A question of constitutional propriety

I read The Tribune report under the caption, “Honest Cong MLAs need not fear: Sukhbir” (March 27). Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal is only the acting President of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The police and civil services in India do not take orders from political party presidents, who are not sworn in as Cabinet Ministers.

This is a new phenomenon in Punjab politics which must be taken seriously by intellectuals who take interest in constitutional propriety.

Though Mr Sukhbir says he has ordered the police officers to stop the drug menace in Punjab, we wonder whether he is serious on this subject. During the Assembly election campaign, Punjab’s vernacular press reported that Mr Sukhbir was telling his rural constituents that come his government, he would allow the rural folk to distill their own liquor on their working stills.

He further advocated that people could get direct connections from the over-head electric wires and he would ensure that the PSEB authorities looked the other way. If these are the general views of this young President of Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s party, then I would suggest that instead of the people endangering their lives to get direct electric connections from the grid, they should just destroy their electricity meters in their houses. Mr Sukhbir’s father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has the Excise department under him. His first cousin Mr Manpreet Singh runs the Finance department. Perhaps they would enlighten us as to how they intend to keep the coffers of the state full, without excise and electricity revenues.

Most people like me believe that the political power and clout Mr Sukhbir wields is disproportionate to the wisdom and commonsense God has endowed him with.




Agonising wait for dues

I retired from the office of the Internal Audit Organisation (IAO), Finance Department, Punjab, Chandigarh, on August 31, 1999. I submitted an application to the Punjab government on July 4, 2000 for payment of interest of Rs 8,454 towards the late payment of DCRG.

After over three years, on November 4, 2003, the department made a payment of Rs 6,500. However, it is dilly-dallying on the payment of the balance sum of Rs 1,954.

During the previous regime of Captain Amarinder Singh, I ran from pillar to post for justice, but to no avail. My appeals to IAS officers like Dr G. Vajralingam, Mrs Kalpana Mittal Barua, Mr Krishan Kumar and Mr K.R. Lakhanpal were in vain. My request in The Tribune Adalat (October 25, 2005) did not elicit any response from the government. I am in the evening of my life with heavy responsibilities and it has been an agonising wait. Will I ever receive my dues?

I now appeal to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to use his good offices in getting my dues of Rs 1,954 released expeditiously.


Tackling AIDS

AIDS is a big blow to the humankind. It threatens the very existence of human beings. The first AIDS case was reported in the US in 1981. Since then, people in over 175 countries have contracted the killer disease.

About 80 per cent infections were through sexual contact, 8 per cent through pre-natal transmission, 6 per cent through injecting drugs and 4 per cent through blood transfusion.

Maintaining high moral values could reduce the AIDS occurrence in a big way. Drugs should be avoided. The government should create awareness and disseminate information among the people to combat AIDS. Literacy pullouts, brochures, pamphlets mainly in vernacular languages should be distributed along with the morning newspapers. Organising AIDS awareness camps at brothels to protect sex workers and clients could help control AIDS.

The need of the hour is a concerted and vigorous national campaign and not an occasional statement or resolution passed in seminars and conferences. Society should do away with irrational beliefs associated with the disease and people should join hands to create a healthy society.


Follow Nawanshahr

I read the news-item, “Only a mass movement can check femicide: CJ” (March 11). Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Vijender Jain admitted that the PNDT Act is not an effective instrument in checking female foeticide.

I agree with the view that mass movement may positively help, but administrative reforms and exemplary punishment to culprits are the need of the hour. In this context, I must refer to the notable contribution of the Nawanshahr Deputy Commissioner. This district is a role model for the entire country to stop female foeticide.

While there are special drives by the Upkar coordination society (a federation of 35 NGOs under the Deputy Commissioner’s leadership), there is an impression that there is the fear of strict action by the authorities among the doctors and the common people.

There are many loopholes in the PNDT Act, but the authorities responsible for its effective implementation are always reluctant to take action due to political pressure.


Mr Clean, but…

George Fernandes has presented himself as a non-opportunist politician so far. He has stood by several trying times and has demonstrated his integrity, sincerity and fearfulness on various issues - whether it was the Emergency during the Congress regime or the matter of coffins during his tenure as Defence Minister. Known as a clean politician, he was emerging as a statesman!

Now Fernandes says that the Bofors issue was sidelined on the instructions of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Why didn’t Fernandes stood tall and resign rather then acceding to such an unscrupulous demand?

B.K. CHAUDHARI, Bromsgrove (UK)



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