Allow Punjab officers to work fairly

Ever since Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo took over as Punjab Congress Pradesh Committee president, he and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh have been harping that bureaucrats should show respect to the visiting Congress workers and legislators. Bureaucrats are public servants, common to all and equally accessible to all citizens, irrespective of their political affiliations.

Left to their discretion, they will discharge their duties in all fairness. Agreed that the quality of services today may not measure up to the past because of the socio-political adulteration of the country’s environment. Nepotism is rampant. The recruiting agencies are functioning like commercial shops. Merit is not recognised and at every level of the career, corruption has been legalised.

So, the Congress stalwarts of Punjab should not flog the exhausted bureaucratic horse any further and rob the same of any remaining vestige of semblance, fair play and independence.

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


Greed for dowry must go

The declining sex ratio in Punjab and Haryana is alarming. Of the country’s 10 top districts, three are from Haryana where sex ratio is fast declining. According to a 2001 survey, child sex ratio has dropped to 819. Prompt remedial measures are needed. Haryana has taken some laudable steps, but a lot more needs to be done.

As dowry is the root cause of the declining sex ratio, the Centre should formulate a policy making it mandatory for the bride’s party to go to the groom’s place for marriage; all expenses on marriage and dowry shall be borne by the groom’s party.

The groom’s greed for dowry must go. In response to an advertisement for my marriage, my father received 53 proposals and everyone was eager to know my present salary. Even an ordinary clerk expects at least a Maruti 800 car as dowry. Well-placed boys demand a luxury car. And after marriage, there is a long list of formalities; there is no end to their expectations. I am an MBA and working as a marketing executive in a reputed firm. Where we are going from here?


Milk adulteration

This has reference to Gurbhagwant Singh Kahlon’s article “Why milk adulteration?” (Sept 6). Adding water to milk to enhance its quantity is so common in India that the people have learnt to live with it. Some unscrupulous elements have come up with the synthetic milk containing poisonous ingredients like caustic soda, urea and emulsified oils.

Low production is not the only reason for milk adulteration. Greed to earn more money with the same quantity of milk by producers and vendors alike is the major reason leading to milk adulteration. There is virtually no check or monitoring of the milk sold to the general public.

Government agencies are adding preservatives to milk to increase its shelf life. As preservatives are chemicals, there is no substitute for the celestial fresh milk. The government must encourage the production and supply of fresh milk in huge quantities.

KARNAIL SINGH, Sunny Enclave, Kharar

Kangra tea gardens

This refers to the news-item “Kangra tea industry facing crisis” (Aug 9). It is sad to see the state of Kangra tea gardens today. This industry is one of the oldest in Himachal Pradesh.

Though Kangra is well known for its famous Kangra School of Paintings and the earthquake of 1905, today it is more identified with its lush green tea gardens. Besides, the Palam Valley and its tea gardens are main sources of attraction for the tourists. Hence the tea gardens must be protected at any cost.

Prof PARVEEN RANA, Hoshiarpur

Cable operators

Some unauthorised cable operators in Jalandhar charge exorbitant monthly rates from the consumers and do not issue receipts. One such network in Rail Vihar charges Rs 1,000 for an exclusive connection with a booster. After payment, the operators do not keep their promise. Nor do they issue receipts. They have duped over 200 consumers.

Will the authorities direct the operators to behave? They evade taxes and try to avoid action under the Consumer Protection Act.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

Retrograde step

This has reference to R.S. Bhatia’s letter (Sept 7). This retrograde step has also been enforced in Himachal Pradesh which is comparatively a poorer state. The reason given for this step — large number of deaths — is wrong. Death is an uncontrollable natural phenomenon. Moreover, no one normally would like to die. If the family loses the only breadwinner, besides being a mental shock, it shatters the economy of the family and invites liabilities. The principles of natural justice demand review of the rule and provision of a job, especially in a welfare state.


Not executive heads

This refers to the news-item, “Punjab MLAs complain of shabby treatment” (Sept 8). It would be better if MLAs, of the ruling party or the Opposition, leave the executive to function in accordance with the law. What do they mean by saying “their writ does not run”? They are not rulers or dictators whose writ should run. At best, they are watchdogs of their constituencies.

Any shortcomings of the executive should be brought to the notice of the minister concerned. MLAs’ interference in the day-to-day administration will lead to chaos. So they must maintain the dignity of their office and not interfere.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd) Mohali


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