Free power a heavy burden on Punjab

In his article “Going beyond free power” (Sept 20), Ranjit Singh Ghuman was perhaps swayed away by the Punjab government’s decision to provide free power to farmers. In an earlier decision, the same government reversed the Akali-BJP government’s decision to supply free power. However, keeping in view the ensuing Assembly elections, the government is now resorting to populist moves.

How does it matter who will foot the bill — the Punjab State Electricity Board or the government? In either case, it is the general public money that is used to finance free power to the farmers.

Such extravaganza should be tried only when there is surplus power generation in the state, that too, under a planned strategy for the welfare of the farmers and not as a political exigency.

Prof B.R. SOOD, Hoshiarpur




Over the years, the Punjab government has miserably failed in meeting the power requirement of the people. Disrupted supply with longer power cuts is a daily phenomenon now. People suffer silently. True, the demand has far exceeded the supply. Globalisation has opened up new vistas of production and has changed the Punjabis’ lifestyle.

However, despite expansion and diversification, Punjab’s industrial sector remains neglected, compared with the agriculture sector. The government wants the industrial sector to expand, grow and be more competitive, but it follows a discriminatory policy of power distribution.

The government gives free power to the farmers and yet, expects the industry and the domestic users to bear with power failures, cuts and shortages. When will the government see reason?



Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is trying to fool the public with his gimmicks. The law should be amended to the effect that if a Chief Minister misguides the people and wastes taxpayers’ money in populist schemes and false advertisements, he/she should be put behind bars.

Surprisingly, no one is questioning the Chief Minister’s actions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Shimla that electricity should not be supplied free of cost, but his own party leader in Punjab violates his fiat. More surprising, what are the NDA and the Shiromani Akali Dal doing to counter this fallacy?

K.K. BHARDWAJ, Patiala


I don’t know how Punjab’s Ministers are defending free power to farmers. This will adversely affect the state’s finances as it is not borne out of genuine concern for the farming community. The World Bank had been denying funds to the state on the ground that it should seriously follow the reform agenda. If the decision on free power has been taken in consultation with the World Bank, what will be its credibility?

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is not being taken seriously. Capt Amarinder Singh’s decision has not been denounced at the highest level. The silence is intriguing and is bound to send wrong signals.

The Prime Minister is sandwiched between the left and the right. Let us hope Dr Manmohan Singh will crack the whip.

Dr HIMAL CHAND, Chandigarh

Don’t ravage Chandigarh, please

CHANDIGARH now stands on the threshold of becoming another Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata, with the permission having been given to build apartments on the existing plots. Is that what Le Corbusier, the world famous architect, had envisaged?

What will happen to Corbusier’s unique concept of open spaces, positioning of the lake, view of the mountains, the lungs of the city, avenues of flowering trees, character of houses with gardens bursting with colours? I am afraid, trees would be cut to create extra parking spaces. Tankers would weave in and out of roads filling water tanks of people. Generators will pollute the air with noise enough to damage the hearing of people.

Having lived in Chandigarh for five decades, we are witness to water and power shortages, air pollution because of too many cars, gradual reduction of open spaces, traffic jams, parking woes etc. Can’t we stop ravaging Chandigarh further? Let us keep Chandigarh the way it has been these 50 years.


Tenure of judges

This has reference to K.N. Bhat’s article “Tenure of Chief Justice: Three years is the bare minimum” (Sept 24). Compared with the US, we had too many CJIs. While the US had 16 CJs in 250 years, we had about 35 CJIs in 60 years. Admittedly, a fixed tenure of three years for the CJI is a must for continuity.

Secondly, when IAS, IPS, Army and other officers are transferred to other states, why should the judges’ consent be taken before they are transferred? In principle, judges too should be transferred once in three years. And finally, Sessions/District Judges should be posted outside their home districts to ensure impartial justice.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


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