Tuesday, September 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



No reason to shift ammo depots

Apropos of the report “George urged to shift ammo dump” (Aug 18), the request has been made by some people who have violated the government notification restricting construction of houses within a specified distance from the ammo depot. Sometime back, there was a similar request for shifting an ammo depot near Ludhiana because some businessmen wanted to construct colonies and marriage halls there.

Those making such requests do not realise that an ammo depot is not like a FCI godown where packages and boxes are stacked in sheds. An ammo depot is a multi-crore project with underground, missile-proof, air-conditioned dumps with safety, fire fighting, alarm, security, transport (including railway line) and other such systems required to store the sophisticated ammunition. Apparently, those making such requests are unaware of the gravity of the task, time, risk and finances involved in the shifting process.

In view of the prevailing situation in border areas, it will be risky to take up such a misadventure. Some local politicians also take up the cause keeping an eye on their constituency. Those fearing demolition of their houses etc should be asked why they constructed the buildings in violation of the notification? The connivance or negligence of local civil authorities also needs to be looked into in this context.


The ammo depots are located far away from the populated areas and in accordance with the overall strategic defence plan. It is the duty of the government to ensure that expansion of habitation in the direction of these depots is kept under check, to the extent that the safety of the civil population and the security of the depots is not jeopardised.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), SAS Nagar

Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia

This refers to Mr Madan Gopal’s article “Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia’s vision: his role in journalism is a golden chapter in the annals of Punjab” (Sept 9) about the illustrious and eventful life and career of the founder of The Tribune. During that period in history when India was reeling under slavery of the British regime, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia emerged as saviour of the people of the North-West region of the country. To keep the people of this area socially and educationally enlightened, the formation of the three trusts — a college, a library and a newspaper — in which he bestowed self-earned assets worth Rs 3 million, is not a small contribution by any reckoning.

In a way, this was the Sardar’s peaceful but effective resistance to the alien rule. The history being taught in schools and colleges needs to include chapters highlighting the contributions of great men like Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia for the upliftment and emancipation of the masses educationally and socially to free them from the shackles of the colonial regime.


Isolation of the US

This refer to the editorial “Road to Washington” (Sept 11). An aggressively assertive unilateralism coupled with a frantically vested risk-perception has not only isolated the US in its war against global terrorism but has also become doubtful whether its strategy on terrorism has had any fruitful impact at all. In the first place, the US has failed to gain international cooperation because of its flawed policy of “If you are not with us, you are against us”. Its military action action in Afghanistan and Iraq even against the wishes of the UN and threats of attack on Iran, Korea etc. only disillusioned many states of the US seriousness and its intentions.

The worst aspect of the US approach to terrorism has been its unilateral and adamant definition of terrorism. Hence, while Iraq was a “rogue state”, Pakistan, despite irrefutable evidence of its support to terrorism and even giving shelter to Osama bin Laden’s people, remains a “trusted ally” in the US fight against terrorism.

Is it a compulsive pampering because the US would never like India to grow into a powerful economy? The US may have fears that by developing strong economic relations with China and Russia, India could one day be a power to reckon with. By ignoring Pakistan’s open support to terrorism in Kashmir, the US is working on the strategy of diverting India’s resources and attention to non-progressive projects.

That is also the reason why the US, Pakistan and some other countries have expressed their reservations and even displeasure on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to India.


Vanmahotsava or...

This year people’s zeal for planting trees has been bountiful as the God-given monsoon. But for unusual prolonging of rain, the usual period of monsoon is long over. And without any thought for possible dry spell ahead, certain bigwigs are going ahead with self-publicity in the name of Vanmahotsava. The sapling plantation function of an institution at Bhadson Road (Sept 11) is a case in point.

Even an illiterate (but prudent) farmer knows that belated farm operation is of no consequence. The right season for planting saplings is mid-June to mid-July. Remember the 1967 monsoon? The rainfall was normal during June-July and incessant during the following four weeks. The showers had ceased completely on August 15. The entire North India had the worst drought during the subsequent nine months. God forbid, if the Rain God decides to repeat His 1967 whim during the coming months, who will water the poor Bhadson saplings? The nursery stock, raised at considerable cost by the Forest Department in government-aided nurseries, and provided almost free to the Vanmahotsava enthusiasts, will be wasted.

It will, therefore, be prudent to halt for now any further planting of the tree saplings. The valuable nursery stock left unpicked now can be utilised at an appropriate time during the next planting season. The Vanmahotsava can thus be saved from becoming a fun-otsva.

K.L. NOATAY, Shimla


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