Streamline the Panchayati Raj system

I have been associated with the panchayat system for two years and have noticed many shortcomings. Claims about empowerment and improvement ring hollow. The system of grants is faulty and discriminatory. Those sarpanches who are pliable are the favourites for grants. Prejudice and bias are at work. Many villagers are still without grants after the elections for panchayats in 2003.

Documentation and accounting have been adversely affected. Panchayat lands have been illegally occupied, choking off resources. Discretionary fund or honorarium is not available for sundry expenditures, resulting in manipulation to generate funds.

To ensure a vibrant role for panchayats and for rural development, there is a need to streamline the system.

APAR SINGH GHUMAN, Khera Kotli, Dasuya

Dear readers

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— Editor-in-Chief


Rising school fees

Substandard teaching and poor facilities in government schools has forced middle class people to send their wards to so-called public schools. These schools charge huge fees. They continue to charge high fees from the same students on promotion to the next class.

If the government really intends to do something for the benefit of the common man, it should register all these schools and bring them under some code of conduct in respect of fees, dress code, books and curriculum, and the like.

P.C. CHOPRA, Sangrur

CT scan

Government Medical College, Amritsar, is one of the premier medical institutes of North India. MBBS and post-graduate courses are being conducted here.

Surprisingly, the Department of Radiology is without a functional CT scan machine for a long time. Poor patients are being made to pay more at private diagnostic centres.

Moreover, students are being denied the opportunity to learn CT scanning which is an integral part of the radiology curriculum. Thus, the college is churning out half-baked radiologists. I request the authorities to make the CT scan functional so that poor patients and students don’t suffer anymore.


No more commissions

Kickbacks are not paid against receipts. Politicians also ensure that none of their colleagues is punished for corruption. This leads to predictable verdicts of insufficient evidence and consequent acquittal. This has happened in all the cases in the past (Bofors, fodder scam, Tehelka, etc) and the findings of the inquiry into the Volcker report are going to be no different.

Hundreds of crores have been spent on inquiries in the past without a single conviction. Let there be a moratorium on constituting more commissions till the parameters are revised. Every politician becomes a crorepati in five years and spends crores on family functions; to declare such people honest puts a question mark on the functioning of the judicial system and adds insult to the taxpayers’ agony.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

High property prices

I would like to voice my concern at the unprecedented rise in the prices of property in Haryana. The prices of property — whether agriculture land, or commercial and domestic plots — have risen between 2 and 4 times in 2005. One does not know if this is a temporary or permanent phenomenon, and whether the prices will continue to rise.

One thing is certain — in the present scenario, one can buy a piece of property only by selling another piece. One cannot buy a piece of land with one’s regular earnings. It means that only those persons can buy properties who already own some. New aspirants cannot make it.


Sensitise society

This refers to a photograph of a blind woman taking part in a protest in New Delhi (Dec 1) against the Government’s neglect of the demands of blind people. The other day, I, along with volunteers from my college, went to a lepers’ home in our city and found the inmates angry with society for ignoring them.

I feel that every healthy person should be sensitized regarding the problems of these not-so-blessed step-sons and step-daughters of God. At the least, we should try to provide them better living conditions so that they are not forced to come to the streets showing their resentment against society in general and the government in particular.

SAPNA, Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur City 

Whose land?

This is with reference to media reports that the PSIEC is allotting land to TCS and Wipro at Mohali. PSIEC had floated a residential scheme for this land for which applications were invited from the public. My father was one of the applicants and a winner in the draw. Subsequently, the Government of Punjab issued a Notification to PSIEC that this residential scheme be cancelled.

We challenged this order in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and the Court ruled that this notification be put aside. Despite this fact, PSIEC is committing itself to allot this piece of land to the IT companies. I wonder if companies of this repute would like to enter into an agreement which has clearly betrayed the common man.

GAURAV KUMAR, Chandigarh


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