Monday, June 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Punjab Govt should focus on citizens’ day-to-day problems

WHAT the common citizens of Punjab expect from the new government is — you think jobs, bank loans, some other favours? No, not all — the elimination of day-to-day sufferings one has to face in routine. Some problems which are being faced almost daily by a big part of society.

1. Noise pollution instruments such as pressure horns in buses and trucks. I think the traffic police should now remove these terrific horns which the Badal government could not remove in its full tenure.

2. The bus stands all over the state are in bad shape. If someone wants to see hell, visit the Jalandhar bus stand, specially during a little shower; come with an inflated truck tube.

3. Using unfair means and copying during examinations are a big menace that needs to be removed. For the coming session give a clear-cut policy and warning to the students, parents and teachers. i.e. strict action would be taken against the culprits.

4. The quality check of roads whether in cities or in the rural areas should be a priority of the state.

5. The menace of drugs (in all cities and villages) should be on the hit list of the government. Sincere efforts by politicians and bureaucrats can save our youth from this menace.


6. A refresher course for the public dealing officials on being polite towards the citizens. Rude behaviour and dilly-dallying policy can hamper development. Excuses and abuses should be curbed (with special reference to the revenue, police, electricity, excise and taxation departments).

7. As our neighbour is petulant these days, some special action plan should be kept ready to tackle any eventuality in case of war.


Non-Kasauli Club!

Ajay Banerjee’s report on the Kasauli Club June (16) reads more like an advertisement by the club than an objective assessment of this anachronistic institution.

Mr Virinder Singh (a retired Major General) is quoted as having told your reporter. “There is no Kasauli without the club.” It surely requires a fertile imagination to make such a claim. For, the reality is that virtually no one who belongs to the Kasauli area is, or is allowed to become a member. As things are, this club is more like an extension-counter of various clubs in Chandigarh and Delhi.

More than about four-fifths of the members of the club (including its spokesman Virinder Singh) are migrant birds of passage who spend no more than a month and a half in a year in this cantonment-cum-hill station.

The Kasauli Club was allocated land for certain specific recreational activities. Now its five tennis courts survive only as a derelict wasteland. This township has many young men and women who are potential experts in tennis, squash, table-tennis, badminton, volleyball, basketball, football and cricket.

But the club is out-of-bounds for them and their parents as most of them are assumed not to have the required social status for an institution that likes to describe itself as a “gentleman’s club”.

Ajay Banerjee reports that the Kasauli Club boasts of a “whos’ who” as members. It would surely interest Tribune readers to learn that the managing committee admitted Ravi Sidhu as member in the “eminent person’s category” even as he was brazenly violating cantonment bye-laws in the rebuilding of his illegally acquired Masonic Lodge. The cantonment, military and club authorities knew about Sidhu’s role in Kasauli even before The Tribune’s laudable campaign concerning the PPSC scam.

In fact, a few members believe that Sidhu broke through the waiting list for new members by passing off Rs 50,000 of his dozens of crores as a “donation” to the club!

However, it would be unfair to use poor Sidhu as a whipping boy. The fact is that many Kasauli Club members who own properties in the cantonment (among them retired defence personnel) have over the years openly violated various cantonment bye-laws and continue to do so with Kasauli’s own homegrown version of “diplomatic immunity”.

The time has come for the Kasauli Club to be wound up, and replaced by a sensible institution devoted to sports, ecology, the performing and fine-arts, yoga and a think-tank for military strategy without imported hardware. Moreover, a re-invented institution should be architectured, one that does not bar admission and membership on the basis of gender, caste and social class.


Vajpayee’s health

This refers to the news “Time report on P.M. malicious: BJP” (June 19). I have read the article in question and found it judicious. Nothing has been hidden about Mr Vajpayee’s health unlike BJP people who believe in hidden agenda. Every part of Mr Vajpayee’s anatomy has been dissected and discussed as it should be. Surely, the P.M.’s health is a matter of concern for everybody since India is a nuclear country and he holds the key of the nuclear lock.

It is an open secret the P.M.’s health is in the reverse gear and hardly any vital organ is functioning properly. I remember once an ex-President of the Philippines, on being asked to resign since his knees were not working, remarked: “Why resign when everything above the knees works”. But, sadly, that’s not true about Mr Vajpayee. His heart, liver, head, ears et al are all in disorder. His pauses while speaking are so long that one can finish reading headlines of a daily in the meantime. His eating habits are improper. In fact, if a law existed for taking action against those whose “health” is disproportionate to their known source of income, Mr Vajpayee’s name would have been high on the list.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar



Hiring dons to get grooms

Revelations made by Santosh Jha in “Hiring dons to get grooms (June 12) are shocking but quite interesting. Unable to pay heavy dowry sums, some of the brides’ parents in Bihar make a contract with dons who kidnap grooms and ensure smooth marriage by threatening their families with dire consequences in case of non-compliance. They also offer smooth sailing of brides at their in-laws’ houses. Keeping in view the sky-rocketing dowry rates demanded by settled grooms, the dons of Bihar seem to be doing a noble job and will be in high demand in other states also.

There is no check on vulgar show-off of ill-earned wealth and shameless expenditure on uselessly extended marriage ceremonies in lavish sprawling marriage palaces. Middle-income group families are grinding themselves in a futile bid to compete with these people so as to save their faces in society. This is a major cause of corruption in the salaried class.

After being credited with the exposure of “jobs on sale” racket of the PPSC, the government should crack down on the menace of “dhulhas on sale”. Taking a clue from Bihar dons (notorious but nice), the government should create a department which should register all “eligible grooms” in the state, fix their “reasonable rates” and make provision to sell them to “prospective brides”. Insurance cover can also be offered to brides for a period of at least the government’s own tenure. This will save their families from tension and in turn will boost the state’s economy.


No ill feelings?

Apropos of the article “No ill feelings against India,” I could not believe such a goody goody story about Pakistan. I thought the writer must be an Indian! But, my surprise lasted only up to a few para! The writer, while advocating that there is a very good feeling about India and Indians, started spitting venom on the same India! Here comes the real face of not only the writer but also the whole lot of Pakistanis. I am pained to see such a venom-spitting article finding a place on your front page.


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