Nuclear power, Punjab’s best policy option

Apropos of the editorial “Powerless in Punjab” (Jan 22), the power situation in the state is going from bad to worse. This is shameful because for past many years we were not able to add even a single unit of power. Most power projects, though sanctioned, are scrapped either due to financial constraints or the lack of political will.

If power holds the key to development, we need to formulate a comprehensive strategy in this sector so that we are not left far behind other countries. All the ongoing power projects should be completed within a specific timeframe. There is need to look beyond the conventional methods of power generation including hydro and thermal power generation.

As it takes decades to construct hydro based power projects and thermal plants are not a viable option due to the rising transportation costs, the answer to the problem is to go in for nuclear power plants. In fact, the nuclear power is the best policy option to tackle the power crisis.

PREETINDER SINGH, Punjabi University, Patiala





The editorial rightly deplores the inefficiency and mismanagement of the Punjab State Electricity Board. We would not have faced this situation today had we taken timely steps. The problem is that our so-called politicians and bureaucrats do not have time to concentrate on work. The elected representatives and ministers are simply busy in blaming the previous governments for the present problems.

People cannot be fooled anymore with empty slogans of progress. Let our leaders read the writing on the wall and strive to resolve the power crisis.


Water crisis

Punjab has been facing water crisis because of scanty rainfall. As ground water is the major source of irrigation, its level is going down day by day. We need lot of water for paddy cultivation. In Punjab, instead of normal paddy-wheat rotation, farmers should be encouraged to grow other crops. The government should step in and formulate proper marketing strategies for other crops.

It is time all the tube wells were replaced by centrifugal pumps at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore. During the last paddy season, numerous centrifugal pumps remained dysfunctional. These need to be repaired. We should conserve water and avoid over-exploitation of water, manage floods and plant more and more trees.


Road to democracy

The elections in Iraq posed a tough test not only for the Iraqis but also for the Bush Administration. The polling day, January 30, was a day of courage and defiance against the insurgents in Iraq as a large number of voters turned out to vote in their nation’s first democratic elections in 50 years.

Clearly, the people have taught a lesson to the fundamentalists by refusing to be cowed down by their dictates. As they have made the elections a resounding success, they have many friends on their side as the United Nations and European Union have taken important decisions to protect and support their struggle for democracy. Though the road to democracy in Iraq is long, Iraqis are proving that they are equal to the challenge.

NAVNEE LIKHI, Chandigarh

Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla, whose death anniversary was observed recently, was a versatile personality who had devoted her whole life to work. She has become an inspiration and a role model for Indians studying astronomy. She was a brave Indian Astronaut who died in Columbia crash, but we have not done enough to perpetuate her memory. After her death, many politicians had promised to do something to make her immortal. But no concrete plan has been implemented as yet.


Why handcuff them?

Ticketless travel is an offence and passengers travelling without tickets in the trains need to be punished. There is no second opinion about it. I, however, do not see any reason for the authorities to get these passengers handcuffed and paraded in the trains as if they are hardcore criminals.

One should distinguish between habitual ticketless travellers and those who catch the train at the last minute without buying a ticket at the counter. Still, if they are willing to pay penalty to the ticket collector in accordance with the Railway Act on the spot, they should not be handcuffed and paraded in the trains. In this context, some reforms are also needed in the present system of camp courts conducted by the railway magistrates with a view to expediting justice.

Handcuffing a person, unless duly warranted, is a gross violation of human rights. The public humiliation one suffers is, certainly, avoidable. The Supreme Court has also time and again observed that people should not be handcuffed unless there are justifiable reasons to do so. The railway authorities would do well to scrupulously adhere to this salutary directive.

HARI CHAND SHANKER, Advocate, Ambala Cantonment


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