Punjab govt accountable for lapses

I refer to the editorial, “Cess that vanished”. The Punjab government indeed owes an explanation how cess to the tune of Rs 934 crore has disappeared and also why it has fared poorly in implementing the Central programmes.

The 2 per cent rural development cess collected by the Punjab Mandi Board from farmers who bring their produce to mandis, meant to be spent upon building rural roads,  marketing infrastructure and other facilities to farmers which actually has not been done. Another blunder was committed by releasing market fee money and rural development cess without obtaining utility certificates, thus violating the Centre’s guidelines.

The CAG’s discovery of huge misappropriation of the rural development cess is amazing. There is rampant corruption in the government offices today and no one is bothered to improve the basic civic amenities.

Its pollution control board is taking pride in closing industries on the pretext of controlling water and air pollution instead of assisting, aiding, educating and providing air pollution control devices and water treatment plants to them.

A look at the power supply position suggests that instead of generating electricity, the government has resorted to unscheduled power cuts. Are we in the 21st century or still in the lantern and candle age? Industry, a major source of employment and revenue generation, has started to migrate to other states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.

ARVIND DHUMAL,  Advocate, Jalandhar

No freebies, please

It is indeed surprising that when elections are round the corner, political parties start declaring freebies. There is a virtual competition between them in all the states. Some of these promises do find place in their manifestoes.

The purpose of the government is to run the affairs of the state as smoothly as possible. For this, it has to manage the funds at its disposal judiciously. If the government feels that a particular section is underprivileged, it can render its services like electricity and water at no profit, no loss basis.

However, getting involved itself in charity projects is brazen misuse of authority which must be checked. Charity should be left to the social organisations which they can manage in a much better way.


Time to root out jihadis

Gandhi and 9/11. Excellent historical coincidence. But why is there no Gandhi, Rabin or Martin Luther King in the Muslim-Arab world? Why is there no fatwa against suicide bombers but only on writers and social thinkers?

Indian Parliament was attacked by the jihadis and the Pakistan Army killed thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims including its President Dr Mujibur Rehman and his entire family, children and women. In Chechnya, over 300 unarmed children and women were massacred in a school at Beslan. Still there is no fatwa against the jihadis. If there are no Jews, Hindus, or Christians, the jihadis would kill Shias and Sunnis.

It is not the conflict of civilisations. Islam and the neo-cons both are facing the challenge of scientific knowledge. No more you trust in God or pray five times to Allah for food and medicines. When you are rushed to hospital in emergency, it is your blood group that helps, not your caste, class, race or religion.

The Gandhian strategy to resist injustice is inclusive of all humanity. The 21st century world order would be governed by democratic paradigm and not by any shariat.

Dr DHIRENDRA SHARMA, Centre for Science Policy, Dehradun


The great teacher

We celebrated Teacher’s Day on September 5, the birth anniversary of Dr S. Radhakrishnan. He was a great philosopher-statesman and sage. In his early years of life, he was very poor. Poverty did not allow him to buy even a plate. He used to eat his food on plantain leaves.

His son, the famous writer Dr S. Gopal, once revealed that his father did not have money even to buy plantain leaves. He cleaned the floor and spread the food on it and ate. His salary those days was Rs 17 a month.

How many of our present-day politicians follow the ideals and values of this great Indian philosopher-statesman? How many of them are promoting human welfare for the poorest of the poor?


Quota politics

I do not support the UPA government’s policy on reservation. History seems to be repeating itself. Even after 59 years of Independence, our right to protest is being demolished. Whenever we tried to fight for our right against injustice, we are always greeted with lathi blows of the police, tear gas shells and water canons etc.

I would support quotas not on the basis of caste but economic backwardness. The creamy layer has no right to be included in the quota framework. If the government of the day does not change its policy on reservations, the day is not far when there will be no seats left for those belonging to the general category.

MONICA SANGWAN, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Special term loan

The Punjab government availed itself of the Special Term Loan of Rs 3,772 crore to combat militancy and insurgency in the state. It has not been waived so far. Since militancy in Punjab was a serious threat to national security and integrity and the Punjab government had used it in national interest, it should be waived without further delay.

CHAMAN SINGH, Bhucho (Bathinda)



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