Wednesday, March 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



SYL: why blame Chief Ministers?

In the article "SYL: a retrospective look", the author has blamed several Chief Ministers of Punjab for not having stopped the construction of the SYL canal which is being construed by the Punjab Government for transporting Haryana's share in the so-called "surplus Ravi water". In order to examine the justification for this blame, we must have a clear understanding as to what this "surplus Ravi water" is and where from has it come.

At the time of partition, the Indus basin which is a geographic unity, got politically divided into India & Pakistan. The Ravi, which originates in India, supplied water to Indian canals in its upper reach and to Pakistani canals in its lower one. Under the international law, India had the obligation to release the share of these Pakistani canals. The three western rivers the Chenab, Jhelum & Sindh originate in India and then flow into Pakistan. Although India was not drawing any water from these rivers in its territory, it had the right to do so and hence the capability to jeopardise the interests of Pakistani canals in their lower reaches.

In 1960, India entered into a treaty with Pakistan under which it agreed to forego its right to the waters of the Chenab, Jhelum & Sindh in lieu of its obligation to release water in the Ravi for the Pakistani canals and thereby created some "surplus water" in the Ravi. In other words, the surplus in the Ravi has been created by notionally transferring the water of the three rivers to it. This "surplus water" became the joint property of all the three states in the Indian portion of the Indus basin i.e. Punjab, part of Haryana and part of Rajasthan. Any talk of Punjab having any exclusive claim over this "surplus water" by virtue of the Ravi flowing only through its territory is thus a misplaced conception.


In my opinion, all the Chief Ministers of Punjab were fully conscious of the basic truth about this surplus water in the Ravi; it had not been generated through natural factors. They were also aware of the fact that the people of Punjab and Haryana have a common history and culture and do not have memory of any ideological conflict. All these factors, singly as well as collectively, seem to have guided their approach towards the SYL issues . But for their own free will, a 122-km long canal costing over Rs 700 crore could not have been constructed. Their only fault seems to be that they acted judiciously and in accordance with the voice of their conscious and for this they deserve to be complimented rather than blamed. The recent verdict of the Supreme Court on the SYL issue is just a reminder to them to complete the remaining work within a year with- out getting deflected from the chosen path.

S. P. MALHOTRA, Panchkula

K serials on TV

Why do we watch T.V. serials? Just to entertain ourselves. But nowadays instead of guiding the young generation towards the right direction, they are leading them astray. Especially, the serials produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor. They are based on the same concept of extra-marital affairs of the husband and pregnancy of unmarried girls.

When the character of an unmarried girl, played by any artiste, is shown vomiting, even the second standard student knows that the character is pregnant (maa banne wali hai). Though having produced more than 14 serials starting with "K", Ekta repeats the same theme, same casting, even the same sets in all serials.

When a serial like "Kutumb", "Kundli" or "Koi Apna Saa" are viewed, one finds nothing new in them after seeing serials like "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" and "Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki".

Ekta Kapoor has occupied control over almost all channels. Her serials are shown at the prime time. As all her serials are shown on various channels, one has no option except view her serials in which no new idea or guiding spirit is shown. There should be some censor-type authority to check the themes of serials and limit the number of serials by one producer.

Bindiya Kansal, Ludhiana

Municipal drive

I wish to highlight the insensitive and cavalier attitude of officials of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, in the garb of righteous discharge of their duty. Lately, in a drive launched by these officials in and around the colonies of Jamalpur, they have removed all signs posted by private medical practitioners, nursing homes, and other businesses on the pretext that these have been put up illegally. The officials have removed hundreds of such signs for the sake of beautification of the surroundings and/or on the explanation that they restrict visibility on the roads and thus may lead to accidents.

These officials have, however, conveniently forgotten other and more important aspects of their duties. Illegal encroachments by slum-dwellers on municipal land abound in these areas. It does not take much imagination to see why these slums may have been allowed.

Potholes large enough to swallow a small car like Maruti 800 exist on these very roads and are definitely more dangerous. Is not repair of these roads anywhere on the agenda of these officials?

Further, talking of cleanliness, filth and garbage in the open is a common sight in these areas of Jamalpur. It is more of an exception rather than a rule to see a garbage disposal truck of the corporation removing garbage in these colonies.

VINEET BANSAL, Jamalpur (Ludhiana)

BSNL offers

BSNL is coming out with great offers for new connections. Some of them offer a telephone connection for less than Rs 100 and others offer free calling cards. These remind me of my bitter experience at the hands of BSNL.

Last time when BSNL slashed the rates of registration (bringing the rates of registration for urban connection to Rs 1,000 and that of rural to Rs 500), I applied for a rural connection. Everything was going on fine until one day the department hand me a bill with additional Rs 1,565 as the installation charges. Now that was much higher than the rates prevailing even before the slash.

In the wake of the newly emerging competition, it should have improved its functioning, and on the contrary it has started cheating its customers. I hope that it understands the meaning of customer goodwill well in time. Otherwise, competition is sure to give it a hard time in future.

NAVEESH GOYAL, by e-mailTop

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