It’s time for rainwater harvesting

In India, the depleting water table is the direct consequence of poor management of groundwater. In many villages, water is found beyond a depth of 200 feet. If this rate of groundwater depletion continues, the day is not far off when we would have to buy water for a hefty sum.

To replenish the groundwater, rainwater harvesting is a must. The run off water from the lawns, roads, streets and rooftops can be collected and directed into a nearby pit. This way, millions of cubic feet of water can be saved from going waste in big cities, towns and villages.

As the monsoon is about to cover the whole nation, we must effectively collect maximum rainwater during this period. The government should take the initiative and start harvesting rainwater in all big buildings like hospitals, courts, hotels etc. It should be made mandatory for the owners of multi-storey flats, hotels, multiplexes etc. to have provision for rainwater harvesting.

This rule can be extended even to the houses of over 4,000 square feet area in the government approved colonies. In addition, increasing the forest cover and a little effort by every individual in conserving water will help check water crisis.

  NARESH KUMAR, Principal,  SSDP School, Noormahal


No allotment

In 2001, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had issued letters of intent in Sectors 76-80, Mohali, to 3995 allottees who had deposited 25 per cent of the cost of plots with PUDA. Six years have elapsed, but allotment letters have not been issued till date. This is causing great hardship to the applicants. The Punjab government should direct PUDA to issue allotment letters immediately.


Misuse of bus permits

Many buses ply at night from Jammu to Chandigarh and Jammu to Delhi under tourist bus permit. They display the Punjab registration number and ply on a routine basis daily. Their operators have agents at Jammu where they book the tickets for passengers and help clear them as tourist buses. The Jammu and Kashmir government staff, who check the permits at Lakhanpur border, have mutual agreement with the operators.

However, these buses do not enter the UT area and drop the passengers at Mohali or so near Chandigarh. The operators further hire small vehicles and force the passengers to board them to go to Bus Stands of Sectors 33, 43 and 17. Those with heavy luggage have to hire autorickshaws to reach the ISBT.

I request the transport authorities of Chandigarh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir to check the misuse of tourist permits. Why can’t these states start their own AC bus services? They will earn revenue and the passengers can travel comfortably without harassment from private AC bus operators.

SURINDER SINGH, Satwari, Jammu Cantonment

Neglect of Hindi

I visit Punjab quite often. Not long ago, Kangra included the present districts of Kulu, Una and Hamirpur and was part of Punjab. The spoken language of this region is very akin to Punjabi.

The redrawing of boundaries of Punjab and HP on Nov 1, 1966, was purely borne out of political expediency. In the past four decades, Punjabi language and culture has flourished, having spread to Delhi and Himachal. But the traditional culture of brotherhood of composite Punjab propounded by Waris Shah, Bulle Shah, Surinder Kaur, Asa Singh Mastana and their ilk has eclipsed.

I am afraid, Hindi is being neglected in Punjab, especially in the urban clusters. Both Punjabi and Hindi have their own spheres of influence and should have no fear of dominance by each other. The Punjab government would do well to paint its important signboards on the national highway in Hindi and Punjabi. By doing so, we would be encouraging tourists from the rest of India to visit Punjab.

D.P. SHARMA, Dharamsala

NSS deposits

NSS deposits at present earn interest at 7.5 per cent per annum. Any amount withdrawn from the account would be added in full to the income of that year and hence liable for income-tax. Most depositors are now senior citizens who had deposited the amount during their service period. They are being put to a loss of 1.5 per cent of interest as compared to the ‘Senior Citizens Saving Scheme, 2004’.

To provide relief to them, the government should give an option to the NSS depositors to withdraw partial or full amount from their accounts less 10 per cent flat rate towards income-tax, only for investment in the SCSS, 2004 which carry 9 per cent taxable interest, with a maximum limit of Rs 15 lakh under the scheme.

The government would not lose much, but the senior citizens will have regular quarterly interest to support their stagnant incomes for meeting the rising expenses on living, ailments and maintenance of houses and vehicles etc.

S.L. ARORA, Jalandhar City

Criminal waste of funds

With an eye on the ensuing elections in Punjab, all the political parties are gearing up to face the electorate again. The Congress government has started its propaganda blitzkrieg right earnest through huge advertisements in the newspapers projecting its “achievements” in the past four years.

The state government does not realise that this is criminal waste of funds and that the people are not interested in the so-called mega projects but on issues like price rise, unemployment, corruption, poor education and health facilities, lack of work culture in the public offices etc. Unless these issues are addressed by the incumbent government, the voters are not likely to be influenced by the costly advertisements.

Moreover, the present-day voter is smart enough to decide whom to vote. As such, scarce resources should not be frittered away in inserting costly advertisements but utilised for solving the day-to-day problems of the common people.

Dr S.S. SOOCH, Jalandhar



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