Ex-servicemen on single platform

Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab, has suggested that the ex-servicemen should first resolve their differences amongst themselves and come on a single platform for a new course to be charted to address their issues. It is a laudable suggestion which merits serious consideration.

However, getting together disparate ex-servicemen on a common platform is easier said than accomplished! Some of us who have been spearheading this movement for over three decades know too well how difficult it is to realise this objective.

The ex-servicemen can broadly be grouped into three categories: (a) those who are politically motivated, (b) disgruntled elements disowned by their community for their opportunistic and unbecoming conduct and (c) the disinterested lot that remains inactive knowing that they would also receive benefits accruing from the struggle of their agitating brethren.

It is the politically motivated class which is most divisive. Self-seeking and unethical, they hobnob with politicians, trying to boost their vote banks by luring naïve ex-servicemen to join political parties. There are party-funded ex-servicemen’s cells manned by influential ex-servicemen, which are supposed to promote this fraternity’s welfare, but secretly they play the “war game” to outmaneuvers rival groups!



The ex-servicemen association (HP) has proposed the formation of a parliamentary pressure group of like-minded MPs, especially those representing constituencies with large segments of ex-servicemen, to pursue their demands in Parliament. Hopefully, this endeavour would achieve the desired result.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Malanger, Una

Kamalpur’s ‘kamal’

The panchayat of Kamalpur deserves praise for showing that things can be improved if the will is there. The first thing that is required for such a change is harmony within the village, which most of the villages do not have, and Kamalpur seems to be having it in plenty.

Everyone must rise above caste-based and political divides for general uplift of the village. The departments of rural development, healthcare and NGOs working in this field should contribute their bit in developing villages.

Other villages in the state should be encouraged to follow suit. Panchayat members from all over the region should be taken in batches to Kamalpur and educated by a direct interaction with the residents and panchayat there. Apart from providing as a guiding light to other villages, it will encourage the Kamalpur people to do even more. The good job done by the village must be appreciated and suitably rewarded.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Pious land-grabbers

While the Himachal government seems to be serious about unauthorised construction, deforestation, environmental degradation etc., the flagrant encroachment of prime public land in and around Shimla by “pious” land-grabbers has escaped its notice.

The modus operandi of these pious sinners is simple: a bunting is pegged one day and a mini temple is created the next day, which develops into a regular pucca structure soon.

Such encroachment of the prime public land is done just under the very nose of the government at Knoll’s Wood, not far away from the HP Secretariat, near Kamala Nehru Hospital just below the C.M’s official residence, near the lift, in Sanjauli and at several other places along the Card Road and elsewhere for any one to see, but for none to bother about.

Roadside shrines are mushrooming unchecked. Should one believe that an encroachment is a crime for common people, but the gods’ influential mortal agents are free to do it?

Dr O.C. HANDA, Shmila

Official apathy

Apropos of the news-item “Official laxity makes thousands go without salary” (Nov 3), the Group Insurance Scheme has not been implemented in letter and spirit in any department in the state. The officials are not even aware of the fact that registers should be maintained under the scheme and that the Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs), while signing the pay bills, should also attest the entries in the ledger and broadsheet simultaneously.

Since the directives are ignored with impunity, the deductions made every month from the salary of the employees are not regularly posted in the ledger. What to speak of the officials, accountants officiating as DDOs, are ignorant of the main features of the Punjab Employees Group Insurance Scheme, 1982.

The annual statement is never sent to subscribers by March 31 every year. Similarly, though the recoveries effected late demand interest, no interest is charged by DDOs. The accounts are to be tallied every three months with the treasury but DDOs show no interest in the reconciliation of accounts. There are no entries in the service books of the employees showing their membership under the scheme and the year of their acquiring higher group.

B.R. PREENJA, PES (retd), Amritsar

A bad road

A few days ago I had a chance to travel from Jalandhar to Sangrur after a gap of about one year. The condition of the road from Ludhiana to Sangrur is so bad that if one travels once, one would not like to travel on this road a second time. There are potholes all over. This causes huge losses to buses and other vehicles. More than 1,000 buses, trucks and cars ply on the road every day. I request Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, the minister in charge of roads, to travel at least once on this road to see its plight.


Taxpayers harassed

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has to reapprise certain policies designed to widen the tax base and mop up additional resources, particularly through the enlarged gamut of service tax. The collection of small amounts of taxes spread over a wide area through an inefficient bureaucratic setup, as it exists today, acts as a deterrent to economic activities and amounts to harassment of people already burdened with increasing misgovernance.

O.N. BHARGAVA, Rae Bareli


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