Need to protect HP’s fragile ecology

Citizens of India do have the right of choice of buying land and settle in any part of the country even though the state governments can impose reasonable restrictions on the sale/purchase of land and construction activity.

The Kashmir valley continues to be the paradise on earth because its natural beauty and ecology cannot be tampered with by unchecked construction activity as in Himachal Pradesh. The latter’s liberal policy on allowing non-Himachalis to buy land for houses has depleted the greenery on hill tops and disturbed the fragile ecology, particularly in Kangra and Solan districts.

Ban on buying land is not the solution. The real solution lies in periodic review of the existing policy in regulating the construction activity, aggressive detection and acquisition of the benami properties and checking the sale and purchase of land by benami defaulters.

Lt-Col JIWAN SHAROTRI (retd), Kasauli (HP)



Bane of UP varsities

Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V. Rajeshwar has sacked six Vice-Chancellors recently. This should serve as a warning to those who foist corrupt and incompetent VCs on the universities. The decision to seek criminal prosecution of such VCs is indeed laudable.

The VCs hold the key to the future of nearly 10 million students of 330 universities. With such disgraceful persons as VCs, it is not surprising that standards of higher education have fallen exponentially.

Today, several universities are run on ad hoc basis by mediocre VCs. Neither such VCs nor the universities evince interest in R&D required for national progress. This rot can stop, at least partly, if the Centre implements the recommendations of the Kothari Commission on the selection of VCs and remove higher education from the Concurrent List.

Dr S.S. BHATTI, Amritsar

Promoting the use of bicycles

Nowadays personal conveyance has become essential for the bare existence of anyone and everyone. The need for and the pressure on automobiles are naturally increasing day by day. As a result, the consumption of petroleum products has been going up despite a steep rise in their retail prices.

The intensity of vehicular movement has also been increasing tremendously. Frequent traffic hold-ups have become the order of the day. Lack of space for the parking of automobiles is yet another natural outcome. A manually-propelled bicycle is, therefore, an ideal mode of personal transport as pointed out by Syed Nooruzzaman in his middle, “Cycle of reason” (Sept 27). This vehicle needs no petrol and makes no insatiable demand on the cost of maintenance or on space for parking.

It is good that the people’s attention has been drawn towards the bicycle. Its use for personal conveyance is, however, going out of fashion. That needs a lot of education and persuasion at various levels.

The state can play a very effective role in this regard. The regular users of bicycle can be offered certain incentives for promoting this environment-friendly mode of personal conveyance.

K.L. NOATAY, Shimla

Too many accidents

Around two lakh persons die in road accidents every year. Of these, one lakh deaths could be avoided if certain measures are taken by the Centre and the states. Ban on the sale of liquor close to the highways and checking light pollution on the roads will greatly help.

Most roads are bad. Their quality needs to be improved. The Traffic Police should inculcate road sense among the people. Corruption among various road traffic regulators must be checked. The production and sale of spurious automobile spare parts should be controlled. All types of encroachments on the roads should be removed.

Other measures include checking overloading of passengers and goods, curbing the use of cell phones and music systems, and strict punishment for traffic violations to act as deterrent.

R.P. RAMMOHAN, Hyderabad

Quota for rural areas

This is regarding the Haryana government’s policy of reservation for rural areas in the selection of school teachers. This is unconstitutional and it won’t stand the test of legal scrutiny. Secondly, the terms and conditions of determining a candidate’s rural background are not judicious.

In the absence of senior secondary schools in villages, many students of rural areas have passed Class X examination from urban schools and colleges. They may challenge the provisions in the court. Giving benefit to rural areas shows that there are no qualified people in towns and cities. The decision, far from helping anyone, will cause undue delay in the appointment of teachers.


Bhakra’s importance

The role of Bhakra and other multipurpose projects in the country’s economic development cannot be overlooked. Big projects and small water harvesting structures have their own importance.

However, the micro watershed projects being implemented under various programmes and foreign funded projects through the Ministry of Environment and Forests for last three decades have had no visible impact. Despite spending billions, we could create total capacity to store only 30 per cent of the rainwater and 70 per cent still goes waste or flows into the sea.

Except some success stories under the leadership of persons like Anna Saheb Hazare, Rajendra Singh, Hardev Singh Jadeja or Sukhomari, funds are going down the drain. The Bhakra helps millions. It is due to Bhakra that the parched lands of Haryana and Rajasthan are getting irrigated.


Delhi shows the way

The ordinary middle class citizens of New Delhi forced the government to withdraw the 10 per cent unreasonable hike in power tariff. How did they do so? By following the Gandhian way of civil disobedience and not paying the 10 per cent hike. As they kept the politicians at bay, they could not hijack this people’s movement.

The people of Chandigarh should take the cue from Delhi-ites and refuse to pay the unjustified parking fee imposed by the Corporation. Why should we pay this? What has the Corporation given us in return?

P.B. SHYAM, Chandigarh

Onions for Diwali

Onions have suddenly become costlier. The prices are skyrocketing day by day with no scope for immediate improvement despite imports from Pakistan.

As Diwali is knocking at our doorsteps, what is the best gift one could present to his/her friends and relatives? The answer is obvious — A bag of onions!



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