Tuesday, October 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Burning of garbage causes pollution

The price Punjab is paying for being the most prosperous and foremost in agricultural productivity is the cloud of smog over its skies. Of course, the burning of remanants in the fields after harvest is the major contributor. But that is just twice a year phenomenon. Equally important are the small-scale polluters in every street that we witness every day.

Every safai sewak essentially carries two pieces of equipment — one broom with a long handle to collect all the dry garbage and one match box to set fire to it. And believe me, I have seen this being done right in front of head office of the Pollution Control Board.

Legalities involved in checking the polluting industries or making farmers change age old habits might be difficult, but certain municipal corporations or the Pollution Control Board can certainly do away with this street scenario with just one office order which can go a long way in alleviating problems of pollution associated respiratory disease, number of which is ever rising.

G. S. BATTU, Patiala


Deplorable practice

On October 14, I had a chance to interact with five students, of a reputed school of Shimla, as they took lift in my car. As conversation progressed, I found that they were coming after attending the fete of their school and the discussion filled me with remorse as they told me that the items which were being offered in the skill games were actually being brought by them and these were again sold back to them after making a large profit. The same was the case with eatables.

Even the very little children, these days are awakened and are quite sarcastic about the mode by which the money is being collected by the various schools. Such a practice of any school will certainly leave a far lasting scar on the psyche of its students. Many schools also distribute raffle tickets to the students. They are asked to sell these and the children are seen pleading or begging to the strangers for the sale of the same.

The school should devise some healthy way to raise its resources.

V. K. SHARMA, Shimla

Militancy in J&K

What Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Omar Abdullah said in a BBC programme on the militancy in Kashmir is worthwhile. The Centre and the State should find an amicable solution to the problem.

All accords and agreements reached so far between the countries should be declared null and void. a lasting solution to the problem should be found out. In this exercise, the Chief Minister of the State and representatives of other parties should be involved. The opposition should be taken into confidence.

Lt Col P. S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh

Elegant models

It is heartening to read the editorial on Naipaul. The clamour against his views reminds me of the limerick which says’ thou shall not be a friend of those/who read the Bible for its prose’. But genuine writing always rises above its immediate historical context. Not only do we read the Bible for its measured prose, but we also read Dostovevsky and Tolstoy in spite of their avowed illiberal views.

“Among the Believers” and “A Wounded Civilisation” may have incensed a certain kind of reader (I remember Nissim Eziekel getting frothy), but they are models of elegant narrative, as are “A House for Mr Biswas” and “Mystic Masseur”.

Writing from New York in the aftermath of September 11, I can only invoke Wallace Stevens: “Natives of poverty, children of malheur/the gaiety of language is your only siegneur”.

M. L. RAINA, New York

Nursing officers

Having no intention to rekindle the controversy, I must though say that Nursing “Officer” Capt Simi Soni’s reaction (Oct. 11) to a well-documented write up by Mr Vijay Mohan lacks objectivity. How can she stoop so low as to draw a parallel between an OG wearing sweeper and an army doctor? In what category should we place the MNS nurses then?

Nursing officers’ claim to the officer status in their new-found OG is totally misplaced. That they are not entitled to a salute from the soldiers is enough to falsify their claim. Spurious officers trying to pass off as real officers is not on.

It is highly embarrassing for the service personnel saluting unentitled persons as is currently happening in the case of nursing officers under the prevailing OG dress confusion. Be it known that saluting wrong persons is a touchy matter as was recently witnessed during General Musharraf’s visit to India.

It would be more officer-like if the nursing officers themselves come forward to clear the confusion.

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

LSE & terrorism

This has reference to the news item in “Ludhiana Tribune” (Oct 10) under the headline “War on terrorism death warrant for LSE?”. The figures quoted in the report are not only factually wrong, but also grossly misleading.

I would like to clarify that terrorism in the USA had a very little impact on the turnover of the exchange and its subsidiary company i.e LSE Securities Limited. Rather the combined turnover of the exchange & its subsidiary company, which was having a daily average of Rs 15 crore, has in fact increased to more than Rs 22 crore for the post-September 11 period. Because of dynamic policies and vision of the management of the exchange, we have not only been able to survive in the tough time, but also have tremendous strength to grow in times to come.

A careful perusal of the balance-sheet of the stock exchange would have revealed the correct picture but the reporter chose to focus on accumulated losses without considering the vast reserves the exchange (Rs 1330.16 lakh).

The report stated that the daily expenses of the LSE are around Rs 1 lakh against a meagre income of Rs 20,000 on an average. Income during the year was Rs 390.50 lakh against the actual expenses of Rs 392.38 lakh (including depreciation of Rs 148.27 lakh) as against the previous year income of Rs 377.91 lakh and expenditure of Rs 354.11 lakh. The daily average income exceeds Rs 1 lakh and it showed an increase in the current year.

How can the management of the stock exchange be forced to sell a part of the building when the LSE has reserves and surplus exceeding Rs 13.30 crore as per the balance-sheet on March 31, 2001.

H. S. SIDHU, GM, LSE, Ludhiana

A hard fact

This has reference to the report “HMT scouts for partner” (Sept 20). Congratulations for earning a profit of Rs 5.20 crore by Tractor Division of HMT Pinjore. I am not against searching out a wealthy partner by them as said by the visiting Union Heavy Industry Minister Manohar Joshi but I am pained to point out that what importance is of this profit when its voluntary retired employees are striving for their unpaid dues for years together.

The arrears of Provident Fund and Leave Encashment for the years 1991 to ’95 are being denied regularly. Is it not a matter of shame for the HMT management and the government as well?

Will the minister concerned do something for the hapless lot?

O. P. WALIA, Panchkula


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