Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Electronic sensors for the LoC?

I happened to read a report in The Tribune that the Indian government is considering an offer from the US government to provide electronic sensors to detect cross-border infiltration along the LoC in Kashmir. The report states that these sensors from the US Sandia National Laboratory have “stopped illegal migration along the US-Mexico border”.

This is factually incorrect. Mexico continues to be the source of the largest number of illegal immigrants into the USA and the vast majority of them cross this very same border that is purportedly “sealed”. This despite the fact that the governments of the two nations are actually co-operating to stem this flow.

Here are some facts:

— The Public Policy Institute of California has found that the USA “Gatekeeper” strategy, which includes electronic surveillance systems, helicopter patrols and other hi-tech paraphernalia, and costs more than $2 billion a year, has done little to diminish illegal immigration.

— Illegal immigration has actually increased in areas of harsh terrain, including the deserts of Arizona and eastern California, undeterred by the fact that hundreds of Mexicans die every year while crossing over.

— Of the five million estimated illegal “aliens” in America, three million are floating around in the states bordering Mexico alone.

These facts make it quite clear that depending on electronic surveillance systems for guarding the rugged mountain wilderness of most of the LoC is illusory. Determined people will cross over, especially when the governments concerned are far from co-operating.

N.S. Dhami, Ludhiana


Injustice to Urdu

This refers to a news item regarding the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case contributed jointly by Yoginder Gupta & Ruchika M. Khanna. With due respect for these journalists and in all humility, I beg to say that they have written “Zar, Joru & Zamin” as primary motives for any murder. Joru does not mean a woman but wife and again it is not an Urdu word like Zar and Zamin. It is Zan, which means a woman starting with Z i.e. Zey in Urdu which is the sixteenth letter in the alphabet. All three words start with Zey like three Ws i.e. woman, wine and wealth, all starting with W.

I have been teaching Urdu for over quarter of a century and such types of mistakes send wrong signals to Urdu learners.

For fear of being a nuisance I shall give only a few examples i.e. in Persian, it is Der Ayad, Drust Ayad which is, for convenience, quoted as “Der Aaye Drust Aaye”, instead of “Bashartey-ke”, TV newscasters always do with “Bashartey” only and then they use “bhi” after “bawajood”, which is not required.

Dr H.K. LALL, Chandigarh

Lieut Teja Singh

At Hoshiarpur railway station, tucked away in a corner is a plaque put up by the Railways in memory of Lieut Teja Singh, a Vir Chakra recipient from 9th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, who laid down his life in the Khemkaran sector in the 1965 war against Pakistan. This gallant officer is from the nearby village of Kukanet. The writing on the plaque has become faded and defaced at places due to neglect and poor maintenance over the years. This is an open insult to a martyr who made the supreme sacrifice for the safety and honour of his countrymen.

If we cannot look after even these small commemorative symbols, why instal them in the first instance? The Railways should either maintain the plaque in a manner befitting a national hero, or remove it.

Wing Cdr S.C. Kapoor (retd), Noida

PSEB step

The Punjab State Electricity Board is always devising new means of penalising honest consumers who pay their electricity bills regularly. The recent announcement of the PSEB to charge the highest slab tariff for consumers having more than one power meters at their premises is discriminatory and unreasonable. Years ago consumers were allowed to have more than one power meters at their premises after paying the requisite securities and other dues. Why this cruel step all of a sudden?

At the most the PSEB can club the power consumption of all meters at one premises and charge according to the applicable slab of tariff. Why this step-motherly treatment to the paying consumers when the major losses to the PSEB are due to its own inefficiency, power theft etc. I am sure the PSEB will be facing court cases very soon for this most unjust and illegal step.

L.J. SINGH, Chief Engineer (retd), Amritsar


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