Strategy to tackle power crisis

Rains have eased the power situation in Punjab to some extent, but how long will we be free from power cuts? For a manufacturing unit, a daily power cut of even five hours means a loss of 150 hours (i.e. six days) in a month. The smaller units that cannot afford generators will have a 20 per cent shortfall in production. And those using diesel generators will add to our oil import bill.

I offer the following suggestions to tackle the situation. Small hydroelectric power stations should be set up in the Himalayan regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and the north-eastern states. India has a huge potential for the use of non-conventional sources like solar, wind and tidal energy. Mega projects harnessing such sources should be taken up on priority.

India has had a good record of using nuclear technology for power generation safely. A few more nuclear power stations in the central and southern India can meet the local needs of power. The Supreme Court should ban the state governments from providing free power to any section. Only those below the poverty line may be considered for such benefits. People should be encouraged to use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

NARESH KUMAR, Principal, SSDP School, Noormahal (Panjab)



Officials justify annual power tariff revision because of huge input costs and power purchase at hefty rates. But what about the wastage of electricity in their offices where lights, fans and ACs are on most of the time? This criminal wastage of power must stop. There is an additional burden on the consumer. The department levies “fixed charges @ Rs 5 per kw for domestic consumers and Rs 60 per kw for commercial ones. This should be withdrawn immediately.

Moreover, “kundi” connections are rampant in the cities, towns and villages. Jhuggi dwellers continue to enjoy this privilege free of cost. They are hand in gloves with the officials.

To check pilferage of electricity, the department should carry out surprise checks on industrial units, shops, homes and colonies. The culprits should be fined and their connections disconnected.

A.K. KAUL, Chandigarh

Onus on women

This has reference to Anjali Sharma’s letter Bane of dowry (Aug 11). Despite legislation to check this menace, girls either commit suicide or are being burnt. Even the educated and well off girls are unable to bear the pressure. Some dowry victims commit suicide. And unborn daughters are being aborted. Why?

The women should introspect for a moment and think who can check the dowry menace better — law, men or women themselves? Definitely, only women can check it. If women refuse to give dowry firmly, no man will ever ask for dowry, no bride will be burnt or have to commit suicide and no parents would kill their unborn daughter.

T.L. SHARMA, Nangal Township

Station in the dark

The Railway booking office at Narwana railway station has no lights. Between 5 am and 6 am, three trains pass through Narwana Junction — the Jakhal-Delhi Passenger, the Jind-Kurukshetra Passenger and the Jind-Ferozpur Passenger.

Despite heavy rush of passengers, there is no lighting arrangement either on the platform or at the booking counter. We request the railway authorities to instal a generator at the railway station.

Dr UTTAM SINGH,  President, Senior Citizens’  Council, Narwana

Toll tax exemption

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Toll Tax Act, the defence personnel are exempted from paying this tax at the toll tax barriers throughout the country. Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed a petition filed against this exemption. It also clarified that the exemption holds good even if the defence personnel are travel in their private vehicles and wearing civilian clothes.

However, they continue to be unduly penalised at the toll tax barriers in Himachal Pradesh on the grounds that the contractors and their men are not aware of such an exemption. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh should intervene immediately to correct the situation so as to protect the soldiers’ rights.



Of gurdwaras and trees

DS Jaspal, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, has done good work on the gurdwaras named in tandem with the trees. The love for human-friendly plants, trees, in the lore of Hinduism, goes back to the remote past. The Vedas sing praises of nature in hills, trees, rivers, etc. The rishis nestled in their ashrams and gurukuls amidst sylvan surroundings.

The human-friendly, herbal trees were identified, revered and worshipped by our ancestors. The peepal, which exudes oxygen non-stop, cleansing the environment, finds high praise in the Bhagwad Gita. The banyan trees, with medicinal qualities, were the canopies of the rishis, including Lord Buddha.

Earlier, common meeting places in villages were over raised platforms, with the trinity of peepal, banyan and neem trees. Mandirs contain in their precincts peepal, mango, banyan, bel and neem trees, all herbals and friend to mankind. An eco-friendly ambience, charnamat in mandirs is dispensed with tulsi leaves. Lord Shiva is a triumvirate (trees, rivers, animals, etc) in all its elements. The same denotes people’s affinity to nature. Vegetation, nature’s plenty, blesses human with sound health and elevates the minds spiritually. Our rishis built their ashrams in the oases of greenery.

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



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