Tuesday, June 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Is BKU’s road jam Gandhian method of protest?

This refers to your news items/editorial on police firing in Jind. The BKU has been agitating for the last six months by misleading the farmers as well as the public. The underlying issues have nothing to do with subsidising agricultural inputs. The agitation is mainly about clearing domestic electricity dues of about 100 villages. In some of these villages default is worth more than Rs 5 crore. The electricity supply to tubewells is already subsidised, so is the case with canal water.

It is common knowledge that Rs 80 per acre annual tax for canal water will not meet even the cost of maintenance of the canals. There is no return on money invested on the dams and canals except in terms of social/development benefits. While it costs about Rs 600 a year per acre for tubewell electricity, the same well, if run on diesel, will cost about Rs 3,000 a year per acre.

At present more than 50 per cent subsidy is already hidden in the electricity rates for agricultural purposes. Similarly, electricity rates for even domestic connections in rural areas are subsidised to some extent compared to urban areas. The fact is that in a large number of villages in Jind district either rural consumers are not paying their bills or are unauthorisedly drawing power after disconnection by the board. Can this state of anarchy be allowed to continue?


The media and mainline political parties have not understood the political philosophy behind the BKU. It is an anarchist organisation which has borrowed tactics from Marxist-Leninist parties for mass mobilisation. Here the mobilisation is on the caste and “Khap” basis like the tactics adopted by PWG and Naxalites to organise tribal groups against the state. The objective is to destroy the authority of the state. Will the interest of the poor and downtrodden in the villages be protected if anarchy prevails?

The militant face of the BKU was very much evident in the coverage in the visual and print media. The tone and tenor of speeches at BKU meetings were intended to incite violence. Can the police disperse a mob carrying axes and pitchforks using peaceful means? Is road jam a Gandhian method of protest as claimed by the BKU?

The media has also not noticed the coincidence between the BKU’s “rasta roko” agitation now and in December and the situation on the border. A large number of soldiers hail from Jind and the adjoining districts. Apart from causing inconvenience to military mobilisation, such agitations also cause unnecessary worry to our brave soldiers who are roughing about on the border. I hope the media will take these aspects into consideration while making its assessments. Anti-establishment views may go well with readers, but these may not be always in the interest of society.


POLITICIANS OF ALL HUES?: In the editorial “Police firing in Jind” (May 31) you have made a sweeping statement by observing that “State politicians are largely responsible for the present volatile situation in Haryana. Over the years, politicians of all hues have made wild promises to farmers offering free electricity and irrigation water, if voted to power.” This reflects either a total contempt for facts or a complete ignorance about Haryana.

At least I have never made any promise for a free supply of electricity or irrigation water to farmers. It appears that you could not pick up the courage to call a spade a spade and, therefore, offered Mr Om Prakash Chautala an escape route by mixing him with “politicians of all hues.”

As for Mr Chautala’s promise of free power supply to farmers, let him go to the countryside. If he has suffered any loss of memory, the peasants would help him regain it.

By the way, it was Mr Chautala and his father, Devi Lal, who sought to legitimise and sanctify road blockades. Mr Chautala must acknowledge his guilt for it before opening fire on farmers for blocking vehicular traffic.

BANSI LAL, ex-Chief Minister, Haryana, Bhiwani

Govt hospitals

A month ago my brother Sher Singh’s health took a dangerous turn. He is a heart patient with a number of other complications. I was advised to admit him to a private hospital, but I chose to admit him to the PGI. Thanks to the excellent work done by the heart specialists of the PGI, my brother was out of danger in two days, and in three weeks he was at home on the road to recovery. All this was done at a fraction of the cost of what is being charged by private hospitals that only the rich can afford.

Private hospitals are welcome, but for most of us, hospitals run by the government are the only hope. Yes, everything is not perfect in government hospitals, but we must appreciate the way the doctors and the paramedics go on with their jobs in spite of the limited resources at their disposal.

G. C. DHIMAN, Panchkula


Vulgarity on TV

A few years ago, it was common talk that parents felt uneasy while viewing T.V. serials & films in the presence of their children because of the vulgarity on the T.V. screen. People now seem to have adjusted themselves. Parents no longer feel much inconvenience in seeing vulgar scenes in the presence of their children. People talk of evil effects of T.V. on children, still the number of T.V. sets and cable connections goes on increasing. Western culture is polluting Indian culture through T.V. and eroding our moral values.

It is a blessing in disguise that the cable operators have hiked the rates manifold due to which some people have got their cable connections disconnected.

R. K. JAIN, Jagadhri

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