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Freebies amid power crisis ridiculous

The power situation in Punjab is grim. The rural Punjab suffers virtual black outs particularly during the summer when the paddy plantation is in progress. Towns and cities face longer cuts. The industry is also suffering due to power shortage.

Power worth crores is bought from states as far as Kerala to ease the situation. Yet, the state government wants to give free electricity to farmers. When there is acute power shortage in Punjab, how can the farmers be given free power? The populist measure is aimed at garnering votes. The move is sure to be counter-productive.

The people of rural Punjab donít ask for free power but they demand full and uninterrupted supply so that the crops donít suffer for want of timely irrigation. Dams are full, thermal plants are okay, but power deficit remains. Why? Power theft is the major reason for power shortage. Misuse of power by the government departments needs to be checked.

KARNAIL SINGH, Sunny Enclave (Kharar)

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

II

While announcing energy bonus of Rs 1800 every six months for small farmers at Hoshiarpur, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has rightly observed that the landholdings are shrinking and the prices of agricultural inputs are increasing. The concessions announced for the dalits and poor farmers, even if small, will mitigate their burden to some extent.

However, the so-called energy bonus should have been paid directly to the Punjab State Electricity Board. Now the farmers will waste time and energy to first pay the power bills, and then for getting the bonus released. They will also be harassed and fleeced by the officials. Ultimately, this will negate the whole purpose behind the bonus.

ARIDAMAN SINGH JHUBAL, Chandigarh

III

The Punjab governmentís decision of exempting farmers owning less than five acres of land from paying power bills is laudable. This will provide the much-needed succour to the large number of small-time peasants having no alternative means of occupation and farming no longer being a remunerative vocation. However, paying first and then claiming reimbursement is riddled with inherent faults and warrants a review.

Major BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantonment

Alternative dispute redressal

People are losing faith in the judiciary because of the long delays and the prohibitive cost of litigation. Alternative dispute resolution is said to be an answer to cut delays and expedite justice.

Bad governance is the major reason for the increasing number of cases in the courts. People bring to light the misconduct of officials and corrupt practices in various departments. Therefore, ensuring transparency in the government work and improving governance are a must to reduce the huge backlog of cases.

The working of subordinate courts must improve. The public servants who try to cover up their loopholes and help the offenders should be brought to book. The people should keep a watch on lawyers who keep on prolonging the cases to charge substantive fee from hapless clients.

The judiciary should not entertain pleas for adjournments. The vacancies in the posts of judges should be filled up. There is need for a monitoring body comprising retired judges and eminent citizens for enhancing the efficiency of the judiciary.

Dr GURKIRPAL SINGH, Ludhiana

Rising accidents

The increasing number of road accidents is cause for concern. Some of the glaring flaws in infrastructure planning can be rectified. For instance, at many†unmanned railway crossings,†the road level is higher than that of the railway track. The drivers of low powered or overloaded vehicles try to keep momentum by accelerating and thus donít get themselves a chance to see the oncoming train.

This anomaly can be rectified by raising the level of the road to that of the railway track, at least†a hundred yards ahead of†the crossing.

NAVTEJ GHUMMAN, Ferozepur

II

The government has not taken any measures to check callous bus, truck and car drivers. Last year, former DGP Punjab A.A. Siddiqui said that callous drivers would be booked under Section 304 IPC instead of Section 304-A. But little happened in this regard.

Section 304-A IPC should be made non-bailable and callous drivers should be tried by the Sessions Judge. The quantum of sentence should also be enhanced to 10 years depending on the severity of the accident.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali

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