Friday, January 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



The octopus of corruption

I agree with Hari Jaisingh that the octopus of corruption (Dec 27) has taken the entire nation in its tentacles. He has made a serious attempt to identify those forces which are popularising the culture of corruption in India. Most of the politicians behave like calculating property dealers and the common people, as the writer argues, “are becoming insensitive to the cases of corruption and corrupt practices”.

The question of sanctity of means does not disturb the people any more. Those who own splendid houses, shining cars and huge bank balances are the real lords of our cities and towns. Such people are often seen moving in the glorious company of MLAs, MPs and the Chief Ministers. Their voice is heard in the corridors of power and they are treated respectfully even in police stations. They wield their powerful influence everywhere because of their wealth which is acquired through dubious means. This neo-rich class has of late started contesting elections and influencing decisions of the state governments.

What is more surprising and horrifying also is that the common people perceive such gentlemen’s questionable achievement as a consequence of their hard work and enviable luck. Instead of hating them, they wish to adore and emulate them. This dangerous mindset is degenerating the behaviour of the youths in a big way.


I fully endorse the writer’s view that this disasterous culture of making illegal money at the national level is being proliferated and legitimised by “real estate developers, underworld filmi links, smugglers, speculators, neo-industrialists and adventurers”. Such individuals have become the role models of youth.

K.F. Rustamji echoes the sentiments of the sane and sensible people of India in his thoughtful article “Peace, politics, administration living” (Dec 30). The much-flaunted slogan of simple living and high thinking is missing now in public life. We don’t see any commitment in the life of a politician. Being thoroughly opportunistic, his personal interests dominate all his activities from morning till evening.

Government offices, hospitals, railway stations and police stations have become common centres of people’s torture and harassment. In India, goods and people both are available for sale. MLAs, MPs and presidents of national political parties can also be purchased. This is really shameful and disgusting.

R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad

Why this is so

The main reasons for corruption and the sorry state of affairs in our country are:

(i) Indiscipline

(ii) Lawlessness

(iii) The present type of democracy

(iv) The free Press which also encourages lawlessness and indiscipline.

(v) After 50 years of Independence, 30 per cent of the people of India do not have power, roads, irrigation and drinking water facilities.

(vi) 30 per cent people do not get two meals a day.

vii) 5 per cent people do not get even one meal a day.

GIAN CHAND TOTU, ex-minister, Solan

Arrested, suspended ...

The “octopus of corruption” article is well knitted by Hari Jaisingh. The subject of corruption is the talk of society today. Can a person with a meager salary of Rs 12,000 or so afford to provide good education to his children, have a good house to live in, a Santro or Zen car to drive? The simple answer is No. But just see in the neighbourhood, a government employee has all these privileges. How does he manage all this? Simply by keeping his godfather and political boss happy. No one raises his finger at him. Many others follow his path. The system becomes corrupt slowly.

Simply saying that corruption is a “global phenomenon” is not going to save one from the responsibility to control this menace. If a corrupt person is caught, within a few days of his staying behind bars, he is given bail. Released, the culprit gets the time to arrange/hide/manipulate the proof and circumstances. The department where he works suspends him and half of the salary is given to him. After manipulating the law, he gets reinstated, the salary arrears are paid to him. In may cases, the department even promotes such officials.

Gone are the days when going to jail was considered a scar on one’s life. Now corrupt people are already prepared for such an eventuality.

Controlling corruption is difficult, but not impossible. Go ahead. Simply terminate those found guilty of accepting a bribe and confiscate all their property which they build with unfair means. Just see the results within six months.


Petrol bomb!

Apropos your editorial “Petrol Bomb!” (Dec 23), the Punjab Government should take a cue from the apex court’s ruling in the petrol pump cancellation case and rescind the sack/reversion orders issued to a good number of P.C.S. cadre officers following the Ravi Sidhu episode.

The whimsical and impulsive action taken by the state government then without the application of mind was patently unjustified and arbitrary in every sense. Now that the Supreme Court has shown the way, the government should have no hesitation in undoing the damage caused by its hasty decision. A committee of two or three senior officers can scrutinise the relevant records for sorting out good apples from the bad ones.


Life in Bihar

This refers to the front-page photograph of a burning bus, depicting violence in Patna during Bihar bandh on January 3. It seems as if the basic postulates of Hobbe’s Social Contract theory regarding the origin of state are still prevalent in Bihar today. It indicates that life in Bihar is “solitary, short, poor, brutish and nasty.” On what basis do we boast of being a developing country?

VINISH GARG, Panchkula

Amritsar Shatabdi

I travelled by Amritsar Shatabdi on December 20 and 22 both times in coach C1. The coaches of the train were extremely poorly maintained. Seats were broken, eating tables were anything but horizontal and there was no suggestion of travelling by a luxury train. During the return journey, even the practice of giving evening newspapers was dispensed with. In view of the exorbitant fares charged by the Railways, it is imperative that the standard of services is maintained.



The conspiracy of silence

FIGHTER jets from the US-British coalition are dropping bombs on Iraq and the international community is quite, watching all this happening as mute spectators. It is high time the international community should pause and think how describing the selfishness and fear of the USA as helplessness is justified.

Iraq accepted the UN resolution and allowed the weapons inspectors in its territory, but despite so much hard work put in by Hans Blix and his team, they failed to get any evidence of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. Hans Blix gave a statement in the UN Security Council which presented him more as an American than the UN inspector that he is.

How can the self-righteous USA digest the result from the inspection work and therefore prolong the inspection work and also dropping of bombs?

This should not come as a surprise for the entire international community. Obviously, a lot of questions arise from all this but the biggest and most relevant one is that: what role should the international community play so that America does not turn into a terrorist in fighting the anti-terrorist mission.

ANUPAM, Syar village (Solan)

Taxing controversy

Your editorial “Taxing controversy” (Dec 30) did not consider the benefits of simplification of the tax structure offered by Mr Vijay Kelkar, a long-serving economic boffin. Genuine tax-payers get less from small exemptions and waste more in quibbling over petty points. Pettifoggers try to circumvent and babble the tax system by trickeries and dodging. By the proposed system, tax-payers will be able to make tax calculations and filing tax returns by themselves. Less of paper work, more of peace of mind — this is what we want these days, especially when we have to deal with Indian babudom. And Mr Kelkar has dared to offer exactly that!

Further you have advocated not to tax agricultural income on the pretext of low returns and increasing production cost. Well, could you please tell which business has high returns and decreasing production cost? Agriculturists will be required to pay tax only if their income is above a certain limit. Mr Kelkar has wisely offered to eliminate the “some people are more equal than others” category.

B.B. GOYAL, Barnala

The killer road

The Mandi Gobindgarh-Amloh Road has virtually become a killing road. Many industrial units and commercial establishments are situated on either side of the road. Residential colonies too have mushroomed in the area.

There is heavy rush of vehicular traffic and business activities. Crossing the road is a herculean task, especially for the aged. Many fatal accidents have taken place. A divider in the centre of the road should be built to regulate traffic.

D.P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Dates clash

PTU has announced May 23 as the entrance test date for the B.E. and B.Tech courses in its various institutes. The dates for the IIT screening and main exam are April 20 and May 23 respectively announced well in advance. As such PTU should change its test date.


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