Monday, July 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Consumer fora better than Ombudsmen

This refers to the letter by Mr M.R. Pai (July 7) I wish to add that insurance consumer too will be the worst hit by the proposed replacement of Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act.

As per the statistics available around 20 per cent cases tried in various consumer fora relate to insurance claims. At present aggrieved insurance consumers get relief in the majority of cases from these forums which are headed by retired judges and located at district headquarters.

With the proposed amendments, consumers will have to approach the insurance Ombudsmen staffed with officers from the insurance sector. Consumers hardly get justice from such departmental institutions.

Besides the Insurance Ombudsman is stationed at the state headquarters. In case of Chandigarh, the Ombudsman looks after five states.

If the government is really interested in protecting consumers, it should open additional forums in the bigger districts rather than having Ombudsmen institutions which are just grievance cells already operating in each insurance organisation.


The present provision of Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act should not be disturbed, otherwise the proposed amendments, if approved, would take away one of the fundamental rights of the consumer i.e. the right to choose.


Still in stone age

During my recent visit to interior areas of Shimla district i.e. Dodra-Kawar-Jakha, I was astonished to find that the area had no roads. No newspapers, no telephone link, particularly for Jakha. The hard life of the residents can be visualised. The road via Rohru from Lalot, Chansal Ghati, connecting Dodra (which is non-operational for six months on account of snow) has perhaps been abandoned by the HP Government. Local residents say that the case is with the Forest Conservation Authority for clearance.

The Supreme Court order prohibiting diversion or dereservation of the wildlife sanctuary area cannot be expected to snatch the rights of basic requirements, particularly roads. Roads will not only enhance development of the area, but also value of the forest. Tourism alone can invite heavy business in the area. I was ashamed to see a Gaddi using stone, an iron piece and dry grass for lighting a fire, instead of a matchbox.

The residents received the news of Independence (1947) after three years. The position has not improved even now. The central and state governments are requested to clear the digging up of a road from Lalot to Jakha at least on humanitarian grounds.

We should avoid unnecessary disruptive, revolutionary and suppressive ideas from the poor residents of the area. Let them feel they are in developed India.


Bathinda-Bhiwani train

Northern Railway runs a passengers train (No. IBBR) on the Bathinda-Bhiwani route from Bathinda at 6.20 a.m. This train has a confusing route indication board i.e. Ferozepur-Bathinda-Rohtak-Ferozepur-Ludhiana instead of Bathinda-Sirsa-Hisar-Bhiwani-Rohtak. Due to heavy rush, more compartments with clean toilets are urgently required.

Er RAJ AGGARWAL, Kotkapura


Cultural pollution

Apropos the editorial “An indecent proposal” (July 2), parents watching pop singers on TV with their children, instead of enjoying the songs, feel ill at lease. Quite often gestures of guys and gals, wearing scanty dress and capering in a lewd manner round singers, are deserving of scorn.

Even at fairs held at the shrines of Muslim “pirs”, where spiritual numbers ought to be sung, pop singers sing obscene songs.

Guru Nanak said: So Kyon manda aakhiyai jit jamey raajaan (Why should she, who gives birth to great men, be disparaged?). Yet in most of the songs woman is shown in very poor light. Is this the Punjabi culture we pride ourselves on?

A couple of months ago at a seminar on the study of folklore and culture, organised by the School of Punjabi Studies of Guru Nanak Dev University, a number of distinguished Punjabi scholars appealed to the central and state governments to clamp a ban on obscene and unethical presentation of Punjabi culture under the guise of pop singing.

The Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, has now warned that those, who spread obscenity through Punjabi songs, will be proceeded against under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The menace of cultural pollution cannot be checked by legal recourse alone. Religious leaders, social workers and public-spirited persons should create awareness against it and persuade the people to boycott the pop singers who sing obscene songs.


Vulgar posters: Punjab minister Swarna Ram wants to curb vulgarity by establishing a censor board, but he is totally unaware of the grassroots reality. It is sickening to see vulgar cinema posters pasted on the walls of cities. Such posters are pasted on the Alenanda girls school walls on the Queens Road in Amritsar. Imagine this happening in the holy city.

BRIJ BEDI, Amritsar

Ex-servicemen convention

This refers to the news item “Ex-servicemen’s league apolitical” (July 15). The Indian Ex-services League (Punjab and Chandigarh) and the IESL (Chd) jointly organised a convention of ex-servicemen on July 8 in the Tagore Theatre. Both are affiliated to the Indian Ex-services League, New Delhi, which is recognised by the government of India.

For someone to allege that there is a split in the League without any basis is indeed sad. It is a well known fact that the League is a non-political body. Its constitution, however, lays down that the League, in fulfilment of its aims and objects, will help and co-operate with any political party or individual having aims of promoting ex-servicemen’s welfare. It was, therefore, quite befitting to have Capt Kanwaljit Singh as the chief guest who, besides being the Finance Minister of Punjab and in view of his Army background, has taken a number of steps to ameliorate the condition of ex-servicemen and war-widows.

Brig SANT SINGH, (retd), President, IESL (Chd), & Lt Col JAGJIT SINGH MAND (retd), President, IESL (Pb&Chd), Chandigarh



Why is it so?

Apropos Mr Gautam Kaul’s “The Gadar between real & reel history” (July 7) why is it that when movies show severed, mutilated and bled to the last drop human beings brought in trains to lonely railway stations, that the agonising tale of partition is well told?

Why can’t they picturise and attempt at capturing the real life, traumatic sufferings and nostalgic alienation, from the place of birth and hearth, of people on both sides who actually went through the ordeal which influenced their lives in a big way?

While Mr Gautam Kaul has successfully brought out the role of the media in calming down the temporarily experienced intolerable sentiments, outcries and high tempers incited by vested interests of the divide, he did not make a mention of the well-treated theme in “Hey Ram” where Shahrukh Khan is helped by Kamal Hassan and “Border” where Indian soldiers take care of the injured Pakistani soldiers.


Commercial gimmicks

Numerous commercial gimmicks for weight loss such as sauna bath, body wraps, sweat suits and vibrators have no known advantage in weight reduction and may precipitate adverse medical complications. These therapies are an economic fraud in addition to being ineffective.


Of a roadside dhaba

While travelling from Chandigarh to Pathankot, it is routine for roadways and private buses to stop at roadside dhabas. I happened to witness one such dhaba near Balachaur on July 8, 2001.

The whole area was stinking. Men were seen easing themselves at every approachable bush, as the toilet was worse than a choked gutter.

One can imagine the condition of female passengers, who with their social, anatomical and postural restrictions have to use that stinking place and carry home infections.

Though I avoid eating at such places, yet on the insistence of the kids and in the absence of any potable water, I asked for a cold drink. I was given a 200 ml Coke bottle for Rs 10. When I objected for overcharging (Rs 7 was printed on the bottle), I was blandly told to take it or leave it. I left the bottle and asked for the refund.

This infuriated the man behind the counter. He tore off the ten-rupee note into two pieces and threw at me, while showering me with choicest abuses.

If the government can’t stop these unauthorised stops, passengers can, if they avoid purchasing snacks and drinks at such places.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |