Friday, February 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Punjab’s battle of the ballot: issues, non-issues of competitive politics

Mr Hari Jaisingh has very timely highlighted various issues and non-issues of Punjab's politics in his article "Punjab's battle of the ballot" (Jan 25), which needs our serious attention. In the prevailing political scenario, Punjab, which is India's backbone, there is a danger of no single party being able to secure absolute majority which would affect the growth of the state.

The people of Punjab have already suffered a lot while trying to come out of the dark shadow of militancy and police repression. They have now been pushed back half a step apparently by corrupt and inefficient practices. Let us now, with a clear conscience, firmly decide to vote for the educated, secular, honest and efficient candidates, preferably young, so that Punjab regains its position as number one state.


Platitudes: The political parties have rushed into the fray with uninspiring programmes full of platitudes and sidetracking the real issues. The incumbent party is harping on having made a rapid development in all spheres. However its claims are debatable. It showered its blessings on the farming community ignoring other sections of society. Urban people were forced to bear the brunt of taxes levied to cover up its mismanaged economic policies.


Lagging behind: Punjab that once led the rest of the country is today lagging behind even in agriculture. The reason being that a major part of the money meant for development has gone into the pockets of politicians. Corruption has gone into the blood of every politician and until the body is cleaned with a new blood, it would remain so for ever. Whether it is the Congress or the Akali Dal, the poor would become poorer and the rich richer.



Clean image: No government, be it in any state or at the Centre, has ever seriously tried to project a clean image for its administration nor explored any new socio-economic ideas and plans of building healthy infrastructure with due emphasis on agriculture, industry education and public health.

Why then blame the common man for his indifference to national issues? Things will not change unless the electorate is educated and rises above sectarian considerations of caste and creed and learn to weed out the deadwood out of our political system.


Better governance: We expect the new regime after the battle of ballot to tackle the problems on a war-footing so that the derailed economy is put on the right track & the investment climate is improved. A bold leadership to take corruption & red-tapism head on is the need of the hour.

K. L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Looters all: To Mr Tohra's remark "Ek loot ke ja rahey hain, te dujey lootan waste ah rahey hain." I want to add: "Te tejey lootan da intezaar kar rahey hain!"

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar

Soldiers’ dignity

Gen K.S. Randhawa’s well balanced article “Giving armed forces dignity” (Jan 23) lucidly explains how shabbily the defence services are treated by politicians. But aren’t the defence chiefs themselves responsible for the continuous decline of the standing of the armed forces by not showing enough moral courage to stand up against the insulting behaviour of their civilian bosses?

I cannot forget the disgusting scene which once appeared on a TV channel where the then Defence Minister, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, was occupying a chair, probably inside the retiring room in his office, like a village school teacher, and the three service chiefs standing before him like recalcitrant students, and the Defence Minister rudely asking one of them to speak in Hindi. I wonder why they did not abruptly go out when the Defence Minister did not show them the normal courtesy of offering them seats before discussing anything with them.

Compare it with the way the then Punjab Police chief, Mr K.P.S. Gill, walked out of the Governor’s press conference when he passed some adverse remarks against the police.


Hired for parade?

The Directorate of Sainik Welfare had sent a contingent of ex-servicemen to participate in the Republic Day parade in Shimla. On seeing the contingent on January 25, the Himachal Day, I was attracted to them. To my surprise I found that the contingent coming from Palampur had less than half ex-servicemen. The rest were youths who had been sent in lieu of ex-servicemen dressed in green coats provided to them. Were these young men on hire?

A marching ex-servicemen contingent with their medals on their chest is a sight to cherish. The people of Shimla seeing these young boys were much amused.

Maj O. P. CHAUHAN (retd), Shimla

R-Day parade: It had been clarified six years ago by the Ministry of Defence and Army Hq that the order of precedence of the marching contingent of ex-servicemen would be behind the last marching column of the armed forces.

This year the Republic Day parade in Shimla was unique because no Army contingent was there. The contingent could have marched behind the ITBP contingent. However making them march past even behind the NCC cadets is an insult to the ex-servicemen.

Brig V. S. GAUTAM (retd), Shimla

UTI scam

Various manifestations and the fallout of the UTI scam are being widely debated. The Tarapore panel has held that huge funds were invested in junk bonds and in defaulting companies in the form of NCD. Decisions were taken violating UTI’s own internal policy and SEBI guidelines. Thousands of crores were invested in equities of HFCL, Cyberspace Infosys etc in a dubious manner, incurring huge losses. Nobody will believe that the UTI top brass was so naive as not understand the implications of these investments. Obviously, they acted either because of their own vested interests or under pressure from above. In any case, it is the investors who suffered the most.

True, the Chairman of the UTI and a few others have been removed. But this alone would not meet the ends of justice. A large number of investors have suffered grossly due to their misdeeds.

It will be desirable that all their assets, including benami and in the name of their family members, should be thoroughly investigated by the CBI and confiscated if found in excess of their legitimate earnings.

Dr J. B. GOYAL, New Delhi

Sainik rest houses

Recently I was at Dharamsala to attend to my land and a court case. I had a confirmed booking in the Sainik Rest House at Dharamsala on January 22. To my shock, when I reached the rest house I was informed by the caretaker that the Deputy Commissioner had booked the entire rest house as the Chief Minister was on his winter visit to Dharamsala. Even though the rest house was empty, he was unable to give me a room.

If ex-servicemen have to book accommodation, they pay in advance and the money is never refunded if they fail to turn up. Do the Deputy Commissioners and other civilian officers pay? Secondly, the rates are fixed for service personnel, ex-servicemen and civilians. If the Deputy Commissioner and the like do pay, then at what rate?

Col S. K. VOHRA (retd), Shimla

Laser menace

This refers to "laser gun maniacs" who are a menace in nearly all cinema halls of Chandigarh. Mostly these "laser guns" are aimed at women which is very embarrassing for female viewers. Chewing gum is also usually stuck on seats.

Can't anyone check this nuisance?


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