Pension scheme: states should
give their share

India is a welfare state whose overarching goal is to ensure political, social and economic justice to its citizens, particularly the weaker sections and old age pensioners. In pursuance of this goal, the Centre rightly increased its support to the monthly old age pension from Rs 75 to Rs 200.

Simultaneously, the Centre has urged the states to increase their share in the scheme and make it Rs 400 a month. However, most state governments are not inclined to raise their contribution under this scheme. Unfortunately, even an economically prosperous state like Punjab reduced its present contribution under the scheme. This will affect the interests of thousands of poor old age pensioners. If the state governments are against increasing their share, they should not reduce their present contribution to the pension scheme and pass this enhanced benefit to the real beneficiaries.


Dear readers

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed, upto 150 words, should be sent to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29 C, Chandigarh. Letters can also be emailed at the following address: letters@tribunemail.com

— Editor-in-Chief


Tackling the silt problem

Concerned by the extensive damage to turbines and other underwater parts of the Nathpa Jhakri Hydel Project units, the government has decided to reduce the annual generation target as also the limit of silt in water from 5000 parts per million (ppm) to 4000 ppm when generation should stop.

This would result in a loss of Rs 180 crore in revenue in spite of additional expenditure incurred by providing highly resistant coating on the parts getting corroded.

This raises some doubts in the minds of the engineers. Did some mistake occur while designing the “silt exclusion measures” of the above project? For the first time in the engineering history, the silt exclusion chamber has been designed to operate under pressure of flow, instead of free flow.

There is need for an in-depth study on this aspect so that engineers are careful while designing the silt exclusion chambers in future.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh

Neglect of cities

During a visit to Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan recently, I was shocked to see the neglect of most tourist cities. The roads are so narrow that the vehicles kick off dust and add to air pollution. The Tourism Department and Municipal Councils are not improving the roads between Kulu and Manali and Bhuntar and Manikaran.

Similarly, Rajasthan Tourism is doing little to promote tourism. The government built beautiful highways, but cities like Bikaner, Ajmer and Pushkar are not clean. Sewerage stench greets the tourists. While travelling from Chandigarh to Delhi either by road or train, I had to cover my nose!

Other states are of no exception, but officials should improve the condition of tourist places. Through Green and White revolutions, India became self-sufficient in food and milk. Now India needs a cleanliness revolution involving every citizen, local, state and Central governments. Let the Himachal and Rajasthan governments take the lead in this direction.

MADAN RANA, Stirling Cres
St John’s, Canada

Skewed sex ratio

Of the 16 districts in the country affected by the imbalance in sex ratio, 10 are in Punjab. This is sad. The laws against the sex determination test appear weak and toothless. Why do parents commit such a heinous crime? Simply because they do not dare to fight against the tide. They are afraid of the in-laws’ demand for dowry.

Those who consider daughters as garbage to be sent off with a disposal fee called dowry will any way make their daughters’ life miserable. No girl should be born to such parents. These parents forget that having a daughter means a lifetime insurance of someone standing by you. Clearly, it is only a daughter who will sacrifice for her parents and not the son, particularly after his marriage.


BSNL tariff

The Punjab Telecom Circle of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) declared different tariff plans for its b-fone customers to choose. Accordingly, those choosing Plan-180 will be charged rental of Rs 180 and allowed 90 free calls a month. But in the bi-monthly bills issued by Amritsar BSNL, those who have opted for Plan-180, were allowed 50 free calls instead of 90.

This is a violation of the plan and amounts to breach of trust on the part of Amritsar BSNL. Should the consumers of this zone trust that the tariff plans declared in February are not applicable to them?

R.K. ARORA, Amritsar

Peace and progress

I refer to J. Sri Raman’s article Beware of communal politics. The BJP stands for nationalism. It stands for peace and progress of the country. Its aim is to weave the vast territory of the country into indissoluble mental and material unity.

The primary purpose of the BJP’s “communal politics” is that the nation should not be torn into contrasted and jarring fragments which may turn out to be potential new Pakistanis. The likes of the writer better look at the people as Indians and not as majority and minorities. The rule of law alone is secularism. The reservation and abetment of the illegal immigrants or infiltrators is the antithesis of secularism.


Shorter names

I refer to Saroop Krishen’s letter Shorter version better (April 11). Some Muslim names are based on very difficult Arabic and Persian words and cannot be correctly mentioned by those not knowing these languages. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is often mentioned as Hizbul with uncalled for ‘ul’ (of). Bin means son. Osama bin Laden is sometimes mentioned as bin Laden only.

The name of the Best Bakery case prime witness is written as Zahira and pronounced as Zaahira instead of Zaheera, derived from Zaheer, meaning ally or helper. Lashkar-e-Tayyibah is generally written as Lashkar-e-Toiba. Tayyibah is also the name of Medina, a holy city of Islam. The expression, thus, means the Army of Medina.



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