Tuesday, August 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



A common civil code will make India stronger

APROPOS of Professor Satyabrata Rai Chowdhuri's article “A common civil code: it is a constitutional obligation” (July 30), in a democratic set-up like ours, a common civil code for our countrymen is the need of the hour. Democracy in this country will become more meaningful and survive for long if in place of varying civil codes we have a common civil code. This will strengthen our concept of national integration and secularism. Putting aside pride and prejudice, every political party should honour the Supreme Court's verdict for a uniform civil code in letter and spirit.

There is a long-standing demand for reservations to women in state legislatures and Parliament. But have our leaders ever thought of giving similar rights to Muslim women as to their Hindu counterparts? In the absence of a uniform civil code, Muslim women fall victim to the highhandedness of their men because of obsolete and age-old personal law diktats of their community. The majority of Muslim women will heave a sigh of relief if Parliament enacts a uniform civil code in conformity with the Supreme Court's judgement of July 23.

It is no secret that while the Muslim women are against the menace of bigamy and the divorce law of their community, they are yet to taste the fruits of democracy. In future, let no Shah Bano suffer in silence in this country .

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari, Hamirpur


Politics of bluff

Apropos of the editorial “Politics of bluff” (July 30), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, known for her outrageous style of combative politics, has often attempted to bully and blackmail her adversaries and partners. Naturally, the national interest and prestige are given a go-by in the face of such vested political interests and an arrogantly unscrupulous functioning of our political rulers.

This is what Ms Mayawati seems to have done in her attempt to divert public attention from the criminally dangerous plan of the Taj Corridor. When snubbing and suspending senior bureaucrats and officials failed to bring the desired results, she went on to threaten the very existence of the NDA government at the Centre.

Politics today stinks with our politicians' unprincipled manipulation of sweeping the truth under the carpet. Ironically, nobody will try to fix responsibility for the damage and loss that might have caused to one of the great wonders of the world i.e. The Taj Mahal.


Timely warning

Speaking at a cultural programme organised by Rotary Club and Indo-Tibet Friendship Association near Dharamsala the other day, Himachal Pradesh Governor V.S. Kokje is reported to have underlined the need to preserve the cultural heritage of the hill state and maintain sanctity of the state’s pilgrimage centres, observing that the tourist destinations, especially the centres of pilgrimage, in the state were losing their sanctity.

Justice Kokje's timely warning on the subject merits serious attention. In fact, the well-meaning warning or advice can be ignored only at the state's peril. He observed, “The inflow of tourists is good but it should not be allowed to affect the cultural sanctity of the state’s religious destinations”. Promoting tourism “at any cost” is undoubtedly a bad policy. Sadly, some tourist destinations in the state have over the years gained considerable notoriety for all sorts of vices under the sun, thanks to the mindless policy on the subject.

It would be a tragedy if the money-oriented tourism industry is allowed to pollute the noble heritage and culture of the famed “Valley of gods”. Let the powers that be beware!

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Who will police the police?

THIS refers to the road accident involving the DIG of Police and the Army School bus carrying school children at Chandigarh on July 29. From the timing of the accident and the statement of the witnesses, it is clear that the Ambassador car driven by the DIG was at a high speed and must have jumped the red light. The DIG was to catch the morning Shatabdi Express which is scheduled for 6.50 a.m. and the accident time was 6.40 a.m. So it is very obvious that the car was in a hurry to reach the railway station.

Jumping of red right and other traffic violations by the police are very common in Chandigarh and Panchkula. On many occasions, I have seen police vehicles jumping red lights causing great risk of life to other road users. And in Panchkula, more than 90 per cent of the policemen do not wear helmets while driving two wheelers, although they take pride in challaning a two-wheeler rider without helmet.

Who will discipline the police? The police think that they are the only enforcers of law. They never realise that they should first become a law abiding force. A lawless force cannot enforce the law nor it has the right to do so. If a senior officer of the rank of DIG can violate traffic rules endangering so many innocent lives, one can well realise the extent of power in the hands of his junior men.

The police should set their own house in order first and only then peep into the houses of others.



Cruel joke with Sukhna

Owing to the silting up of its bed, the Sukhna lake has been losing its capacity. In order to gain some additional one, the government decided to raise its water level by two feet.

It could also have regained some of the lost one if the crest level of the regulator had been lowered by as many feet as possible; that would have helped in washing away some of the silt in the bed. But just the opposite was done; the crest had been raised by two feet. This would induce the bed to silt up. Such silting is permanent and irreversible. This is a serious negative point of the scheme.

And lo! with the Punjab and High Court not allowing the raising of the water level, the plus point of gaining some additional capacity is gone and we are left to bear the consequences of the negative one. This has been a cruel joke with the poor Sukhna lake.

S.P. MALHOTRA, Former Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation), Haryana, Panchkula

Railway accidents

Yes, after a train accident, the railway authorities order an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS). But there is no follow up and the report gathers dust in the Rail Bhawan's cupboards. Six years back, Justice H.R. Khanna submitted various recommendations towards railway safety. But they have not been implemented so far.

The CRS reports are confidential and neither the media nor the general public have access to them. The reports are final and not open to any amendments. In fact, these reports expose the inefficiency of the employees recruited through the ill-fated policy of the caste-based reservation in this country since past 50 years. The government wants to conceal the material facts from the general public in the name of confidential CRS reports on railway accidents till date. Otherwise, CRS reports, in their present form, lack credibility. The reports should be made public.

S.P. GUPTA, Kurukshetra

A right decision

The Punjab Government’s decision to withdraw the fee hike in the colleges is a wise step. Education should remain within the reach of the common man and not a single deserving student should be deprived of it just for money. Commercialisation of education should be avoided. Education is a service, not a business. It should be qualitative but not expensive. Admission to the colleges should be strictly on merit and unwanted crowd should be avoided.

The other decisions of the government like handing over schools to the panchayats and recruiting teachers on contract basis are also evoking strong criticism from educationists and the people of Punjab. The government should spare some thought to review these decisions also before it resorts to the twin process of implementation and withdrawal.

H.S. KOMAL, Bathinda

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