Thursday, September 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Fresh focus on disinvestment

Apropos of your editorial “Fresh focus on disinvestment” (Sept 3), quoting the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, you have struck the right chord, questioning the logic of turning a state monopoly into a private monopoly. Any type of monopoly is bad, but a private monopoly is worse than a state monopoly.

In today’s age of liberalisation we can use profit-making PSUs to offer healthy competition to private enterprises and restrict them from becoming a private monopoly. Government-run ventures are not that bad per se. For example government-run petrol stations, corporations selling fertilisers, seeds, pesticides etc, enjoy much more credibility than their private counterparts for the assured quality of their products.

Agreed that it is not the job of the government to run hotels, but still it is the responsibility of the government to create as much employment as possible. In the name of Nehruvian Socialism, which the late J.R.D. Tata termed as “State Capitalism”, we have invested huge sums of money in developing PSUs.

Now in this change scenario, privatisation is the keyword today. But we should not accept or discard one economic policy in favour of the other blindly without taking into account ground realities. Common sense and natural wisdom should not be forsaken in the enthusiasm of pursuing a certain policy. So selling these prime public properties in a hurry amounts to criminal negligence. This disinvestment policy should be debated at every possible forum to frame some general guidelines for disinvestment.


In case of profit-making PSUs and those which can be revived into profit making enterprises, steps should be taken to minimise political interference, cutting down red-tapism to minimum. Professionals should replace bureaucrats. Employees’ wages should be linked with their work output. Better still, they should be made share-holders.

There is an urgent need to drastically change the labour laws to make workers more responsible by reducing job security and taming the trade unions, thereby making them investor and entrepreneur friendly. These steps would attract more local and foreign investment, thereby creating more gainful jobs.

Those enterprises which cannot be revived should be disposed of in a transparent manner to retrieve as much capital as possible. We are a poor country and we need vast resources for providing potable drinking water, electricity, healthcare, roads, education and infrastructural facilities to the common people.

JASJIT SINGH, Nilokheri (Karnal)

Ashok Singhal’s outburst

The vicious outburst of Ashok Singhal (VHP) at Amritsar proudly promising to repeat Gujarat, and boasting about Muslims being despatched to refugee camps is abominal and also violates the Constitution and laws of the land.

I cannot imagine a more vicious and communally provocative statement. I am surprised that the Congress government in Punjab has not started criminal proceedings against him for sedition etc under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code.

Had I not been in principle against Pota, this was certainly a befitting case for applying that law. Of course, Singhal could possibly plead a defence — that of mental incapacity amounting to unsoundness of mind. The choice is his.

RAJINDER SACHAR, Chief Justice (retd), New Delhi

New Shatabdi

The new Shatabdi has been introduced with a lot of fanfare between Bathinda and New Delhi. The train has a capacity of more than 300 people whereas it is carrying only 50 passengers on an average. See the colossal waste. The Railways is incurring because of the fanciful ideas of some vested interests.

S.R. MITTAL, Ludhiana



Uniform problem

The misuse of military uniform by private security agencies and others highlighted from time to time in the past few years is back in the news. Why is the problem being allowed to linger on though it poses a grave security risk?

The list of banned colours is so large — olive green (Army), indigo blue and azure blue (Air Force), white (Navy), khaki (police), black (commandos) etc — that it leaves little option for private agencies to choose from. Besides, the remaining colours like red, yellow, parrot green etc are too gaudy to be suitable for a uniform.

The Air Force can lend a helping hand in easing the problem by releasing one of the two colours — indigo blue if I may suggest. It should retain the bright colour azure blue for its uniform. The private agencies may then be advised to uniformly adopt the indigo blue for their uniforms.

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Pollution in Ludhiana

I would like to draw the attention of the people towards the growing problem of pollution in Ludhiana. People don’t care to check their vehicles for pollution. Most of the pollution is caused by three-wheelers and heavy vehicles like trucks. It causes many respiratory problems.

I request the authorities concerned to ban the use of three-wheelers or charge heavy fines from defaulters.


Kapurthala stinks

The people of Kapurthala city have been hearing of various development schemes for decades but without positive results.

Shalimar Bagh is the most important garden of the city known as “Paris of the Orient”. One has to visit the garden these days without warning to see its pitiable condition.

The environment of Kapurthala has been polluted by obnoxious odour from the distillery at Hamira, but the administration has been sleeping over the matter.



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