Saturday, December 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



People’s democracy without democratic dissent

Apropos of the article “Phenomenon of micro-politics” by Bhim S. Dahiya (Dec 18), the degeneration of people’s democracy into families’ democracy may be attributed to the little space for the democratic element in our psyche. Leaving all our miseries at the mercy of fate and feel elated in getting the opportunity to please the master has been the most important aspect of our socio-cultural heritage. The dissent has been snubbed as anti-social activity, which in fact enriches the intellectual diversity and strengthens the democratic process of society. Gradually, this has contributed in evolution of ‘limited company’ type of polity. The rulers have been able to get the masses swallow the pills of fate, religion, caste, rebirth etc which have been evolved and proved successful beyond doubt as tools of administration.

With the passage of time, we have become addicted to these pills with their side-effect as pessimism among the masses, which in turn encourages callousness in the administration and diminishing social pressure on the ruling class. Otherwise, how could it be possible for the panchayats to announce decrees on public hanging of teenage lovers in the villages? And how could it be dignified for vibrant democracy that one of its MPs glorified the celebration of ‘Sati’? More recently, the brazen defence by the chairman of HPSC in favour of one of the aspirants of HCS 98 (The Tribune, Oct 23) goes without any protest by opposition parties, social organisations and without any public interest litigation from the lawyer bodies. There are rumours, much in advance of declaration of results, that a particular candidate has topped the said examination. How could it be possible for the chairman to know so much of details about a particular candidate and fulfil basic criterion of unbiasedness of the position enjoyed by him?


To get the country rid of scourge of feudalistic polity and to strengthen democratic fabric of our society, it becomes the duty of all conscious mortals to educate the masses and bolster the voice of democratic dissent so that the drowsing impact of the pills is nullified. ‘The Fourth Estate’ has to play a vital role in this phase of social rejuvenation.


Water therapy to avert war

Before resorting to a full-fledged war against Pakistan in retaliation to the cross-border terrorism being sponsored by it, India is desperatingly looking for some measures as could serve as a warning to it. Unfortunately, it is terribly short of these because it never planned for the same. The recall of the High Commissioner in Islamabad or, the termination of the bus and train services are hardly going to serve any purpose. As regards the world opinion, Pakistan is least worried about it. Did it care for the same when it betrayed the Taliban or refused to accept the bodies of some of its soldiers killed in Kargil?

Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is not an overnight phenomenon for India; it has been there for more than a decade. This period should have been utilised for developing some retaliatory measures as could prove deterrent against attack on our Assemblies and Parliament.

One such measure could be the keeping in readiness of a tunnel for diverting the water of the river Chenab flowing to Pakistan through Himachal Pradesh, to the river Ravi in the Indian territory and opening the same as and when necessary. The idea behind this water therapy is not to usurp the water of the Chenab but to make Pakistan behave at least in the interest of water supplies to its canals. This shall not mean any bloodshed or crossing of LoC. Of course such diversion of water shall mean violation of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan but what does it matter if it can avert a bloody war. Did not Pakistan violate the Simla agreement and that too for opposite reasons at the time of Kargil?

S. P. MALHOTRA (former Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation, Haryana), Panchkula


Historic judgement

The recent judgement of Punjab and Haryana High Court on a PIL filed by Lawyers Initiative and three eminent power engineers directing the PSEB to ensure three per cent rate of return on its capitol is a historical one.

Section 59 of the Electricity Supply Act 1948 contains a statutory provision that makes it mandatory for PSEB to achieve a surplus of three per cent each year. However, PSEB is having a negative rate of return and for the year 2000-01 it was minus 31.3 per cent. The revenue loss due to subsidised agriculture power in year 1999-2000 was around 1700 crore.

Section 65 of Electricity Bill 2001 introduced in Parliament makes it mandatory for the State government to pay in advance to licensee the amount equivalent to subsidy to be given to any section of consumer. This can be followed even under the present laws.

Though no directions have been given to the Punjab Government in the judgement regarding compensation to PSEB, it must give budgetary support to save this vital public institution.

V. K. GUPTA, Ropar

Mobile incompatibility

Developments in the field of telecommunications seem to surpass all other progress. Mobiles have paved their way from being a luxury accessory to a need-based equipment. Even DoT today offers a wide range of facilities on the landline phones e.g. Caller line identification, Call Waiting, Morning Alarm, Call Divert etc.

What needs to be done is about the integration of the two services i.e. DoT and Mobile. For example, in Call Divert (Transfer) facility, the DoT landline call can only be diverted to a landline number and not to a Mobile number. The use of the facility can be enhanced if the landline calls could be diverted to a Mobile number in Home/Domestic Circle.

However, calls from a Mobile number can be diverted to a landline number. The authorities concerned should take note of this.

ANKIT GOEL, Jagadhri

Higher MRP

It is generally observed that the maximum retail price printed on various items such as medicines, surgical goods, cosmetics, sauces, jams and other household articles is much higher than its wholesale price/dealer’s price. The retail purchaser thus suffers huge losses and is cheated due to this malpractice and undesirable approach/business tactics of manufacturers.

The government should, therefore, enforce strict rules to curb such business tactics and difference of wholesale price and retail price should be restricted between 10 and 20 per cent only.

S. S. UTREJA, Nangal Township

Reschedule exams

The Regional Engineering College, Trichy and MP Professional Examination Board are conducting their entrance tests for admission to MCA programme on February 24, 2002. The Madurai Kamaraj University is also conducting its admission test for the MCA programme on the same date. Since the number of seats available is limited, those desirous of appearing in these examinations are in a major dilemma. We request the authorities concerned to reschedule the tests in such a way that the candidates can explore the possibilities of selection in every university.

Col H. S. SAREEN, Chandigarh


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