Monday, June 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



US attitude towards Pakistan must change

IN his article “America disappoints India” (May 15), Mr Inder Malhotra has very rightly highlighted the frustrating agony of India, arising out of indifferent and rather surprising pro-Pakistani attitude of America as regards its fight against the Islamic jehadi terrorism. In spite of all kinds of American assurances, Pakistan is still exporting Islamic Jehadi terrorism to India and there is no apparent change in Pakistan’s anti-Indian attitude. But as a matter of fact, if the Americans have disappointed India, the Vajpayee Government has also disappointed the Indian masses.

India has been appealing to the US and other nations to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state, but strangely, we ourselves are yet to act in a manner that would teach a lesson for General Musharraf and his people. We are still maintaining diplomatic relations with our arch enemy and visas are still being issued to Pakistanis to visit our country. All our treaties with Pakistan are still intact. Quite a number of pro-Pakistani elements are freely allowed to operate from the Indian soil.

The way a delegation of Pakistani MPs was allowed to enter India, with a rousing welcome at Wagah Border, betrays hollowness of our complaint against Pakistan. Consequently, till we ourselves do not treat Pakistan as an enemy nation in the real sense, we have no moral or ethical right to crib about the indifferent American attitude.

A.K. Sharma, Chandigarh


Protecting Sukhna

MANY remedial measures have been suggested for the Sukhna lake. It would be worthwhile to declare the whole catchment area of Sukhna choe as a Forest Area in consultation with the respective governments, and crop cultivation i.e. ploughing of land may be disallowed, even grazing of sheeps/ cattle may be banned for the time being to avoid erosion of land during rains.

It is a known fact that the Israel Government had been successful in converting its large desert area into a fertile land by spreading seeds of quick growing plantation even with light rain. In our case too, therefore, some type of deep-rooted grass or shrubs, as adopted in Israel, should be planted very closely in the whole catchment area of Sukhna choe in consultation with Agriculture and Forest Departments.

Simultaneously, trees of quick beneficial nature, which may provide early bread to land holders, may also be planted. Till the time of its consequent benefit/ earning, the farmers concerned may be reasonably compensated.

Silt ejector, if constructed, will prove beneficial in all seasons when surplus water from the lake is to be released. To make it more effective in pushing the silt out of the lake, underwater dredging in the shape of a deep channel to some length at the entrance of the silt ejector is a must which should be dug before releasing the surplus water. Increase in the depth of water in the channel area will create higher velocity and silt will get rolled up easily and, consequently, ejected smoothly out of the lake.

Check dams, if made on the tributaries of Sukhna choe, will be of little help because they will get silted up within a year or two.

Sohan Singh, Former Superintending Engineer (Irrigation), Chandigarh



Calling a spade a spade

Apropos of the report “Toxic feed killed trout: expert” (May 25), I would like to congratulate Mr K.B. Ralhan for having pointed out the wrongs with the Fisheries Department from which he retired as Deputy Director a few years ago. He has indeed called a spade a spade by highlighting the mismanagement and cover-up of the causes leading to the loss of almost the entire trout stock at the Patlikuhl trout farm.

Thanks to the Norway project and the painstaking efforts put up by the committed fishery officials, the ailing, directionless, scientifically starved trout fishery had suddenly metamorphosed into a vibrant, booming enterprise. Besides increased productivity at the government-run farms, it was gaining acceptance as a viable private venture among some farmers also.

That the entire trout stock should so tragically be wiped out is indeed scandalous and calls for a thorough probe. The alleged foray to Norway by the superannuated Director (who has enough clout to hang on to a seat of power even after the change of government) and his failure to check the mass mortality also need investigation.

The government should honour its oft-repeated commitment to root out corruption. Therefore, corruption, which festers and breeds in the nooks and corners of various government and public sector departments, must be thoroughly smoked out. Also, oft-repeated and often highly inflated production and productivity figures of the fish, as also other forms of produce made by various organisations too need some closer look by the authorities concerned.

The government should ensure that the officials are held accountable for doctored figures and data being doled out by those at the helm to hoodwink the bosses and the public. Technical skullduggery and use of other corrupt means and mechanisms for self-aggrandisement is a thriving industry in the corridors of many a technical organisation and institute in Himachal Pradesh too.

Subhash C. Sharma, Palampur (Kangra)

BSNL working

After a long wait, the telephone bills have been successfully computerised. Still in some cases, there was lack of application of mind on the part of BSNL officials. In the bills for April, for instance, they have added a ridiculous point “Old bill not paid (if paid, inform details) mentioning particulars of the bill for the preceding month of March” to all the subscribers of the city. The poor subscribers have no alternative but to get certificate of payment from the Bank and then go to the consumer centre to stand in the queue and show evidence of payment to the official at the counter. The official in turn makes a cursory look murmuring “this was necessary only for the defaulters.” The indifference and apathy of government officials is well known, leaving the poor subscribers high and dry. But who cares?

J.L. Chawla, Amritsar

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