Towards proper utilisation of public funds

According to a recent report in The Tribune, a Deputy Commissioner in Haryana has evolved an innovative scheme for judicious utilisation of public funds apportioned separately to Gram Panchayats, Block Samithis and Zilla Parishads by pooling these funds for executing selected projects in each village, as recommended by the residents of the villages concerned under the supervision of the Deputy Commissioner.

The DC deserves to be commended for this laudable venture. The enlightened residents in rural areas who are aware of the unplanned and wasteful expenditure of public money placed separately at the disposal of local bodies will appreciate the need for pooled utilisation of resources under the watchful eye of the district head, thus preventing dissipation of resources. At present, there is little or no accountability for proper utilisation of funds.

Once in a while, a Pradhan is taken to task for indulging in dubious practices resulting in public money being squandered. Such cases are exceptional. Generally, the errant Pradhans, working hand in glove with petty officials, cover up their misdeeds.

Unlike parliamentary or assembly elections every five years, the reduction of which is undesirable because of the huge burden on the exchequer, the tenure of panchayats should be reduced to three years. Five years is too long a period for the electorate to suffer at the hands of lethargic and callous members of the Gram Panchayats.

I recall the worthy decision of a Haryana Pradhan who, after two years in office, called a snap election, at his own expense, to hear the verdict of his electorate on his performance. The overwhelming majority voted in his favour. This is a unique manner of ascertaining public opinion about one’s performance mid-way of his tenure. But such are exceptions to the rule!

Mandatory reduction of Panchayats’ tenure would go a long way in introducing efficiency and minimising the chances of the grass-root democratic institutions from becoming victims of rampant corruption.

BRIG H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Malangar (HP)



Beyond the chirping of sparrows

This has reference to Mr Manjit Singh’s letter “Where are sparrows?” (Jan 6). In areas around Garshanker, there may be some reasons for missing the chirping of house sparrows (Passer domesticus), but they are a serious menace in our small garden. Flocks of these little chirping birds descend on the vegetable garden. The seedlings of methi, palak and some flowering plants are their major targets.

It is difficult to protect these tender shoots from the marauding hordes. Fruit-laden guava trees also receive their special attention, where more than one-third of the fruits are destroyed.

It seems an alarming rise in the pollution level due to extensive use of highly toxic pesticides and chemical fertilisers in the countryside has destroyed their natural habitat and driven the sparrows to urban areas where they have become a nuisance.

It may be of interest to know that a few years ago the Chinese government had launched a special programme to eradicate their menace from their agricultural fields.

Dr SANTOKH SINGH, (Former Zoology Professor), Jalandhar City



Two-child norm

Your editorial “Two-child norm” (Jan 1) should work as a “red alert” for the Centre and the states to check the seemingly unstoppable population growth. The proposal to introduce the two-child norm for legislators and members of Parliament is certainly welcome, but things are not going to improve until we involve the public in general at all levels. It is here that the media (both print and electronic) can play a very positive and effective role.

Though the craving for a son is deep-rooted in our country, the media can help remove this prejudice. For instance, on the occasion of Rakhi festival (which generates the need of a brother in the family), the media can help change the nature of this festival by propagating the tying of Rakhi to a sister, father or friend. At the same time, the achievements by girls in various fields be properly and adequately highlighted.

The Kerala example has proved that the effective rise in literacy rate will make people understand that population stabilisation is a must to stop the neutralisation of the development made by the country in various fields. The dream of the country to get transformed from a developing to a developed country can only be materialised if we follow the Chinese example of one-child norm.

Y.P. MAKKER, DAV College, Malout

Instant divorce

Apropos of your editorial “Speared wedding!” about the instant marriage and instant divorce by pop singer Britney Spears (Jan 9), even in Muslims’ Muta marriage, which is permissible for a contractual and brief period according to the Muslim Personal Law, is not outdated. In this age, marriages are soon going to be celebrated by divorcing immediately after tying the knot.


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