Kasauli’s ecology in peril

The fragile ecology of Kasauli hills is being destroyed with impunity. After damaging the peripheral hill slopes and depleting the greenery by allowing unrestricted construction activity, the state government allowed construction of multiple cottages with even borewell facility in thick pine groves in front of the entry point to the Air Force Station on the hill tops of Kasauli.

The government has also approved the project for construction of several luxury cottages with golf course facility on the Masobra-Chattian forest land of Kasauli, which is known for its wildlife, flora and fauna.

Petrol pumps and other installations coming up between Parwanoo and Solan on the Kalka–Shimla NH are also violating ecological and environmental norms by cutting hill slopes and extending construction to the forests inside. This is causing soil erosion and ecological imbalance.

Recently, there were reports of felling in Khejret village forest near Kasauli for laying an approach road to a proposed hotel site. Mercifully, an NGO with local women intervened and the Civil Court stayed further operations. But the episode highlights that the high and the mighty are violating the Supreme Court and the Himachal Pradesh High Court rulings against felling.

The state government should ban the sale or purchase of land through power of attorneys and make registration of property dealers and consultants mandatory stipulating basic functional norms for them. The local people should emulate Khejret women’s pro-active approach.

Lt-Col JIWAN SHAROTRI (retd), Kasuali


Uphill task

I have read with great interest the news-item, Community service recommended in lieu of jail for petty offences (Oct 16). The uphill task undertaken by Dr Lally has its pitfalls. Bureaucrats are generally slow to take corrective steps initiated by the workshop, such as proposing the long-needed reforms thereby giving a chance to the offender to choose between community service and the jail.

They are keen to follow the old draconian rules which offer a comfortable life to them and are averse to social mode of approach towards the inmates. Rehabilitation is the first task of the inmates and suggestions like providing education, work in the institutes of physically disabled and helping patients in hospitals etc. are all laudable.

The suggestion against invigilators keeping a tab on the inmates is a great leap forward in inculcating the importance of self-discipline among the offenders and reforming them.

N.S. KAPUR, New Delhi

Samjhauta Express

The Samjhauta Express used to halt at Panipat and Ambala Cantonment during 2004-05. During a visit to Pakistan in June last, I came to know that its stoppage has been cancelled. I had to go to Delhi to board the train and vice versa. This causes great inconvenience to Haryana’s passengers visiting Pakistan. The authorities concerned should restore the halts as earlier.

GURDEEP SINGH, Safidon (Jind)


New plan to check birth rate

Population explosion is a major problem confronting the country today. I request the government — at the Centre and in the states — to review the existing policies in the light of the following suggestions. Bachelors contribute immensely to population control and so the government should take care of life-long bachelors in their old age. They should be given special pension/increments after the age of 50 years. Issueless couples should be given similar incentives.

Those having only one daughter and get sterilised may be given special increments or monetary incentives. The government should finance the daughter’s education and offer her employment (in addition to the present scheme of free education of all daughters up to graduation).

Those having only a son and get sterilised may be given special increments. In case of the child’s death, parents should be entitled to life-long bachelor facilities. Those having two daughters and get sterilised, the existing small family incentives should be continued. Those having two sons should not be given any facility.

Those having three issues (male or female) should be penalised with additional income-tax. The ration card facilities should be withdrawn. The two-child norm must be strictly enforced. Special facilities should be given only to a family following this norm.

DARSHAN SINGH GILL, Principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Palampur (HP)


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