politicians may be trying to find technical faults with the Tehelka exposures in their defence but the common people are happy that the Tehelka has given a wake-up call to the politicians of all shades. Those who do not read the writing on the wall, are sure to vanish as the Janata will eventually dump them.

Chandigarhians are proud that’s Editor-in-Chief belongs to this city. We should honour him so that he continues his mission of making our country corruption free. Over to our social organisations.


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