Thursday, February 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Does it behove Badal to blame media and EC?

The kind of talk Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had with the media (Feb 15) after a meeting of his party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) is not in good taste. It is unbecoming of the Chief Minister to cast aspersions on the Election Commission, the media and the exit polls at a time when the elections are over and the poll outcome is still awaited. In a true democracy the media has every right to call a spade a spade. Survey teams which have observed the election scene and the mood of the electorate are entitled to form their own independent judgement.

The Election Commission has conducted and monitored the elections in a manner which deserves all praise. It has been very fair and judicious and has performed its onerous responsibility exceedingly well. Mr Badal's disillusionment with the Election Commission is nothing but the outpouring of a frustrated mind, which can see the clear writing on the wall but is still evasive. All his effort seems to be focussed on white-washing his own failures and short-comings.

The sordid scene of non-governance, rampant corruption, procrastination and nepotism which the people of Punjab have witnessed for five years forms a sad chapter in the history of Punjab. The Chief Minister's coterie consist of opportunists, braggart and lack-lustre leaders who can barter away the vital interests of the state for petty short-term gains.


The graph of prosperity in Punjab has touched an all-time low. Its economy is in a shambles. The fate of the peasantry is in doldrums. The economic disaster also extends to the field of industry. The onus for this rests on the political leadership, which has failed to deliver the goods.

It would be in the fitness of things, if all the leaders in the state would bow before the mandate of the people gracefully and cheerfully. The people are looking forward to a leadership which can feel the pulse of the masses and give a new progressive agenda to the economically crippled state.


SYL dispute

The Ravi river, which a part of the Indus basin, originates in Himachal Pradesh, passes through Punjab and then flows to Pakistan. At the time of partition in 1947, India was drawing water from it at Madhopur and Pakistan at Balloki headworks. Under the international law, India could not stop the Pakistan share of water but in terms of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 it could do so from 1970 onwards.

India had thus to find a use for this newly acquired water of the Ravi. Only three Indian states i.e. Punjab, part of Haryana and Rajasthan are a part of the Indus basin on this side of the Indo-Pak border. The Eradi Tribunal, set up in pursuance of the Rajiv-Longowal accord of 1987, after a detailed enquiry, has confirmed this fact. Thus the newly acquired water became the property of these three states.

It is a misplaced conception that only Punjab is entitled to the whole of this newly acquired water simply because the Ravi happens to pass only through Punjab. Had this principle been true, Haryana & Rajasthan would not have received any water from the Sutlej via the Bhakra canals because the Sutlej does not pass through these states.

Rightly believing that Haryana had a legitimate share in the newly acquired water, in 1980, Punjab started construction of the 122 km long SYL canal in its territory for transporting Haryana's share up to its border and charged Haryana over Rs 700 crore for this. This canal was scheduled to be completed in 1983 but has been lingering on till today. Haryana approached the Supreme Court which has now ordered that this canal should be completed within a year.

Punjab's explanation for not completing the SYL canal is that Haryana does not have any share in the newly acquired water of the Ravi and hence the construction of the SYL is not needed.

The reasons for this U-turn in Punjab's thinking are not clear to a layman. At least there has been no provocation from Haryana. He believes that Punjab, if for nothing else, at least for saving itself the stigma of constructing an infructuous canal, should fulfil its obligation of delivering Haryana's share of water through the SYL canal and give proof of not breaching the trust of a neighbouring state.

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


Case for Urdu teaching

I fully endorse Mrs Sonia Gandhi's suggestion for the inclusion of Urdu in the curriculum of mainstream education. I do not know about the other states but so far as Punjab is concerned, the Urdu language is being taught through the Language Department to the working class by arranging part-time classes.

In Ferozepore itself, Mr R.N. Chopra, a retired official from the Education Department, has dedicated himself to teaching Urdu. He has also opened an Urdu academy and trained a number of senior executives, including Deputy Commissioners and Judges. This rich literary language should not be confined to madarsas only.

Ferozepore has given birth to one prominent Urdu poet known as Bark Ferozepuri, whose one particular couplet was very popular during the days of terrorism:

"Ghar se jab bhi niklo,

pata jeb mein daal kar niklo,

Hadsa chehre ki pehchan badal deta hai."

I would appeal to all the board/university heads to think over the introduction of Urdu in the mainstream school/college curricula. The electronic media should start teaching Urdu on TV.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepore


In the editorial “Omar Sheikh’s bombshell”, carried in The Tribune on February 20, the date of the suicide attack by terrorists on the Parliament complex should have been mentioned as December 13 instead of December 23 as published. The typographical error is regretted.

— Editor


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