Saturday, November 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Omar accepts mistakes, Badal doesn’t

Mr Parkash Singh Badal should have known by now (if he did not know while in office) that his government had become notorious for widespread corruption, nepotism, inefficiency and ubiquitous absenteeism in offices, schools and hospitals because of which people had to face untold hardships and suffering. The public exchequer was lying almost empty and even the most urgent needs of the people were not being met. Free water and electricity to the farmers and abolition of octroi (the only source of income to the civic bodies) in the urban sector had aggravated the worsening economic situation in the state. Today the sane thinking all over India is that the user must pay for the services he receives, but the service should not be erratic.

Instead of feeling repentant for his government’s lapses and admitting that the electorate had justifiably punished the SAD and the BJP in Punjab for their corruption and inefficiency both at the political and administrative levels, he is in vain crying wolf as if the new government is bent upon persecuting the state’s innocent people. This extreme and inimical stance does not convince and impress anybody.

In contrast to his attitude is the sane reaction of Mr Omar Abdullah after his party’s ignonimous defeat in the elections. “People have punishad us for our mistakes”, he boldly and candidly said in Srinagar a few days back. That has raised his stock in the eyes of the public.

True, the Congress government that has replaced the SAD-BJP dispensation in Punjab has not so far done ideally good work. Also true that Capt Amarinder Singh should concentrate more on development and on measures that promote the people’s welfare and mitigate their sufferings. Mr Badal should rather pester him to pursue these goals.


I, as a humble citizen, beseech Mr Badal not to incite his supporters to agitate against the withdrawal of freebies. If agitate he must, he should do so against the government’s lethargy and incompetence in not being able to curb absenteeism in offices, hospitals and educational institutions, for not repairing and carpeting the roads and not improving employment opportunities. People will applaud him if he watches the performance of the new government with the eye of an eagle and pinpoint its lapses. Then and then alone will he be able to rehabilitate himself and win back the public support and confidence. The first desideratum is admission of one’s own lapses, then alone can one move or to convincingly point out the opponent’s failings.

Capt Amarinder Singh should, however, ensure that no Congress MLA or minister indulges in corruption, otherwise he too would meet the same fate. Politicians should not raise populist slogans and make false promises to the electorate to grab votes, knowing fully well that these promises cannot be fulfilled. The Congress in the Punjab was guilty of doing so.

R.L. SINGAL, Chandigarh

The Akali morcha

The Akali-BJP combine supported by the CPI and the CPM have prepared a 15-point demands charter and have asked the state government to implement it by Nov 5, 2002, failing which they would start a “morcha” and fill the state jails.

The demands are considered pro-kisan, pro-employee and pro-people by these parties. Ironically, these very policies of the sponsoring combine deprived them of political power in the recently held elections in the state. No doubt, many demands may/could improve the socio-economic condition of some segments of society, but when considered/appreciated in the light of ground realities, especially the fiscal condition of the state, their implementation could wait. Moreover, governance requires a sensible balance in empowering its people vis-a-vis empowering the state with adequate financial resources.

The prevailing situation in the state calls for a mature and disciplined response from all Punjabis to overcome the developing crisis in the suggested manner. One Dick Armey has said that “three groups spend other people’s money: children, thieves and politicians. All three need supervision”. Therefore, let the government do its assigned job without exerting unwarranted pressure on it with dubious motives.

Two, American President Jhon F. Kennedy asked his people to cooperate with him to resolve his nation’s problems by exhorting them: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” In other words, this is the time for some temporary sacrifices instead of adopting agitational approach for rights only. Let Punjab flourish once again as “the pride of India”.

D.S. RAI, Ludhiana

Cable cars' safety

About seven years ago a mishap occurred at the Timber Trail Tourist Complex near Parwanoo in which one of the cables supporting a cable car got snapped, resulting in the death of one person. About half a dozen persons were stranded in the cable car which got struck midway. They were rescued by Army personnel after more than 48 traumatic hours.

I remember newspapers carrying news items after the mishap that in future eatables and drinking water would be kept in cable cars to meet any such eventuality. We were also made to believe that safety measures for such cars would be put under strict inspection in future.

However, when I took a ride in the cable car recently, I did not find any eatables or drinking water in it. My enquiries revealed that the promise in this regard had actually never been translated into action. It is difficult to believe that the authorities who have shut their eyes to this attitude of the complex management, might have been exercising strictness in regard to safety measures like the condition of cables.

Obviously, it is yet another instance of everybody giving all kinds of assurances after a mishap and forgetting them a few days later. Will we ever see any change in the attitude of the authorities in this country?


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