Centre, states must improve civic amenities

AS long as killer drains like Budda Nullah in Ludhiana continue to spread disease and death and as long as primary education, basic health care facilities and safe drinking water are not available in our villages, our leaders’ talk of 8 per cent growth rate would be meaningless.

The civic conditions in most cities, towns and villages are so appalling that the very mention of growth is misleading. We often read in The Tribune about the allocation of huge funds for various development schemes for people’s welfare. But our rulers at the Centre and in the states hardly bother about effective implementation of these programmes. Please stop talking of this illusory growth and focus attention on the basics — elementary education, health care, potable water and safe roads. A layman not familiar with the intricacies of economics and planning can be impressed only with visible symptoms of development which are not in sight anywhere. The Centre and the states will have to improve civic amenities in all towns and villages.

R.L. SINGAL, Chandigarh


It is heartening to note that in response to The Tribune report, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal has come forward to arrange kar seva of Budda Nullah on the pattern of Kali Bein. Rivers are our lifeline. The polluted water of Budda Nullah is ultimately discharged into the Sutlej river which is a matter of grave concern.

When a noble soul has come forward to cleanse Budda Nullah, all the residents, industrialists, district administration, Municipal Corporation and educational institutes of Ludhiana should help in this noble cause by providing men, money, machinery etc. to accomplish this gigantic task.

At the same time, the government must take steps to stop the flow of untreated industrial effluents and sewage water into our rivers which are a source of drinking water and irrigation needs of the farmers.


A wake-up call

This has reference to the editorial, “Pact with Taliban” (Sept 12). Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s agreement with the Taliban should serve as a wake-up call for the Bush administration. The US handling of the Iraq affair and dethroning of Saddam Hussein exposed its misconceived apprehensions vis-à-vis world peace.

General Musharraf’s committed support to the Taliban poses a real threat not only to India but the world at large because the Taliban is an extended arm of the Al-Qaeda. In spite of its geo-political compulsions, the US should snap its ties with Pakistan, and impose economic sanctions instead of granting economic and military aid to Pakistan when the latter is refusing to snap its links with the Taliban, contrary to its promises to the world.


Ease the tax burden

THE Centre is introducing a simplified Income-Tax Act from April 2008. It has already taken many steps like introduction of Fringe Benefit Tax, more ‘simplified’ Multi-age Return Form No. 1, 2 and 3 and Saral 2F. Section 80 C, which was deleted by the Finance Act 1990, has been reintroduced.

Generally speaking, we do not need further simplification of the Act. If these are the simplified versions, what is required is to ease the pressure on an honest taxpayer. The financial limits fixed under Section 44AA and 44 AB at Rs 10 lakh and Rs 40 lakh must be revised to at least Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 crore. Small trader/businessman may be allowed to declare his income up to Rs 5 lakh without maintenance of accounts. No doubt, it is very difficult to tax and to please but the tax burden should be kept at the minimum.

OM DATT SHARMA, Advocate, Chandigarh


Indifferent govt

In his article “Manic development: Government harsh on the poor; not poverty” (Sept 8), Kuldip Nayar aptly observes that the development through malls and plazas is really a situation amounting to Peter robbing Paul with the government’s connivance. Eliminating poverty or bettering the lot of poor is not an item on this government’s agenda.

Not all people are indifferent to what is going on in the name of development and modernisation. People are already raising their voice against the loot of forest and fields by multinationals through newspapers. The farmers’ organisations have been staging demonstrations against it. But what can a few voices do before the money power of mighty realtors and corrupt authorities?

Now the Communists also want to bask in the seductive sunshine of material comforts and enjoy power at the poor man’s cost. By selling green lands and forests for multiplexes and SEZs, the government is inviting devastation for environment and humanity.


Pension disparity

The Defence Ministry has notified that pension of old retirees would be equivalent to that of new retirees, which shall be not less than 50 per cent of the maximum pay introduced from January 1996. However, this benefit is provided to the rank of MWO, Sergeant and below only.

Please note that JWO and Warrant officers have been not brought at par with new retirees. All the ranks should be treated with the same yardstick so that justice prevails.

ASHOK KUMAR, Jalandhar



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