Centre must check rising cement prices

The Centre’s plan to focus on infrastructure development and housing during 2006-07 has triggered a steep rise in the prices of cement. Quality cement has suddenly become scarce. As five big players control 50 per cent of India’s cement market, the cement prices could see a further hike in the near future.

The cartel of cement companies is planning to cash in on the infrastructure boom and reap big profits. The international prices of cement are high. Despite reduction in custom duty on cement, its import may not look feasible because of high international prices and inadequate port facilities in India. Thus, from all angles, the local manufacturers find now the best time to reap a bumper harvest.

It is time the government took control of the situation. Otherwise, the common man will find it very difficult to buy cement. A cement bag may cost Rs 250 very soon though its cost should not exceed Rs 175 a bag. Government intervention would also help tackle the artificial shortage created by the cement suppliers.

JAGVIR GOYAL, Chandigarh

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Showing the right path

Unending reports appear daily regarding rapes, insult to seniors, abuse of parents, etc. I am reminded of the good olden days when youngsters were taught to respect the elders and perceive them as role models. The people, irrespective of caste, colour or creed, lived in fraternity.

Plato was aghast at the plight of Post-Pericles, Athen’s societal decadence, to pen The Republic, propounding the theory of basic “communism”. Anti-social elements need to be curbed and values instilled in the younger generation of today’s India, inebriated by materialism, hypocrisy and snobbishness. Wordsworth’s lines contain some solace in this scenario:

High instincts before which our mortal Nature, /Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised.

India needs sages like Swami Dayanand and Swami Vivekananda to show right direction to today’s erring youth. Further, parents and teachers should necessarily involve youngsters in constructive activities.

V.I.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar

POK for India

The only mantra India must chant to resolve the Kashmir dispute is, ‘Return Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) to India’. The United States, Pakistan and separatists should know that no solution to the Kashmir problem is possible unless POK, annexed by Pakistan, is returned to India and is rejoined with Jammu and Kashmir.

Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir with India in 1947 for the entire territory of Kashmir which included POK. India has a legally valid claim to POK which is a part of Kashmir ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh before Pakistan forcibly seized and annexed the part of Kashmir by sending tribal invaders into Kashmir to annexe the state by force.

Pakistan must be asked to vacate the 1947 aggression on Kashmir by gracefully returning POK to India so that POK and Jammu and Kashmir can be united and the Kashmir state can return to its original pre-1947 position.

Y. DAWAR, Hisar

Ayurveda medicines

Punjab Health Minister R.C. Dogra has stated in the State Assembly that medicines worth Rs 2.5 lakh were sent to 500-odd Ayurvedic dispensaries in the state during 2004-05. This implies that each dispensary received medicines worth Rs 1.37 per day. The position was no better earlier.

The state government has given a raw deal to Ayurveda. Those engaged in this profession should raise their voice against this injustice and demand a better deal for Ayurveda.


Question paper leak

Of late, question paper leaks have become too common. The latest is the cancellation of the Railway recruitment examination following question paper leak. It seems the authorities concerned have not learnt lessons from CAT and PMT paper leaks.

I offer the following suggestions to root out this menace. The government must set exemplary punishment for the culprits. There is need for a centralised examination system. If possible, entrance tests should be done away with. The printing of question papers should begin a few hours before the examination and emailed to the centres. There is need for a foolproof examination system.

SOURABH BAMBA, Ferozepore City

Relaxing the ban

Reports that the Himachal Pradesh government is going ahead with construction activity despite the ban on Shimla’s green belts (imposed by a committee headed by the Chief Secretary) are unfortunate.

Strangely, the government is trying to preserve the state’s heritage by painting the rooftops of the buildings red and green to continue the British legacy. However, it has overlooked the most important legacy in Shimla: the British had treated Shimla as their summer capital mainly to protect its ecology and environment. The people are entitled to know whether the government has taken adequate steps to protect the environment and ecology of Shimla and its surroundings.

Lt-Col JIWAN SHAROTRI (retd), Kasuali

No power supply

There is no power supply near Amar Tent House and surrounding areas in Gautam Colony, Shastri Nagar, Palampur, for a very long time. The authorities do not listen to the residents’ repeated complaints. If it is a fuse fault or transformer problem, why cannot the authorities rectify it and ensure uninterrupted power supply?



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