Questions on power sector reforms

IS the Punjab government’s plan to unbundle the PSEB into six companies a viable solution to the consumers’ problems? If yes, the consumers will surely welcome it as they are fed up with the long queues outside the PSEB’s offices, red tape and unscheduled power cuts.

The main purpose of reforms should be the supply of reliable, qualitative and inexpensive power to the consumers. Only when the Electricity Act, 2003, which came into force in June 2003, is implemented on the ground, one can know its merits and demerits. In this regard, the experience of other states where the Electricity Act has been implemented in accordance with the World Bank model needs to be studied.

States like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan where unbundling/ privatisation had been undertaken, are paying huge subsidies and the performance parametres of various corporations/ companies in these states are still no match for the PSEB. The people of Punjab want reforms in the working of the PSEB to get cheaper and uninterrupted power, specially in the rural and industrial sector.



The success of reforms in the telecom and civil aviation sectors was possible because these were commercial organisations. The success of reforms in the power sector is doubtful because electricity is an economic, commercial, social and political good rolled into one.

V. K. GUPTA, Ropar

Raw deal for Army

Apropos of Girja Shankar Kaura’s column ‘Defence Notes’ under the caption “Saluting the rising sun” (Jan 5), may I point out that the rising sun phenomena is applicable to the highest office in any country? That is why, the saying lame duck president or the prime minister is commonly used for them in their last few months in office.

The shortage of officers in the Army can only be improved the day the government enhances the basic pay of the armed forces and delinks the Central government employees’ pay from the armed forces’ pay, as in most countries. This one step will eradicate the shortage of officers from the Army and others services of the armed forces as well, for the good of the nation.

The pay commission for the armed forces should comprise three members from the judiciary — a Supreme Court judge, a captain of the industry and an eminent citizen. Let them decide what should be the basic pay and allowances of the armed forces. The Ministry of Defence, the armed forces and the Finance Ministry could all make presentations to the commission, which must be binding on the government, keeping in view the state of the country’s finances.

Lt-Gen KAMALJIT SINGH (retd), Gurdaspur

Our great child martyrs

PUNJAB celebrated the 300th martyrdom of the two child martyrs, sons of the Tenth Sikh Guru, bricked alive at Sirhind. Punjab has proudly given birth to three child martyrs, scarified at the altar of bigotry. As one reaches near the shrine where they were bricked alive, the head of every true Hindu bows to them, they being the progeny of the great Gurus, defenders of the Hindu faith.

No less was the sacrifice of Veer Haqiqat Rai, the third child martyr, also a prey to the tyranny of the Mughals. The textbooks should prominently give space to their martyrdom which was truly in the spirit of the lines in Horatius by Macaulay.

Death cometh soon or late;

And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his father

And the temples of his gods.

V.I.K. SHARMA, IAS (retd), Jalandhar City


Correct opinion

Apropos of Kuldip Nayar’s article “Why say no to foreign aid: Pride does not lessen if tragedy is shared” (Jan 12), I aptly appreciate his opinion. India’s refusal to official donations from foreign states for tsunami victims was illogical. If we had accepted the assistance the rehabilitation would have been hastened.

Pakistan’s reaction was just limited to sympathetic talks. It should have donated generously to earn goodwill in the country. I am, however, in agreement with those at the helm of affairs. It is the will of the nation that makes the future. All difficulties could be surmounted by sheer strength of nation’s will.

As Lord Krishna rightly told Arjuna, “Oh Arjuna, Be not swayed by the illusionary power of fate or help. It is the will; the iron will that shall enable thee to smash through the forces of disappointment and dejections”.

SHIKHA PATHANIA, HMV College, Jalandhar City


The DAV organisation has always been at the forefront in extending generous help to the victims of national calamities. This time they have donated Rs 1 crore and 11 lakh to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for the tsunami vicitims.

The problem of rehabilitation of the survivors needs to be tackled on priority. With their vast network, the DAV organisation has the necessary infrastructure, manpower and resources to provide free education to the children of the victims, supply medicines and items of daily use.

N.K. GOSAIN, Bathinda

Onus on women

Women should blame themselves for most troubles and miseries in their lives. It is woman herself who gives consent to female foeticide. Most women can’t tolerate the success of their fellow friends. Even dowry is given with a woman’s consent. Women also silently suffer harassment by their in-laws.

In cases of rape, girls are afraid of speaking out, fearing social stigma. They do not realise that this gives the rapists more opportunities to commit such crimes. Most problems can be resolved if women come forward and raise their voice against the injustices and indignities being heaped on them in the male-dominated society.

TARANBIR KAUR, Advocate, District Courts, Amritsar

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