Debate needed on map publication

I agree largely with Professor Arun D. Ahluwalia’s article “Parechu disaster waiting to happen” (April 19). The last paragraph, which deals with archaic and obsolete colonial restrictions on map publication, needs to be debated by Parliament. A large portion of topographical maps of India is still not available even to its citizens. Then there are websites offering digitalised form of the same for a few dollars. Those of the scale of 1:250,000 are available free of cost for anyone to download.
What are we protecting and from whom, is a big question. Especially in an age where private international mapping firms are producing satellite-based geo-reference maps, far ahead in terms of latest information and accuracy as compared to the conventional topographical survey sheets, some of which are based on the 1964 data and still remain classified.

There is little doubt in the statement that to meet their strategic needs, the
foreign governments may not be relying even on the hi-tech maps produced by such private companies. They might be in possession of the ones they produced themselves using the best possible resources. Then where do our so-called classified (from the ordinary citizens, I suppose) maps stand?


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State of education

Standards are falling in government schools. Fund crunch is one of the problems. The Punjab government’s decision to introduce computer education has been widely welcomed, but it has burdened the poor. The Education department has directed all the heads/principals not to collect PTA funds from government school students. This fund used to be spent on electricity, telephone, stationary and for other minor expenditure. Official should check malpractices.

S.S. MALHI and D.K. VERMA, Batala

Incomplete road

The Barbadar-Karot road, linked to Hamirpur-Sujanpur state highway, was approved some 20 years back. However, work on this road is incomplete. Buses don’t ply and people of nearby villages are facing hardship. The Himachal Pradesh government and the Hamirpur district authorities should intervene and get the road metalled on priority in public interest.

Prof PARVEEN RANA, Hoshiarpur

Road accidents in HP

ROAD accidents in Himachal Pradesh are rising at an alarming rate. The link roads which were constructed decades back are quite narrow with sharp curves which are difficult to negotiate. On these roads, one can drive only at the maximum speed of 15 to 20 km per hour.

The new vehicles catch high speed in a few seconds. Besides every one is in a hurry. In the process, these roads are proving to be a death trap. The government should take immediate steps to broaden these roads and ensure road safety.

DEEPIKA SHARMA, Drubbal (Mandi)


Quota must go

Politicians including Ms Mayawati are demanding quota for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the private sector with a view to strengthening their vote banks. In the age of globalisation, do we expect MNCs and others to ignore merit in recruitment and reserve posts for backward classes? This quota system must go in both public and private sector and merit alone should prevail.


Neglected spots

During a visit to Dalhousie, I was pained to see the neglect of beautiful places like Subhash Baoli. Here Netaji used to walk and drink water from a natural spring and gained health. The scenic beauty of this spot is marred by the poor upkeep.

About Khajiar, the less said the better. Though it is called India’s Switzerland, it is not being maintained properly. The Khajiar lake is full of weed and slush. The entry point to the restaurants is full of filth. The leftovers of the tourists are an eyesore. The authorities should develop such places as good tourist spots.

S. GARG, Bathinda

Retirement age

Punjab usually leads the country in every field of development and employee-friendly policies regarding dearness allowance etc. Now it should follow Bihar and extend the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 60 years. Rajasthan, the neighbouring state, has already done this. Punjab should follow suit.

S.K. MITTAL, Beas Dam

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