Saturday, November 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Why have assemblies in bankrupt states?

You have been rather kind in your comments on the working of the state legislatures of Punjab and Haryana and have let them off with a mild warning (“Challenges ahead”, Nov 1). What have the legislators of the two Houses to celebrate on the statehood anniversary except the financial and administrative bankruptcy they have brought about?

During the last three decades or so, the finances have been so very grossly mismanaged that the once viable states are in a virtual debt-trap. While every noise in the street evokes a heated debate, the important document of the Budget is passed almost without a debate. No MLA tries to learn a thing about the state or the national economy. So long as they get their perks and funds for their fancy vote-catching schemes, they have nothing to complain about. The common man can go to hell.

As for administration, the less said the better. Enough has been said and written about how our elected representatives have made a perfect nonsense of all the rules and the laws we used to abide by. India’s administration has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the least progressive and the most corrupt in the world.

So why continue with a system that has failed to achieve the objective it was created for? All assemblies should be dissolved and Parliament should exercise direct control over the state finances and administration until the state becomes financially viable. Elections to the state assemblies may be postponed till such time as the states acquire the means and the will to meet their non-plan expenditure in full.

Believe me, sir, no one is going to miss the state Cabinets in the meantime.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan


Cruelty to animals

The laboratory animals are kept in appalling conditions in Medical College, Amritsar. The authorities are callously innocent to the priorities of these animals. What to speak of the prescribed feeding schedule, even clean sterile water is not made available. Dirty water is seen in the seldom cleaned plastic containers/iron buckets. Faecal mater is not washed away from the floor of the pens. The rabbits/guinea-pigs are kept loose in the pens with utter disregard to their comfort. They are not kept in cages. Foul-smelling sheep and barking dogs in the animal house speak of an egregious lapse of the management.

It appears that there is no trained employee for handling, feeding, and round-the-clock vigil of these animals. No vet is available for their health check-up. Those who conduct experiments on animals should be morally bound to insure that maximum comfort is given to the animals, who are destined to be tortured, maimed, bled and often killed during research.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, the Government of India has constituted a committee for the purpose of control and supervision of experiments on animals to prevent cruelty to animals in research laboratories and attached animal houses. It is obligatory for all establishments to get registered with the committee and all experiments on animals are to be conducted with its permission.


Girl’s school turns 100

Dev Samaj Senior Secondary School for Girls, Ferozepur, celebrated its centenary from November 1 to 3, 2001, on a grand scale but the event was not covered properly. This 100-year-old school has provided a yeoman’s service to the cause of education of girls of not only Punjab, but also of far-off places in Haryana, UP, Assam, South India and the whole of the area which now forms Pakistan.

Before partition girls from as far as Karachi used to study in this prestigious school. This school gave to Punjab the first lady graduates of Panjab University and the first lady MBBS of Punjab. It has provided thousands of lady teachers from school to college to university levels all over India. The celebrations were briefly reported in The Tribune (Nov 5).

Why did The Tribune decide to ignore such a significant celebration? Perhaps because the school management did not invite any politician or VVIP to be the chief guest! Routine matters like convocation or prize distribution functions presided over by the so-called VVIPs are exhaustively covered and reported by The Tribune regularly.


Musharraf’s appeal

Turning down Gen Pervez Musharraf’s appeal for halting bombing in Afghanistan during Ramazan, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently said at Islamabad that it would enable Osama bin Laden to carry out more terrorist acts (“Rumsfeld rebuffs Musharraf”, Nov 5).

Last year Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had made an offer of ceasefire during Ramazan to the Pak-backed terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir. But instead of reciprocating positively to his gesture of goodwill, leaders of various terrorist outfits based in Pakistan straightway rejected it saying that there was no Islamic injunction for cessation of hostilities in the month of Ramazan and threatened to step up violence.

Neither General Musharraf nor any religious leader of Pakistan asked them to desist from shedding innocent blood in view of the sacredness of the month of fasting. The terrorists killed a large number of peace-loving people, including more than 50 Muslims.

General Musharraf has now no moral right to ask the USA to halt bombing in Afghanistan when last year he himself did not prevent the Pak-backed terrorists from indulging in sanguinary violence in Jammu and Kashmir.


Unsung heroes

Apropos Ms Kiran Bedi’s write-up “Remembering unsung heroes”, we are in the habit of maligning our policemen. They don’t have any fixed duty hours. Their living conditions are pathetic. Without proper facilities, we expect them to be smart, honest and efficient. We compare them with cops in Ameirica or the UK.

Once I saw an officer in Ms Bedi’s office almost in tears. After 48 hours duty, he was told to take charge again. I went to a police station and was surprised to find only broken chairs. I got them a few chairs. I suggest let’s send some citizens on a beat with policemen and let them see how tough their life is.

Policemen are not trained properly. They are mostly used for politicians’ services. Till we have a police force with guts, nothing would change. It becomes imperative on our part to defend and support honest policemen.

BRIJ BEDI, AmritsarTop

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