Punjab, Haryana should
have separate capitals

How long Chandigarh should continue to be the capital of both Punjab and Haryana? Isn't it time that both states have their own capitals?

Every state or country is known by its capital. For instance, Maharashtra is known by Mumbai, West Bengal by Kolkata, Britain by London and France by Paris. I fail to understand why Punjab and Haryana have no separate capitals since 1966. It is a disgrace to the people of Punjab and Haryana to have their states' capital in the rented accommodation of the Central Government.

To maintain the prosperity of the two states, both should have their own capitals. Since about one lakh of employees and pensioners of Punjab and Haryana have been residing in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, over Rs 500 crore have been pumped in the pockets of its employees and pensioners in the form of pay, pension and other monetary benefits. Funds are also spent on the consumer goods and capital goods annually which would otherwise have been spent in their states if only they had got their own capitals.

When the knotty problem of Kashmir is being resolved, why not the two sister states try to solve the problem of capital amicably? This would not only enhance the glory of the two states but also accelerate their respective economies.

ANTAR SINGH KOHLI, Accountant-General (retd) (Punjab), Chandigarh



Power tariff hike

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has violated the Congress party election manifesto by increasing the electricity tariff by 5 to 10 per cent. This is in sharp contrast to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Authority's recommendation for reduction of power tariff up to 12 per cent.

The government should not put extra burden on the consumers who pay more for poor services. There is corruption in the electricity department as no file moves without greasing the palms of the staff.

The power tariff has been hiked to compensate the Old Age Pension Scheme and Shagun Scheme. This defies logic. Old age and senior citizens, widows, physical handicapped, ex-servicemen and freedom fighters should be given 50 per cent concession on the bills or at least 200 units of power should be provided to them free of cost. When the government is ready to compensate the farmers, why not these deserving categories which are not engaged in any commercial activity?

Dr SHIV K. GUPTA, Ludhiana

What ails HPSEB?

The Himachal Pradesh government's plan to impose royalty on the HP State Electricity Board's projects is welcome as it would help enforce discipline and efficiency in the board. This drive can be further strengthened and help consumers if the government adopts the following measures. One, the government should allot the most economical hydro projects to the HPSEB such as the 60-100 MW Sorang unit in Kinnour district.

Two, the HPSEB should be compensated to the tune of Rs 300- 400 crore for forcing the unviable Larji project down its throat, purely for political reasons. Has Larji fulfilled the developmental aspirations of the Kulu and Mandi people?

Surely, it was taken up to earn brownie points for Ministers and MLAs. It is the most inefficient and expensive project executed by the board.

Three, the ministers and MLAs should not meddle with the affairs of the HPSEB including on issues like the recruitment of staff from peons to the Chairman. And finally, the government should stop spending the taxpayers' money on advertisements.


Power to the people

Apropos of J.L. Gupta's article "Empowered panchayats: But there is a little change in the villages" (Jan 12), it has become a fashion to criticise the panchayats. Conferring legal status through a constitutional amendment does not mean empowerment. Sincere and dedicated efforts are needed to strengthen them.

The bureaucracy at all levels has not allowed the panchayats to function independently. They cannot be expected to deliver in the spirit of Article 243 (g) - to prepare the plans and implement schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to the matters listed in the XI Schedule without capacity building and the freedom to perform. We should build the capacity of elected representatives at the grassroot level so that they plan for rural uplift.

Examples galore, elected sarpanches, even women and SCs, have shown impressive results. The bureaucracy and the politicians should shun their inhibition, change their mindset and develop the panchayats. Capacity building through training the staff is a must. Panchayats can help tackle poverty, sanitation and drinking water problems with cost effective methods. Let us stop blaming panchayats for no fault of theirs.

PURAN SINGH, Nilokheri (Karnal)

Memorial to Partition

I appreciate the idea of having a memorial to Partition as suggested by Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd) in his article (Jan 3). Three years back, I proposed to Mr Jagmohan, the then Union Minister for Culture and Tourism and Urban Development, to formulate a plan for a museum in Delhi on Partition.

It is being observed that the entire record relating to Partition, including the newspaper reports, the films taken by various organisations and the photographs are being destroyed. People are even forgetting the names of their ancestor villages; they will even forget the fact that they have migrated from that country and are new settlers. This hoary past is to be fully remembered so that the idea of unity of two countries does not die.

I suggested that Panjab University, Chandigarh, or Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, should adopt this, work for the collection of the material and may make one of their buildings available for this purpose. The generation born before 1947 is fast fading out. So it is time we collected maximum material and recorded the names of those who died during the riots erupted at the time of Partition.

TARLOCHAN SINGH, MP and Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, New Delhi


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