Punjab scheme a boon for law-breakers

AS opposed to the recent directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for removing encroachments in the Ludhiana city area, the Punjab Chief Minister’s recent “One-time settlement” scheme for compounding violations of building bylaws is a boon for the law-breakers.

The salient objections are as follows: One, the violations are possible only in connivance with the civic officials who strike deals with the offenders. Two, the decision amounts to punishing the law-abiding people and protecting the law-breakers. Three, the policy of leniency to law-breakers militates against the government’s drive against graft. Four, condoning violations may become a repeat feature with the next ruling party. Five, the real sufferers are the inhabitants of the adjoining houses who are affected by illegal constructions. And six, it would affect the well laid-out architecture of residential colonies and the urban landscape.




The Chief Minister should compel the law-breakers to follow the law of the land. The judiciary should also play a role by putting the fear of the law into the minds of the offenders. The public must respect the building bylaws. And the NGOs/local welfare societies should step in to render the requisite help to achieve the objective.

By keeping intact the sanctity of the building bylaws, it would be possible to transform this mega city and other towns of the state into forward-looking cities with well laid-out architecture of each and every residential colony.


Students vs teachers

A teacher is supposed to play a constructive role in society. But the children, who are the building blocks of society, are treated harshly. The result is the adverse effect on their personality. The misbehaviour of the teacher leaves a permanent scar on their unshaped minds. Their mental growth is hampered. And how can we imagine building skyscrapers out of these weak building blocks?

This is not to suggest that the students should not improve their behaviour and conduct. They themselves should not provide a cause to the teacher for the latter’s misbehaviour. In any case, punishing the student physically is not the solution to the problem.


Twinkling, not shining

THE India Shining campaign in all the newspapers and television channels should not be seen as alien as the ruling NDA government has every right to tell the people about its achievements.

The NDA government, through its advertisements, has been projecting new investments in telecommunications, television, construction and information technology, but most people don’t have basic amenities. Good food, healthcare and education are still a distant dream for most rural people.

As these facilities are still needed in a big way, the government cannot claim that India is shining brightly. Maybe, India has started to twinkle. But if the government wants to enlighten the lives of the people, twinkling alone will not help. If an honest attempt is made to tackle these basic problems on priority, it will definitely help India shine better in the future.



Retirement age

The Punjab government should not raise the age of retirement from 58 to 60 years. It would be eminently sensible for the government to maintain the status quo ante or even consider reducing the present age of retirement by two years. This would help the government absorb thousands of unemployed youth.

GURUDEV SINGH JAIN, Bartana (Zirakpur)

Onus on ASI

Historical monuments are a part of our national heritage as they speak a lot about our past glory. But the failure of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to maintain them properly is a cause for concern. I am pained to read reports that the tourists vandalise these monuments by sketching obscene and indecent figures on the walls. Warning boards have been put up. But most tourists are left unchecked due to the shortage of staff who are in no position to keep round-the-clock vigil. The media should play an important role in spreading general awareness among the people regarding these precious monuments.


Killing the innocent

The occupation of Iraq by the Americans, rightly or wrongly, has become a fait accompli. It is, therefore, sad to hear about the killing of many Iraqis daily. The neighbouring Muslim countries should rise to the occasion and stop killings by paving the way for an early settlement of the problem. As for the American troops, they should quit once the UN forces take full control of the situation.

Capt O. MATHAI (retd), Thiruvananthapuram


If deposed Iraq President Saddam Hussein was telling the truth that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, did US President George Bush lie to make a case for going to war and why? What answer would the US and the UK have for France and Russia on the latter’s pre-war stand in the UN against any attack on Iraq? How would the US and the UK deal with Saddam Hussein who had been dethroned and whose country stands destroyed merely on suspicion?

Under the circumstances, Mr Bush and Mr Tony Blair should be prosecuted for violation of international law and undermining the sovereignty of a nation.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali

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