Wednesday, June 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Punjab Budget burdens employees

MY son, my wife and myself go to our respective places of work on scooters. The recent hike in the prices of petrol will cost us at least Rs 500 per month extra. The increase in the power tariff will also put an additional burden of at least Rs 500 a month. Prices of essential items of daily use will also register an increase. Roughly, I will have to bear an extra burden of Rs. 1,500 a month.

May I ask Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Surinder Singla, Mr Lal Singh and beaurocrats behind the Budget: what should I do under the present circumstances? What would be the fate of pensioners? How will an honest employee face the present situation?

Should it be presumed that the present government wants its employees to be corrupt because any additional burden can only be met through two sources — by enhanced DA and by corrupt ways. Why has the government failed to adopt harsh measures on the expenditure being incurred by the ministers and MLAs? A minister still cost Rs 2.50 lakh a month and an MLA Rs 1.50 lakh a month.

The Budget will not help the state in any way. If implemented, it will result in agitations and strikes and the people will start feeling suffocated. I do share the concern of Capt Amarinder Singh about the crippled economy and I also want to see Punjab being the most prosperous state in the country once again.

The freezing of LTC is a welcome step. The non-practising allowance should not be stopped because due to a wrong committed by a few doctors, all cannot be punished. If the NPA is stopped, it will result in total collapse of the health services in the state.



DA for pensioners

It is long since the Punjab Government notification was issued for the payment of DA to the employees at the rate of 4 per cent w.e.f 1.1.2002. Earlier such notifications used to be issued, incorporating both the employees and the pensioners, simultaneously therein.

The recent trend appears to be indicative that this country is perhaps foremost in the direction of selective unfairness to its senior citizens/pensioners, who gave the best years of their lives, in the service of this land.

Conversely, enlightened countries are not wanting, who are most considerate, to their pensioners. To support the point, I mention a solid instance. Towards the end of 1970, the Malaysian government enhanced the pays/pensions.

The authorities there wanted to avoid delay in the payment of pension arrears to their pensioners residing hundreds of miles from the shores of that land. Further, they were desirous, also to have first-hand information of their welfare, as they had contributed to the progress of that country.

In 1971, the Malaysian government deputed a team of the pension wing of the office of the Accountant-General, Malaysia. The team visited the districts where the pensioners were living to pay the arrears of increased DA at their doorstep without delay. They also collected representations with an assurance of redressal, within 60 days and stood by their assurance. What a laudable gesture to the retirees!

The states neighbouring Punjab have already released DA from 1.1.2002 to their pensioners. If the pensioners case was deleted inadvertently from the notification, then the omission may kindly be rectified.

But, if the draft notification to include the pensioners is gathering dust, then the same may kindly be lifted, dusted and notified. The demands of the pensioners, with slimmed income, old age diseases, are more pressing than those of the employees. The case of pensioners, may kindly be shown justice and not thrown into the dustbin, by an enlightened Chief Minister.

S.S. SOHAL, V.I.K. Sharma, Jalandhar

DA freeze

Through your editorial ‘Harsh Budget’ (June 20), you have rightly voiced the feelings of Punjab employees as well as state pensioners on the issue of freezing of DA by the Punjab Government. The Punjab Budget proposal to freeze the DA is highly deplorable and unjust. It will adversely affect the monthly budget of the low-paid staff.

Besides, it is a blatant deviation from the Central pattern being followed by the state government for the last 30 years in the matter of granting DA to neutralise the price rise. In the name of fair-play, the state government is urged to scrap this ugly proposal.


Unfair: Apropos the Punjab Budget, freezing of DA to the employees is unfair and harsh. It is ruinous for the honest elements, who live from hand to mouth and whom the government is bound to protect. For, otherwise, the campaign against corruption will have no meaning.

Further, a disgruntled work force can never deliver goods. Hence, the implementation of the progressive programmes and policies will suffer. Many a politicians has come to grief for alienating public servants. There are many ways to save, but this one is not wise.


LTC freeze: We welcome the proposal of the Punjab Finance Minister to freeze the facility of LTC to government employees which has invariably been misused. However, the proposal to withhold the DA portion of the pay and the petrol cess of Re 1 per litre should not be implemented unless the prices of essential commodities are also frozen at pre-Budget levels.




Misuse of subsidised LPG

The domestic LPG cylinder (14 kg) is misused in place of commercial cylinder (19 kg) which can be noticed in every town at sweet shops, tea shops, industries etc. but the users never reduce the rates of their products although they use the subsidized gas. There is a loss of about Rs 2 crore in Punjab only.

MALVINDER, by e-mail.

Judicial delays

The Tribune has been very often warning the government of scandalous delays in justice dispensation in the country. The leader “Fast-track justice” was the latest in the series.

There has been a lot of talk about fast-track courts and the Civil Procedure amendments for cutting short the cases’ trial period. The C.P.C. Amendment Bill 2000 was passed by Parliament a year ago, but sadly and strangely the Amendments enacted in 2001 have not been notified for enforcement so far. This speaks volumes about the efficiency and seriousness of the Government and its administrative machinery. Some vested interests may be at work to stall the government’s efforts to streamline the judicial processes.

Similar has been the fate of the Delhi Rented Premises Act, which was given assent by the President much before the present BJP-led Government came in power at the Centre. It has been also held up at the 11th hour from being promulgated for enforcement as law.


Fleecing people

This has reference to your report ‘Immigration agents try for image makeover’ (June 6). As an Indian immigrant to Canada, I am amused to know that some of the major immigration companies of Chandigarh, who are fleecing the people through dubious means, have formed an association to perpetuate their wrong-doings.

I know from my personal bitter experience and of many others who immigrated through these agencies that no such thing as post-landing facilities exist here, though they charge exorbitant fees for such non-existent services. Their claims of having offices in Canada are mere sham. Now they have formed a cartel to blackmail and fleece the innocent people. Many cases of cheating, forgery and blackmail are pending against these very agencies in India and in Canada.

Through your columns, I would like to advise the prospective applicants to beware of such unscrupulous agencies. In fact, legally qualified individuals are providing far better services and at a much lower cost. Legal knowledge is a definite asset which gives these individuals an edge over such agencies.

Neelam Joshi, Mississauga, USA


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