India not yet ready for bullet trains

Suggestions have been offered now and then for introducing bullet trains in various high density corridors of the country. But these are neither feasible nor practicable. Recently, there was a proposal for a bullet train between Chandigarh and New Delhi. In The Tribune’s Internet poll, 87 per cent respondents hailed the proposal and replied in the affirmative. Most were, perhaps, not aware of the technical aspects and financial implications of the proposal.

Some time back, the then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar said that for running a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, it would cost Rs 20,000 crore or more, virtually with no returns, which a poor country like India cannot afford. This implies that the cost for a bullet train between Chandigarh and New Delhi would be over Rs 10,000 crore without any financial viability!

In addition, the project will involve the provision of steel fencing of the entire track, conversion of level crossings either under the rail or above the rail, ultra-modern signalling and communication facilities and so on.

Will such a luxury be justified for the benefit of a small section of society at the expense of the state exchequer? The answer is an emphatic No. India, as a whole, is not yet ready for bullet trains.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh



Worthless degrees

The editorial “Devalued degrees with no job prospects” (Oct 4) particularly reminds one of the fate of trained teachers.

Like engineering colleges, there is a mushrooming of B.Ed colleges too. But along with quantitative expansion, there is no qualitative progress in these colleges. The growth of B.Ed colleges seems to be haphazard and unplanned. Consequently, these colleges are producing jobless trained teachers.

Unemployment is increasing at an alarming rate. There is a need to give serious thought to the problem. The government should take firm steps to discourage unplanned growth of B.Ed colleges in different states, especially in Punjab.

MONA VIJ, Lecturer, Ramgarhia College of Education, Phagwara

PPSC lecturers

As many as 392 lecturers were selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission for Punjab’s government colleges in February-March, 2002. But later, the selections were cancelled. The cancellation order was challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The state government has failed to produce any specific reason/proof of irregularities committed in making the selections. In this situation, the Punjab government should withdraw the cancellation orders and issue appointment letters to the selected lecturers.

Incidentally, there has been no recruitment of lecturers for the past eight years. More than 750 posts of lecturer are lying vacant in Punjab’s government colleges.

Prof SANJEEV GHAI, Political Science Dept., DAV College, Hoshiarpur

Allowance for jobless

Unemployment of educated youth has become a very serious problem. After having completed their studies, young men and women have no where to go. This breeds frustration which, in its turn, leads to violence and crime.

Having spent a lot of money on the children’s education, parents expect them to be financially independent. Therefore, the educated unemployed should be given some kind of financial allowance.

ANUJ THAKUR, Nangal Township

Cellular jail

During a visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on an excursion recently, I availed myself of the opportunity to visit the cellular jail and see the room in which Veer Savarkar was imprisoned.

The room is twice barricaded with iron grills and double locks. Clearly, Veer Savarkar was considered very dangerous by the British regime.

Such was the extent of security in the jail, we were told, that even though both Savarkar brothers were lodged in the same jail, they were not aware of each other’s presence for years.

RAJESH KUMAR, Chandigarh

Ban paddy crop

The Punjab government should impose a blanket ban on sowing of paddy crop at least for three consecutive years for reviving the fast depleting water table and improving the power generation. It should encourage the plantation of pulses and other likewise crops which consume less water. By this, we can preserve the precious liquid gold.

The government should also educate the farmers to the effect that if there is no underground water left, generations to come will suffer.


What tourists think of us

The editorial “Nation without toilets” (Oct 7), while making an accurate analysis of the situation, missed an important point. As a major tourist destination, India attracts millions of tourists from all over the world throughout the year. It thus earns good foreign exchange and provides employment to many people.

During a visit to India, an American friend of mine was shocked to see men, women and children defecating in the open across the national highways and rail tracks. Wherever he went, he found toilets at all public places stinking. He said toilets were not so shabbily maintained in any other country. Incidentally, this was his first experience and he vowed not to visit India again.

It is common knowledge that the areas outside Delhi are used as open toilets by thousands of people day and night. Tourists to and from Delhi have difficult time in breathing whenever they pass through these areas. If no remedial measures are taken promptly, Indian tourism will suffer badly.



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