“Aaj ka MLA” doesn’t pay  his tax

This has reference to the editorial “Aaj Ka MLA” (June 20). The revelation that the common man of Punjab is ill-fated to carry the burden for the pays and perks of the ministers and MLAs is abominable, more so when it is revealed that this vicious practice was started by an act of Partap Singh Kairon, stated to be progressive. From the Chief Minister, the tentacles have spread far wide. Degeneration spreads at a fast rate, augments especially when the progeny of the neo-princes/feudals, wait in the wings to fill the vacating slots.

A healthy system is under destruction from the broadsides of vote bank politics, burdening of the commoners with unjustified taxes. The gains of hard-won Independence are being frittered away by our feudal lords. How long would the common man carry the burden?

V.I.K. SHARMA, IAS (retd), Jalandhar



This exposes the open loot of public money by the elected representatives as also their mindset and selfishness. The policy is undemocratic and unconstitutional. All the parties are equally responsible for this because no one objected to it when this provision came into force 10 years ago.

This shows that the elected representatives raise only those issues in the Assembly which help them politically. Public welfare is the least in their mind. The people should learn a lesson from this and elect only those who are honest and have a clean record of selfless social service.



How could the Punjab government pay the income-tax of the MLAs and ministers to the tune of Rs 1.47 crore? These representatives are indeed the government’s sons-in-law. They draw handsome salary and perks. Still, the government pays their taxes. Why? Are they poor? The government has no right to waste public money like this and empty the state exchequer.

The salaried class is forced to pay taxes. However, these VIPs misuse public money to pay their own taxes. Is it logical?

BANSI RAM, Chakhhajipur (Hoshairpur)


This has reference to the news item “Naga talks in the top gear; deal to be clinched in Bangkok” in your newspaper on June 29. I have to state that parts of the report and the title are misleading. Firstly, there is no deal to be clinched in Bangkok. The issues involved are complex and sensitive and require patience and perseverance on the part of the negotiating teams to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. In the recent past, we have been able to narrow down the gap between the stand of the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) to some extent.

While talking to your correspondent on the background and current status of the talks, I described that the talks moved from the first gear to the fourth gear in the sense that while the focus in the past was on cease-fire violations, cease-fire extensions, etc, in the last two meetings the focus has shifted to a serious dialogue about the constitutional aspects of the demands of the NSCN (IM).

Similarly, while earlier the talks were being held once in two-three months, it has now been decided that these should take place every month to speed up the process. A few months ago, the talks reached a stalemate but then both parties agreed that based on a fresh initiative, there should be a detailed and meticulous discussion about the constitutional aspects of the problem.

While a number of ideas have been mooted in this regard, including references to some federal constitutions, a serious decision is yet to take place about these ideas. Obviously, no decision has been taken at the talks since any decision would require prior clearance at the highest political level. Since there is no accord on the anvil, there is no truth in the statement of your correspondent that an accord with Nagas will entail changes in Article 7 of the Constitution or that it will resemble a Kashmir-type status.

However, the talks are on track and are making good progress.

K. PADMANABHAIAH, Representative of Government for Naga Peace Talks, New Delhi

Senior citizens deserve free phones

The BSNL’s decision to slash monthly rental from Rs 299 to Rs 220 will only benefit the business community. It has become difficult for senior citizens above 65 years to raise funds for medical treatment and travel in fast growing cities. Therefore, they must be provided free telephones. The BSNL and other companies can earn from the incoming calls on such phones. The MTNL is already giving 25 per cent concession to senior citizens.

Alternatively, the BSNL and other companies should introduce a Sulabh plan of Rs 99 for senior citizens with 50 free calls in rural and urban areas without considering the capacity of the exchanges. Union Communication Minister Dayanidhi Maran should come to our rescue.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana



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