Wednesday, February 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Bus fare hike too little?

THE transporters who run private buses in Punjab are peeved at the recent 5 per cent hike in the bus fares, which they feel is just a peanut looking at the increase in the prices of diesel and spare parts. In 1999 during the Akali-BJP regime fares were overnight increased by 60 per cent though there was no increase in the prices of diesel or spare parts. That allowed them to make money for three years.

The fact is that the present fares are also high, otherwise how can one explain the ever growing fleet of buses they own. Funds come from profits only. They are not fools to invest in something which does not yield substantial profits.

They pay almost 20 per cent of the salary the government pays to its drivers and conductors and the wage bill constitutes the main expenditure head.

Second, for buses and trucks the cost of financing is another main expenditure, which in the last three years has come down to just half because of the lowering of the interest rates by almost 50 per cent. The occupancy rate of private buses is almost double the rate of the state-run buses.

Still if transporters feel that it is not a profitable business, then they should do the favour of withdrawing their fleets and give an opportunity to the government to float open tenders. I am confident that unemployed graduates will be in a queue and agree to 20 per cent less than what they are charging. We know it well that transporters are well known politicians, but it is their misfortune and the public’s good fortune that the present CM is not a transporter. So they will have to wait for some time.



TRAI skids on landline

Things have not been the same in the telecom after our country got into the wireless loop.

Whereas the reduction in mobile rates has been for sheer survival, the upward revision of the fixed line telephones proposed by TRAI is seemingly to provide more than a level-playing field.

Where was the need to reduce the fixed line pulse timing other than to make it as costly as WLL?

The inspiration behind averaging logic of average pulse timings being of two minutes is not as simple as it appears. Should we not have a new TRAI chief?

Air Cmde RAGHUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune

Contract system

In the present system where trade unionism rules, the contract system in education as well as all civil services will serve the nation’s interest best. In such a system mainly merit will count. It is better than the security of service where once a person is confirmed, it so nearly impossible to get rid of his services even if he is not up to the mark.

A confirmed cleaner could not be removed despite the fact that he not only did not work, but also abused his immediate superior. His argument was that as there was no post below a cleaner’s, nobody could demote him, and nobody could make him the head of the institution.

Exactly opposite is the case of a senior engineer from the UK who was on leave to India. A day prior to his departure, he fell ill and was advised by the attending doctor to extend leave by sending a medical certificate. But the engineer replied that unlike in India, a medical certificate or no medical certificate, if he failed to reach the UK and join his office in time, he would be handed over one month’s salary with notice to look for some other job.


Sehajdharis’ right to vote

Apropos the write-up “Should Sehajdharis have the right to vote in SGPC elections?” (Jan 5), the SAD and the SGPC are now left with no face or case to debar the Sehajdharis from the SGPC elections.

The SAD has always known that only the Amritdhari Sikhs are its most dependable constituency because they rarely go to the secular parties like the Congress or the Communists. Therefore, the SAD has always been weary of the large majority of Sikhs who are Sehajdharis and go easy on the stringent maryada prescribed for the Amritdhari Khalsa, as on the five kakars and intoxicants etc.

To perpetuate its hold over the SGPC, the Sikh shrines and hence Sikh politics, the SAD has relentlessly pursued the demand to bring all gurdwaras the world over under its exclusive control and to debar Sehajdhari Sikhs from contesting or voting in the SGPC elections by propagating the questionable view that only the Amritdhari Khalsa are the true Sikhs.

However, a mere perusal of the Hukamnamas of Guru Gobind Singh and his consorts — Mata Sundari and Sahib Devan — published by the SGPC itself would show that they had called even non-Singh (non-Amritdhari) Sikhs as their Khalsa. It is a mere canard that only the Amritdhari Sikhs were included in the Khalsa by the Dashmesh. The Hukamnamas of the “Mother of Khalsa” also name her as Mata Sahib Devan and not as Sahib Kaur, as the Akalis like to profess. There is no proof that the Tenth Guru had ever issued an edict for all Sikhs to become Amritdhari.

