Airport ritual: PM should keep his word

The editorial "Lining up for PM" (July 30) rightly appreciates Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's instructions to his ministers not to see him off or welcome him at the airport whenever he goes abroad. It is good that Dr Manmohan Singh has put an end to this meaningless ritual.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi turning up at the Safdarjung airport the other day on the ground that this was Dr Singh's first foreign visit as Prime Minister is understandable. However, this should not degenerate into a regular practice. In fact, the editorial clearly mentioned the fact that similar instructions by former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao were violated by their ministers and top officers.

I expect Dr Manmohan Singh to keep his word. Actions should speak louder than words and actions without proper and sincere direction are of little value.

Dr U.S. BANSAL, Former CMO, (UT Administration), Chandigarh





If the country has at last got a Prime Minister who does not believe in sycophancy and exhibitionism, in Dr Manmohan Singh, he should be allowed to implement what he feels best. His directive to his ministers to put an end to the airport ritual lost its purpose when Mrs Sonia Gandhi herself and others saw him off at Safdarjung airport on July 30.

Perhaps what Mrs Sonia Gandhi fails to understand is that the Prime Minister's directive was not only aimed at avoiding traffic snarls and public inconvenience but also wastage of precious time and energy. More important, it was intended to help ministers concentrate on work. Clearly, a progressive and scholarly Prime Minister like Dr Manmohan Singh needs the support of his ministers and party leaders to implement what he strongly feels.



Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a new example on the eve of his three-day visit to Thailand. His fiat to ministers not to take the trouble of seeing him off or receiving him at the airport should be followed in letter and spirit.

Unfortunately, all the former Prime Ministers - from Jawaharlal Nehru to Atal Bihari Vajpayee - encouraged hero worship and ultimately became victims of sycophancy. They encouraged their colleagues to bow before them whenever they went abroad. The presence of so many ministers at the airport whenever the Prime Minister or the President goes on an official tour reminds one of our slavish mentality. This avoidable ritual has also resulted in traffic snarls and inconvenience to Delhi-ites. Dr Manmohan Singh, in spite of his limitations, has taken the right decision for which I congratulate him. I also expect President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to follow suit.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Row over SYL

The law passed by the Punjab Assembly nullifies all agreements and decisions regarding the water of three eastern rivers including the January 1955 decision. It asserts that according to the riparian law, water of the three rivers is the sole property of Punjab. By implication, this law holds that the water that Haryana and Rajasthan get at present without any right belongs to Punjab.

Haryana and Rajasthan, as self-respecting states, do not want water on which they have no right. The conclusion that emerges from this premise is that Punjab should stop releasing water of these rivers, by closing the gates at the head works. For saving Haryana and Rajasthan from being flooded by Punjab's flood water, the Punjab Chief Minister should order villagers on the border with the areas of Rajasthan and Haryana to construct barriers so that no water escapes to Haryana and Rajasthan.

The people of Haryana and Rajasthan do not want water to enter their territories if they have no right. Being the sole proprietor of the water of three rivers, Punjab should keep all the water in its territory. This being the only outcome of the implementation of the law, Punjab's farmers should think about their fate. Nearly 20 per cent of their area is already waterlogged and water of three rivers will drown the villages of Punjab while the farmers will have no land left for cultivation.

If the people still worship Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh, they have to face the consequences. If drowned, Mr Badal will go to his 5-star hotel in Gurgaon, Haryana, which he has constructed with Punjab’s money. Capt Amarinder Singh also has property outside Punjab. Finally, farmers and all others, who have no house outside Punjab, will suffer.

Prof. SHER SINGH, Former Union Minister of State for Defence, New Delhi

Saving the Bhoj Patra

During a recent visit to the wonderful Sangla Valley in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, while one was fascinated by the sheer beauty of the landscape, it was more appalling to observe that the precious Bhoj Patra, grown in abundance, is used as a fuel by the local people.

Perhaps the people do not know the real value of this Nature's precious benediction by not only wasting it, but also ruining the environment that may even send a shiver in the spine of some artists who know the real value of the same.

One had heard that before the origin of paper, all the ancient scriptures were written on this very Bhoj Patra, some of which are lasting to date. The tree grows tall and straight along the spurs. The bark is quite soft having many layers, which can be properly removed and separated to have different sizes of colourful sheets.

The village industry boards like the Khadi Gram Udyog should come forward to process the Bhoj Patra so that it is made available to only those who need it and deny those who burn it. To compensate the local people, the government should provide alternative fuel and other sources of income.

ANJU CHADHA, Panchkula


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