Thursday, February 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Let us not divide our waters

While the Planning Commission's recent survey points out the wide disparity in the per capita incomes of various states, it is quite an irony that Bihar, which had the privilege of having the world's first university, Nalanda University, and also saw the setting of the first ever-steel plant at Rourkela in independent India, is still the most backward of all states.

The vast tracks of barren lands in Bihar, MP, UP, Orissa, Andhra and Rajasthan even after 54 years of Independence speak of our political masters' barren sensitivities in resolving inter-state river water disputes amicably. It is true that farmers of Punjab and Haryana are a enterprising lot, yet the hard fact should not be ignored that water is the key to success coupled with optimal utilisation of locally available resources.

Like a human body, let us all treat our country geographically as one entity every part of which needs water to survive and prosper. The garland system of irrigation that unites all rivers of the land is the only solution to the phenomena of simultaneous occurrence of draughts and floods.

True nationalism lies in the situation when we rise above the dirty vote-bank politics of water for the sake of our posterity and let the outside world deem us a well-knit brotherhood devoid of any fatal inconsistencies in our socio-economic polity. Then our nation surely will be having a better and a strong leverage to settle international disputes with our neighbours for a peaceful co-existence. The maxim of "think global and act local" is also true vice-versa, if tried thoughtfully.

B. B. GOYAL, Ludhiana


SYL issue: For Haryana the recent order of the Supreme Court directing Punjab to complete the SYL canal within a year means some light at the end of the tunnel, but for various reasons it is not enough to ensure the flow of water in the SYL canal.

First, it does not clarify if the word completing also means "repairing it and making it fit to run to capacity". Second, the issue of Haryana's share of water is still pending before a tribunal set up in 1987 in pursuance of the Rajiv-Longowal accord.

S. P. MALHOTRA, Panchkula

Five-storeyed buildings

This refers to the news item about the HP Government’s accordance of approval to construct five-storeyed buildings in Shimla on the eve of tremors being felt in the other parts of the state. The sheer timing of the notification needs to be marvelled at, as it also coincides with the first anniversary of the Gujarat earthquake.

NALIN K. RAI, Shimla

Bus passes misused

The Haryana Government issues bus passes to school and college students at a nominal rate to facilitate their studies. But this facility is being misused by the so-called students, causing a great financial loss to the state exchequer and inconvenience to passengers.

A large number of students take admission simply to get a "licence" for "joy rides" in Haryana Roadways buses. They board even long-route express buses, occupy seats whereas passengers paying the fare have to travel standing. They then force the driver to stop the bus at unauthorised stops. On local routes the passenger transport system has nearly collapsed due to overcrowding by students who make indecent gestures and remarks travelling atop buses.

The incidents of beating up of bus drivers and conductors are rising. During an agitation the very buses in which they travel-freely become the target of their ire. The government should pay prompt attention to this problem. Bus passes should not be issued to every Tom, Dick & Harry. A minimum percentage of marks (60% & above) and distance (at least 8km) should be the criteria to grant this concession.

SUBHASH C. Sharma, Rewari

Debates on TV

Almost all leading TV channels have taken to airing debates, talks, discussions and analyses of news on a daily basis. Quite frequently, gentlemen on panels give vent to immature and irresponsible and sometimes laughable comments. In a discussion on Sahara TV (Pratidin), a guest had the guts to say that the killers of Amarnath yatris were not militants, but our securitymen and to top it the anchor was seen grinning as if signalling approval. The fallout of this (mis)statement was that Pak TV screened this story for days together. Knowingly or otherwise, we are providing fodder to the Pak propaganda machine. The other channels are no different. Barkha Dutt (Star TV) and Jain TV (Ghatna Chakar) invariably mobilise separatists in their presentations.

It is imperative that moderators as well as panelists are people of integrity, competence, non-partisan and experts on the subject.

J. K. Mago, Panchkula

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