Tuesday, January 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Why not Indo-Pak confederation with united J&K?

One way to tackle the Kashmir issue is to have what may be loosely described as an Indo-Pak confederation that includes an autonomous and united Jammu and Kashmir. The pre-Partition Jammu & Kashmir must be resuscitated. It need not join either Pakistan or India, nor get independence. It can be autonomous within an Indo-Pak confederation, the contours of which can be worked out.

A South Asian Union (SAU) must start by accepting a united Jammu & Kashmir (that includes what is today Pakistan occupied Kashmir) as an autonomous unit which is neither independent nor part of either India or Pakistan.

India & Pakistan have more shared values than France and Germany ever had. If after three major wars between 1870 and 1945, France and Germany could get together in the European Union, then there is every reason why India & Pakistan should come together with a shared vision.

It is a win-win situation in which hopes and desires of all three — India, Pakistan and an autonomous Jammu & Kashmir — can be more than fulfilled. Modalities can be worked out given the desire to see a greater vision of tension-free and prosperous South Asia where there is no victor no vanquished.

The talk of making the line of control as the international boundary by maintaining the status quo is meaningless. Neither the Simla agreement nor the Lahore declaration has brought peace to South Asia.

Granting a united Jammu & Kashmir autonomy within the confederation, it should be made clear, is a face-saving device for all three. It is possible and it is necessary.

Koi ilam se lakh purnoor hai, magar apni fitrat se majbur hai

Bashar apni fitrat badlta nahin, yahan jabar se kam chalta nahin.

Pt Shanti Lal Sharma, Ambala city


War-hit animals

The flare-up on the border, besides causing death and injury to thousands innocent and voiceless animals, has further dimmed the chances of migrants going back to their homes. Pakistani troops have laid mines along the LoC, which are a source of danger to the humans and animals alike.

The Chief Secretary of J&K has placed Rs 50 lakh at the disposal of the Divisional Commissioner for the immediate requirement of the border residents. The administration seems to be callously innocent of feeding, heeding and rescuing the cattle reeling under cold wave conditions.

Relief work will remain inadequate if due attention is not paid to the animals in distress near the LoC. Teams of vets should be included in this relief effort. Animal welfare organisations at their level should consider ways and means to render all possible assistance to lessen the sufferings of the animals. Rev. Adkin said “The animals look to us, themselves they cannot save. Are we going to save them?”


Nation builders?

A lot has been written against college and university teachers but has anyone cared to look into the plight of many of them? A good proportion of NET qualified lecturers are employed on a purely ad hoc basis that too for eight months in a year. Most of these ad hoc lecturers are paid a pittance (Rs 3,000 to 6,000 per month) less than what a matric pass peon gets. What type of higher education and commitment can society expect from these exploited “nation builders”?

Dr JAI RUP SINGH, Amritsar

Falsely challaned

On December 27, 2001, I changed my support to POTO. In my 16 years of driving for the first time I received summons to appear in a court as a traffic policeman of Gagal police station had challaned my motor cycle for (1) triple riding (2) without helmet and (3) disobeying the signal on July 4, 2001.

I remember in May and June the traffic policeman had twice asked me a lift for some other fellow and on both occasions I refused because I was not going that way. At that time I was posted at Lunj (24 km from Gagal) as a Veterinary Officer.

I paid the fine imposed by the court because this was the most logical, time-saving and economical way out. If a traffic policeman can falsely challan an officer for not giving the lift, I wonder what’s the plight of the common man and truck drivers and what the police can do if they get the edge of POTO.

In the USA if a person violates a traffic rule or if he is given a ticket, it’s all video-recorded by the cameras in their vans/cars so that neither the person challaned can deny it nor the policeman can falsely challan any innocent person. Also, there is no greasing of the palms.

Dr V. S. NANDA, Khajjian (Kangra)

A hasty step

In the recent bureaucratic reshuffle in Himachal two sensitive departments — Finance and Home — were entrusted to one officer. It is an ill-considered hasty step.

Financial management of the state, reeling under a chronic resource crunch, poses a serious challenge to the bureaucrat who happens to head the Finance Department, thus calling for his undivided attention. Burdening the guy with another major charge, even temporarily, is bound to have a deleterious effect on the functioning of all departments under his control.

The Home Department too is a challenging assignment. All the more so because of the ominous “clouds of terrorism” gathering on the state’s horizon.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Power wastage

Mr Ravi Bhushan has rightly raised the issue of power wastage in our country. One can see glowing of streetlights the whole day off and on in most of the towns. Lack of coordination between the state electricity boards and municipal corporations/councils results in colossal waste of power that can be otherwise utilised more effectively. This problem can be tackled only when we replace the current system with sensor equipped switches and prevent the electricity boards from huge economic losses.

Dr KIRTI DUA, Ludhiana

Taxing soldiers

I support Kim Gill's plea against income tax on the salaries of the defence personnel. In Canada the armed forces, though very well paid, are totally exempted from income tax.


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