Time to tap hydel potential

India is facing power shortage of over 70,000 MW and the industry and agriculture are suffering badly for want of adequate power (Letters, May 4). The government is not paying adequate attention towards the 1.5 lakh-MW hydel potential available in the country. Consequently, we have not generated even one-fourth of this capacity as yet.

While thermal plants generate about 68 per cent of the country’s maximum hydel power, nuclear plants produce hardly 4 per cent electricity. Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has stated this in the Lok Sabha recently. Of the 1.5 lakh MW, about 20,000 MW capacities is available in Himachal Pradesh. Yet, no serious efforts have been made to tap this source of power.

The hydel power potential of about 100 MW was investigated in various canals of Punjab during eighties by the then Chief Engineer, Projects Investigation, Irrigation. However, this capacity has not yet been tapped fully.

In the absence of non-exploitation of this source of energy, which is cheap, renewable and environment-friendly, the nation is losing heavily. The Centre should hold talks with the states and tap hydel energy to meet the country’s requirements.

S.K. KHOSLA,Chandigarh



As hydel power is cheap, priority must be given to utilise all available sources of this energy. Though the gestation period is high (say, five years), water being the natural and renewable source of this energy, hydro power potential merits prior exploitation, Besides, hydro power generation is practically pollution-free.

The Shahpurkandi Project needs to be executed promptly for optimum utilisation of Thein Dam Power Plant, which is the peak load power station. There is very small storage at Madhopur Headworks downstream of Thein Dam.

However, the Shahpurkandi Project has been planned to provide 24-hour storage and will absorb the di-urnal changes in releases from Thein Dam to help Thein Power Plant work as a peaking station.

G.R. KALRA, Chief Engineer (retd),Chandigarh

Wrong example

Most people know that the credit for our victory in the Indo-Pak war primarily goes to Indira Gandhi, Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw and Lt-Gen Jagjit Singh Arora. The troops on the ground had full faith and confidence in the higher civil and military leadership. I know it because I commanded a battalion in 1971 war in Jessore Sector.

Maj-Gen Jacob (later Lt-Gen) was the Chief of Staff to Lt-Gen J. S. Arora, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, who was responsible for the overall conduct of the operations. We all know that the primary duty of a Staff Officer is to implement the orders, instructions and the policies of the Army Headquarters and his immediate Commander.

Lt-Gen Jacob’s claims that he issued orders against the declared policy of the Army Headquarters and without the permission of his immediate Commander are unconvincing. His claims are against the Army ethos and will set a wrong example to the present-day staff officers.

Brig DALIP SINGH SIDHU (retd),Patiala


A.J. Philip’s middle, “General discomfort” and Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill’s article “Revisiting 1971 war” were timely and interesting. While the former uncovered the true colour of his host, the latter elucidated the clear-cut roles of the staff and the field commanders.

War veterans agree with both writers that Gen. Jagjit Singh Arora and military leaders of his calibre should have been projected as models for the youth. Gen Arora did not hanker for a post-retirement job, but involved himself to work for peace and amity when he agreed to tour Punjab on my invitation to provide moral support to the peace forum which I was heading during those turbulent days.

I do hope that one day the civil authority which sends the Army to the war change its ancient mindset about the Army and give due recognition to military commanders as is done by developed countries.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana


Going bananas, literally!

Whenever I used to walk in to Wal-Mart in the US, I was admiring the bananas they had in their stores. In fact, all the places in the US have such wonderful bananas. Though, of late, I came to know the bitter aspect of these beauties.

Among the major banana growing companies of the US such as Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte, all have been accused of funding the right-wing paramilitary of Columbia. The reason: these companies own land in that part and the right-wing militias have helped them protect their business.

The flip side of the story is that these militias have killed thousands of people in the ongoing drug war in Columbia, most of them being civilians. The militias also take care of the labour union problems of the companies and hence keep their capitalist name in fashion. Overall, the story kicks up a controversy which truly makes one go bananas.


Make it attractive

The Indian Army had been short of officers for many years. Today, one opts for a career in the Army only after testing his worth in the civil services. Experts say, defence jobs do not appeal to the youth anymore due to low salary.

The olive green uniform is the job’s only appeal left today. But how long would the craze for uniform attract the youth? Or as in the UK, the US and some other countries, should it become mandatory for everyone to serve the Army for a stipulated period?

The Defence budget remains underutilised at the end of every year. A good portion of the allotted but unutilised budget must be spent on promotions in the services. Billboards can be set up at major city centres to attract the youths’ attention to the services.

When applications are called, the jobs should be frequently advertised in the print and electronic media for wider circulation. Like men, women should also be given a choice of permanent commission.




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