Monday, December 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Wheat being moved out of Punjab: FCI

The report “Grain stocks worth 25,000 cr rotting” (Dec 13) is not based on facts. It is totally wrong that the grain stocks worth Rs 25,000 cr in Punjab godowns, both covered and in the open, are rotting. Actually 156 lakh MT of wheat is still lying in Punjab of which 18.65 lakh MT is held by the FCI. On an average 4.35 lakh MT wheat is being moved monthly out of Punjab. Till date 12.90 lakh MT wheat has been moved on export account and 2.5 lakh MT has since been lifted by private parties under the open sale scheme.

The FCI has now decided to allow the sale of wheat ex-Punjab godowns from the central pool. Private parties from the recipient regions are allowed to lift stocks by rail.

There has not been any adverse reporting about any rotting of foodgrains in the covered godowns. However, some stocks purchased during 1997-98 and 1998-99 under relaxed specifications as per the Government of India decision are awaiting disposal through open sale. Some quantities identified as BRL are also in the process upgradation/replacement through millers, but there has not been any down- gradation of the stocks, reported so far from the covered godowns of the Punjab region in recent months.

The FCI in Punjab is managing covered storage capacity of 85.17 lakh MT and open storage capacity of 50.16 lakh MT which is a record. The FCI has also taken steps to create additional storage space in other states so that foodgrains from Punjab are moved.

There has not been any problem with regard to payment from the FCI to the state agencies for the stocks delivered in the central pool. However, the state agencies are allowed carry-over charges, including the interest element, for the stocks held under their possession.

The FCI, Punjab region, has been feeding both HP and J&K for their requirements of wheat and rice along with some induction from Haryana. However, a particular variety of rice demanded by J&K is only available in UP.

D.K. DHAWAN Regional Manager, FCI, Patiala


KU resolution

The report “KU resolution to be challenged” (Dec 4) has given a distorted picture with regard to the university decision regarding the selection committee for appointment to the teaching positions in privately managed colleges affiliated with the university.

The decision has actually been taken to safeguard the interests of candidates and stop appointment by manipulation and backdoor entry of non-deserving candidates. Such a situation has led the government and the university to take remedial measures. The amendment was, therefore, necessary to protect the interest of the deserving candidates and the institutions.

The meeting of the Non-Government College Managing Committees Association held at Panipat on 2.12.2001 did not represent even 10 per cent of the institutions. Since no working committee was constituted and no meeting was held in the evening, there was no question of any decision. It would have been better if your correspondent had ascertained the correct position from the university.


Maneka’s allegations

The controversy over the replacement of Mrs Maneka Gandhi by Mr Jagmohan as Minister for Culture has not received the attention it deserved. It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to allocate portfolios and Mr Jagmohan is far more qualified to hold the charge of this ministry.

However, Mrs Maneka Gandhi has raised an important issue that should not be ignored. In an interview given to Rashmi Sehgal, she has made startling revelations about the misuse of huge public funds by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts, the Nehru Memorial Library, the Nehru Memorial Trust, the Lalit Kala Academy, the National Galary of Modern Arts and the National Museum.

Based on the report of the National CGA, the IGNCA alone has been charged with misappropriation of Rs 600 crore. Her disclosure that a monthly scholarship of Rs 7,500 has been paid to Harivanshrai Bachchan, the celebrated Hindi poet and father of Amitabh Bachchan, for the last seven years is shocking. It is well known that the senior Bachchan has for a long time been unable to undertake any assignment.

Mr Jagmohan will, hopefully, get these allegations investigated and take appropriate follow-up action. It is all the more desirable to uphold the dignity and honour of these institutes of great national importance and also the high dignitaries connected with them.

Prof J.B. GOYAL, New Delhi

Free power supply

Apropos of the news item “PSEB told to ensure 3 pc return: HC order setback to free power policy”, the human rights body “Lawyers Initiative” and the three engineers who had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court must be complimented for taking the initiative and showing a way to others that judicial pronouncements can be invoked to take the reckless political leadership who evade its responsibility to enforce the statutory provisions while managing public enterprises.

The high court has directed that the PSEB must ensure 3 per cent rate of return on the average capital base. This provision was made mandatory in the Electricity (Supply) Act in 1985 but most of the state governments never enforced it and let the state electricity boards go financially sick.


Railway station

The beautiful railway station of Panchrukhi lying between Pathankot and Baijnath Paprola (HP) is in dire straits. A major portion of the platform is broken with several potholes. The platform being uneven often leads to injuries to commuters. There is neither a proper place for people to sit nor any shed for commuters to even stand safely. The condition becomes pathetic during rainy and winter seasons. The station and its surroundings are unclean. The only toilet has no facility of water.


Senior citizens

All books in India offer 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent higher interest on deposits to the senior citizens. But a different age group criteria is being adopted by the Railways for allowing certain concessions to the senior citizens. The government should therefore adopt a uniform age group criteria of 60 years and above for allowing benefits/concessions to senior citizens by all departments/organisations.

S. S. UTREJA, Nangal

Thank you, police

On the night of Dec 1 my mother was seriously ill. At about 2 a.m I had to admit her in Cheema Hospital, Phase 5, Mohali. My brother stayed there and I left for my home. But my car was not starting. Suddenly, a jeep of the police halted there. I was frightened to see the cops. They enquired politely whether I needed any help. Soon my car started and I reachedhome, impressed by the police. Thank you, Punjab Police.

RAKESH koshal, Mohali

Haryana Sikhs

This is in reference to Mr Jagjit Singh Virk's resolution regarding the Haryana Sikhs seeking a separate SGPC. Why does everybody talk of a separate state, a separate region etc? Why not talk of unity and welfare of the people?

In Form No 1 Rule 3 (1), distributed in Haryana for voters, there was a separate column for the Scheduled Castes. When our religion does not permit casteism, what is the requirement of this column in the form?

M. V. SINGH, Kaithal

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