Avoidable conflict on octroi

Octroi in Punjab stands abolished from September 1. But the (private) contractor continues to charge octroi in Dhuri as per the status quo order, issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In the changed economic scenario, octroi had to go. Now it appears that perhaps, either the municipal authorities did not present their case in the right perspective before the court or they and the contractor are not properly aware of the various clauses under which the collection of octroi was given to the private contractor.

The most important clause should have been that in the event of termination of the contract midway (i.e. including abolition of octroi), the municipal authorities will refund the contract amount for the remaining period proportionately. Therefore, the onus lies on the municipal authorities and the contractor must accept the change gracefully so that the general public is not put to unnecessary harassment.

Prof JANAK RAJ GUPTA, Punjabi University, Patiala



Monuments of neglect

This refers to the news-item “Over 250 national monuments under encroachment” (Aug 28). The position of monuments declared protected by the state governments is even more deplorable. Not to speak of their periodical repairs, these are even without chowkidars.

No wonder, these are either under encroachment or places of hide and seek for street urchins. Most monuments described in Objects of Antiquarian Interest in the Punjab its Dependencies (published in 1875) and Report of the Punjab Circle of the Archaeological Survey for 1888-89 (published in 1891) have already vanished due to vandalism. A few that have survived have become a mere worn-out beauty.


BHEL on the mat

Some time back, one of the generating units of BBMB’s Ganguwal Power House had broken down due to the shearing of its runner during operation. Now another unit of Kotla Power House has also shutdown. Both the runners had been supplied by BHEL.

The failure of the runners within such a short time indicates major defects in their design and technology and raises a question mark on the reliability of BHEL in this field. The original runners supplied by a foreign company had been operating satisfactorily for a period of 50 years before their replacement by BHEL.

It is not known whether the requisite “model” and “efficiency” tests required to ascertain satisfactory performance of the runners had been carried out by the BBMB authorities, before clearing them for installation. The design and manufacture of runners is a highly specialised field, requiring vast design and testing facilities. It would be better even now to consult the original manufacturers for procuring runners of proper design and strength.

Ganguwal and Kotla are run-of-the river power stations and any breakdown of the units installed there would result in thousands of cusecs of water going waste, without generating power. The daily loss of generation in respect of the two units under breakdown now is 11.5 lakh units which would work out to Rs 120 crore over a year.

JAGJIT SINGH, Chief Engineer (retd), PSEB, Mohali

Neglected lot

I refer to Yash Paul Ghai’s letter (Aug 30). There is a big difference between the pensioners of the Punjab Government and the Central Government. While the former are pampered with so many benefits, the latter are a neglected lot. The Centre does not seem to bother about us. Its track record in social security is very poor.

For instance, while Punjab pensioners get a monthly medical allowance of Rs 200, we get only Rs 100. Neither the Centre nor other state governments increase pension at the age of 65 and 75 years as in Punjab. Similarly, they get LTC, but we don’t. The Centre should sympathetically consider the pensioners’ plight and provide them good benefits like higher medical allowance, free phone facility, free bus and rail travel, LTC and so on.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Tea gardens

I refer to the letter regarding the sale of tea garden areas. The tea planters of the area are not the custodians of the tea gardens; they are the owners of their properties. Secondly, if the “areas of the tea plantations have declined”, it is not due to the sale of tea gardens area but acquisition of tea areas by the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, the Institute of Himalayan Bioreactors Technology and the Vivekanand Medical Trust.

In case some sales have taken place, they are legally valid with due permission of the state government for sale under compelling circumstances to the needy and deserving cases.

PRESIDENT, The Kangra Valley Small Tea Planters’ Assn., Maranda (Palampur)



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