Friday, November 16, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Corrupt practices: how India and Pakistan differ

Though there are many factors which distinguish India from Pakistan but the one factor which has caught my attention is probably not in the notice of many Indians.

In India, almost everyday we hear about the arrest of one or other person involved in corrupt practices, embezzlement of public money, cheating the public exchequer or duping investors of crores. For a week or so, we relish seeing the "tamasha" on TV and read interesting stories about the offender in newspapers, but soon the issue goes behind the screen as some new issue of interest to the media emerges. After a year or so, we find that the person who was arrested is leading a luxurious life or has taken shelter under some political party and is a claimant to the party ticket also.

In contrast, in Pakistan such arrests are not announced on TV. Only the verdicts of the court are announced which generally include 10 to 20 years rigorous imprisonment, fine to the tune of Rs 5 to 10 crore and confiscation of the entire property. If readers don't believe me, they can see the PTV news in the night.

We know well that it cannot happen in India as ours is a democracy and law-makers will not like to frame such laws which may land them in jail or lead to the confiscation of their assets. But any person who earns his bread by the sweat of his brows has indeed started feeling that democracy is a big curse for our country. It would be better if some other type of government is there.



PRUDA for Punjab

We already have PUDA for urban development of Punjab. In its limited way the success achieved by it is there for all of us to see. Due to the influx from the rural to urban areas, PUDA is developing new colonies. The fact cannot be denied that the plight of cities is deplorable. Pass through any city or a town, the unhygienic conditions, chaos of traffic, degradation of air and water are there for all to see and experience.

Managing this situation is not unsurmountable. The foresight of our politicians, the bureaucracy and alert citizens is needed to check the population growth and induce attractions for people to live in villages by making living and working conditions better in the villages.

An agency like Punjab Rural Development Agency (PRUDA) is needed as much as PUDA to check at least one menace of the country that we are facing. Let us give better India to our new generations.

Wg Cdr RAJ DHANOA, Chandigarh


PM-Bush meeting

Prime Minister Vajpayee was among the few, if not the only leader, who read from a prepared text in the joint appearance with President Bush, while other leaders articulated their country’s vision. It has been reported that during his meeting with Mr Bush, Mr Vajpayee simply listened while letting Mr Bush do most of the talking. What is the most well received speech of Mr Vajpayee? An extempore talk in Hindi to NRIs at an Indian Embassy function!

All of this points to an Indian leader and an establishment that lack vision and conviction in confronting the religious-based extremism in the name of Islam. Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, said in a recent Washington Post op-ed: “India is profoundly threatened by domestic Islamic fundamentalism.” Kissinger is referring to India’s large and growing Muslim population that too is increasingly radicalised.

Unfortunately, year after year the representative system of governing India is producing leaders who are true representatives of India — a Third World country. Unless India breaks out of this vicious circle, the forces of religious extremism, are likely to overwhelm it.


Vigilance bureau

The news item "Vigilance bureau contradicts itself" (Oct. 27) is misleading, motivated and contemptuous. The Haryana Vigilance Bureau conducted an enquiry into the charges against Mr Karan Singh Dalal, a former Forest Minister of Haryana. An FIR (No. 6, dated 2.5.2001) was registered against Mr Dalal, Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu of Bharat Bio-Fertilizer, Panipat, and certain officers of the Forest Department on the basis of an enquiry report of Mr O.P. Singh, IPS, the then SP, Gurgaon, who had established that Mr Dalal, being the Forest & Agriculture Minister in the Bansi Lal government (1996-1999), got purchased bio-fertiliser worth over Rs 25 lakh @ Rs 50 per kg, while the same was available at the rate of Rs 17 per kg at Hisar & Ghaziabad.

For several years the Forest Department had purchased bio-fertiliser from Mr Sandhu. But the purchase of bio-fertiliser was stopped when certain irregularities came to light after assumption of office by the present government. A vigilance probe was ordered on receipt of a complaint and an affidavit against Mr Dalal. Hence, the facts have been twisted in the news item. The Vigilance Bureau denies allegations of selective investigation of corruption charges.

R. K. VACHHER, I.G., Haryana Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh

Osama's N-claims

To believe or not to believe, the age-old question has surfaced again. Osama has claimed that he possesses the numero uno destructive weapon. If the revered Mr Hamid, a journalist from The Dawn , whom even the great uncle Sam hasn't have had the courage to ask for the source of his footage is to be believed, then this is the most alarming news in the recent times. And its repercussions can be disastrous.


HRTC commuters

As one moves down from Shimla’s Rivoli road to the bus stand, one finds unauthorised vendors not only on the sides of the steps but also on the main bus stand compound. What I have been told is that only three stalls are authorised. Unauthorised vendors also pass indecent remarks on female commuters.

The cloakroom contractor charges at his own sweet will and discretion. A group of porters at the cloakroom have formed a clique and do not allow any other porter to load or offload luggage from buses and they charge Rs 5 to 20 per piece. They have no contract nor are they licensed porters of the HRTC.


Army house allotment

When my husband, a Major was posted in Assam I was living with my children in a family quarter. On his return from Assam, when his turn for allotment of a house came, that house was suddenly placed under repairs and subsequently allotted to a Colonel without doing any repairs. As a result, I had to continue living in the family quarter which was of inferior status to our entitlement for five months even though my husband had returned to the peace station. The Army authorities should stop such wrong practices immediately.

VEENA CHADHA, Chandigarh

Disability pension

If a soldier is granted 100 per cent disability pension, it works out to Rs 500 per month plus D.A. as admissible. Will the totally disabled person be able to survive on such a meagre financial assistance? Surprisingly, the disability pension allowance was to be revised by the Fourth Pay Commission, but it was kept pending for finalisation. May I draw the attention of our leaders, the public and the authorities concerned to pay heed to the problems of retired disabled soldiers and raise the allowance.

S. P. BASSI, Nawanshahr

Senior citizens

Punjab, Himachal, Chandigarh as also Delhi and the Centre have been announcing concessions/facilities for the Senior Citizens from time to time, but it is sad to say that the Haryana government lags much behind in this regard.

Like the U.T. of Chandigarh and Punjab, Haryana to should allow bus fare concessions to senior citizens.

R. K. JAIN, Jagadhri


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