Time to remove regional imbalances

THE Tribune carried an analysis of Punjab districts according to their development indices. Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala and Ropar were categorised an advanced districts while Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar, Mansa, Bathinda and Sangrur wee listed as backward areas. Mansa was the most neglected one. No industrial, educational, business or development work is visible in this district.

In April, 1992, Mansa and Fatehgarh Sahib districts were carved out of Bathinda subdivision and Patiala district respectively. Muktsar, Moga and Nawanshahr got the district tag much later.

Generally, new districts are established for speedy development. After attaining the district status, Muktsar, Moga and Fatehgarh Sahib made rapid strides in infrastructure, education, industry, and health care. Mansa, however, has gone backward further. During the BJP-Akali regime (1997-2002), crores of rupees were pumped in for the development of Muktsar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts but not a pie for Mansa.

Sadly, no area can make progress without the patronage of political leaders. Muktsar and Fatehgarh Sahib had the support and patronage of Parkash Singh Badal and the late G.S. Tohra.

Unfortunately, Mansa has not produced any strong leader so far. Will the Amarinder Singh government help uplift this neglected district on priority?

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh



Save us from distress

THE Punjab government has approved the extension scheme of Longowal canal distributary covering Kubbe, Buggar, Bhure, Dhanaula and Lohakhera villages. This was to be made of brick floor i.e. lining of water course from milestone 87900 to 93900.

Work on this scheme started on December 8, 2001 at an estimated cost of Rs 30-32 lakh.

The total length of the canal distributary is 5,900 feet of which 3,600 has already been completed. The remaining work has been stopped following objection by some vested interests.

Though the Punjab and Haryana Court, in its order of Aug 14, 2002, has directed completion of the work, the Executive Engineer, Canal Department, Sangrur, has done little. We have met all the officers concerned but in vain. The Deputy Commissioner had promptly forwarded our application to him, but he has not yet complied with the orders.

We are facing problems as our land did not get water for over 12 years. We have a canal but we don’t get water. If the scheme is not completed early, our problems will increase. We appeal to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to help execute the scheme and save us from distress.

FARMERS of Kube, Buggar and Lohakhera villages, Sangrur district

Friend of trees

Roshni Johar’s call for protecting trees by refraining from exchange of greeting cards in the current season (Dec 23) is thought provoking. True, trees are indispensable for preserving the green cover on the earth. But for exchange of greetings, cards made out of wood pulp are equally a necessary evil.

Despite the communication revolution, the interactions have virtually frozen. The average man too is woe besotted. Only a few enlightened ones exchange welfare notes. We presume good wishes of our relatives even when not actually pronounced.

The western culture has brought about a healthy shift in our attitude to express our respect and love. Exchange of greeting cards once a year is part of that trend.

Many people consider exchange of cards as inane officiousness. But I send cards to my dear ones as my apology for being non-communicative for the rest of the year.

The point on protection of trees is appreciable. May be, we should go in for small cards. The paper products once used should not be burnt. The waste matter should be recycled instead. In addition to agriculture, we should plant in our land many more trees than what we actually fell.

K.L. NOATAY, New Delhi

Stamp duty hike

The Punjab government’s decision to increase stamp duty from 6 to 9 per cent on transfer of property could enhance the flow of black money to evade stamp duty. This could result in less revenue to the exchequer. As sources of such monetary transactions and profits (Capital Gains) thereof are governed by the provisions of the Income-Tax Act and are taxed between 20 and 30 per cent, people will avoid to pay heavy doses of taxes and stamp duties. The sale value of the immovable property is generally shown less than the market value in the sale deeds.

As stamp duty (State subject), Income Tax and Capital Gains (Centre subject) are inextricably interlinked, the Centre and the states, in close cooperation with each other, should amicably find out some solution to this problem.

C.R. JINDAL, Chandigarh

Public holidays

This has reference to the news-item “Punjab reduces public holidays in 2005 to 14” (Dec 30). The decision, belated though, is commendable. The general public was put to inconvenience on account of too many holidays. It would be worthwhile to stop the practice of allowing half-day holiday on the eve of Gurpurabs too as most government officials and employees hardly join nagar kirtans.

All the medical institutions should function on all days except on Sundays and three national holidays. The staff could avail themselves of 15 more days of casual leave in a year.

There is need to ensure punctuality, regular attendance and discipline in all the government offices. Occasional surprise checks serve no purpose. Instead, officers should undertake this job in a sustained manner. Habitual latecomers and unauthorised absentees should be sacked to improve the general work ethic.

Dr S.S. SOOCH, Jalandhar

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