This idea began appearing in later Sikh literature apparently as a symbol of defiance to the orders of Emperor Bahadur Shah and Governors like Zakria Khan for the general massacre of Sikhs when Hindus were ordered to shave off to differentiate themselves for their safety. The Tenth Guru had indeed created an elite Khalsa Dal of his dauntless Sikh devotees fiercely dedicated to his person “as his special image” who were ever ready to do and die at his beck and call. However, it is just unthinkable that the Tenth Guru would have wanted to convert the whole of Guru Nanak’s Panth of grahsthis, including women and children, into an army of uniformed warriors. Therefore, non-Amritdhari Sehajdhari Sikhs are just equally good Sikhs.


Two suggestions

I make two suggestions for your consideration. First, the NCR supplement should also carry a regular feature on the Delhi High Court/Supreme Court verdicts.

Secondly, the feature on “Sales Tax Issues” in the question-answer form should be discontinued and replaced by suitable articles on various aspects of the sales tax law, such as assessment of unregistered dealers, best-judgment assessment, reassessment, appeals, security provisions, penal provisions in ST law, the inspection of goods in transit, powers of search and seizure, powers of revisional authorities, sales tax on brick kilns and halwaiis and so on. Numerous such subjects affect the interests of the business community. The question-answer form has become highly controversial because of the different opinions of experts and advocates on the same question.

N.L. BANGA, Gurgaon

Dewan Todar Mall

In the write-up “Sirhind Di Dastan” it has been stated that Dewan Todar Mall was from the Jain community. I belong to his family and I may inform the readers that Dewan Todar Mall was a Khattri Chopra. Anybody having doubts may contact me.

BALRAJ CHOPRA, Machhiwara (Ph.: 01628-251309)

Now required Indians

Apropos of the tailpiece (Jan 30), I would differ with KJS Ahluwalia’s coinage of “Not Required Indians” for the NRIs. The recently held official meet in India of the NRIs from across the world and the overflowing generous, abundant accolades showered by the powers-that-be, the acronym NRI has acquired a new expansion: Now Required Indians.


EPF deposit problems

We run a Gurgaon-based school. We have to periodically deposit cash towards EPF in the government treasury. Only one branch of the State Bank of India is designated to accept deposits for the whole of Gurgaon, leading to numerous difficulties, and payment by cheque is risky as there are umpteen instances of loss of documents. I urge the authorities to designate more banks to accept such deposits.

To encourage timely deposits of EPF and TDS etc in the present age of e-banking the government treasury should start accepting payments online through all banks.

R.C. PAL, Gurgaon

BJP’s fixed deposit

The Ram temple issue has become like a fixed deposit for the BJP to be used for electoral purposes as and when needed. Our “holy” people should stay in their ashrams or mosques, rather than dabble in politics.


Teachers & extra periods

Many Punjabi University teachers often come unprepared to the class and take periods in other departments where they get Rs 400 per hour. They take three to four periods in other departments and forget their own classes.

Additional periods are given not due to their educational qualifications, but on the basis of their group loyalties. This is the main reasons for quarrels in the university.

Every year the price of the prospectus is increased. The prospectus for the B.Ed examination this year is priced at Rs 800. It is an open loot of students.

Students of Punjabi University, Patiala

Posers to RSS

If Mr K.S. Sudershan, RSS chief, is genuine in his feelings, why has he never raised the issue of ‘84 riots? Has he ever criticised Operation Bluestar? His remarks are only meant to hurt the feelings of Sikhs.


Cracks in new road

The Bari Dumehri-Chunaghai road,laid hardly eight months ago, has developed cracks and fissures, which were hurriedly patched up for the contractors’ payments could be shelved temporarily. The tar on the road is hardly an inch thick and rain has scrapped the same making a mockery of the kind of work executed.



Q What does I.A.S. stand for these days?

A: Indian Adultery Service!



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