It’s better to give money to panchayats

THIS refers to the editorial “Scrap MP’s scheme” (June 15). The National Advisory Council’s suggestion for devolution of funds to Panchayati Raj institutions by diverting money from the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme is welcome. It is only through democratic decentralisation, and not through schemes like the MPLADS, that we can strengthen PRIs.

The Eleventh Schedule (Article 243G) enlists 29 subjects for PRIs. The Eleventh Finance Commission classified these into core, welfare and agricultural categories. Drinking water, rural roads, rural electrification are some of the core functions whereas rural housing, poverty alleviation, women and child development are the welfare functions. Agriculture, village and cottage industries, fuel, fodder, markets and fairs are the agricultural and allied functions.

However, most panchayats do not have funds for development. Instead of wasting funds under schemes like the MPLADS, it would be eminently sensible to divert this money to panchayats.


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The MPLADS caters to the needs of a coterie around the MPs concerned instead of a large section of society. Justice E.S. Venkataramiah, a former Chief Justice of India, described the scheme as an assault on the Constitution”. According to him, “it enables sitting MPs to woo voters by using state funds, placing opponents at a disadvantage…It weakens accountability and facilitates corruption.”

Interestingly, the NDA government enhanced the amount of MPLADS from Rs one crore per to Rs 2 crore in December 1998. It suggests that all the parties are co-passengers of the same boat and, as everyone knows, more than 50 per cent money of the scheme was going back to MPs’ pockets. The scheme must be scrapped.

K. BARSAT, Sangrur

Watchdog needed

I refer to The Tribune’s reports on the Punjab State Human Rights Commission rescuing a woman social worker (May 31) and of a man who fell into a manhole seven years ago (April 14). The issue in question is the commission has failed to protect the citizens from the unjust actions of the law enforcing agencies.

Some times, the PSHRC has helped recalcitrant officials or powerful and influential persons. This amounts to violation of human rights and calls for suitable compensation to the complainant for the mental agony and harassment cause to him/her.

The PSHRC members should be made accountable for their acts of omission and commission. A supra-judicial and executive watchdog is needed to impose necessary checks and balances in the functioning of the members.


Karnal needs medical college

A government medical college is long overdue at Karnal. The late Mool Chand Jain, the then Finance Minister of Haryana, promised it in 1979. There has been no headway in this regard since then even though there is no medical college in the northern region of the state from Chandigarh to Rohtak-Delhi. For regional development, a medical college at Karnal has become necessary.

There is no land problem. The land vacated by the old district courts, old district jail and police lines is sufficient. The present Civil Hospital is also close to police lines and old kachery. If a medical college is sanctioned, it will create ample employment opportunities for the youth of the state, particularly of this industrially backward area.

R.D. KAMBOJ, Karnal


Moving report

We were deeply moved by The Tribune’s special report “Childhood ruined by effluents” (June 8). The same day the pollution department woke up and the district administration promised medical help to the children.

The officials should work for public good before reports appear in the newspapers. The case regarding the discharge of effluents is not an isolated one. Scores of manufacturing units are disposing waste, hazardous to human life. Even canals supplying drinking water are full of industrial refuse. The Pollution Board should book such erring units.

G.K.S. SIDHU, S.D. College, Barnala

Trains in Kangra

There is no end to the woes of those travelling by trains in the Kangra valley. The engines are so old-fashioned that they hardly run for 20 km and stop due to power failure. The result: trains are often late. The drivers are helpless.

I fail to understand why these trains are neglected. What is the use if one cannot reach his/her destination in time? The railway authorities should consider the difficulty of the people and improve the train services. The MPs of the region should prevail upon the Railway Minister to improve train services here.


Ban no solution

I refer to the letter suggesting a ban on the entrance tests and admission to various colleges based on the marks obtained in Class XII (June 15). This should not be the criterion because in Punjab we have ICSE, CBSE and Punjab Board.

As the setting of question papers and the marking system are altogether different in all the boards, how can two students be judged if both have appeared under different boards?

Instead we should stop the selling and buying of the entrance exam question paper. We should try to solve the problem and not find alternatives.

HARVEEN K. SEKHON, Malout (Muktsar)

BSNL poles

Thousands of BSNL telephone poles, which were in use prior to the laying of underground cables are creating problems for public.

They have become a traffic hazard as some of them have been dumped in the middle of the road, thereby causing fatal accidents.

As these poles have long become redundant, the authorities concerned seem to have forgotten about them. Why can’t these be auctioned? This will fetch the BSNL good money and also check accidents.

Capt JAGDEV SINGH (retd), Kathua (J&K)

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