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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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M A I L B A G

When IAS officers falter

I read Sarbjit Dhaliwal’s front-page report, “Hundred calls later, minister hangs upon IAS” (Nov 16). It is sad that a senior bureaucrat should choose to remain unresponsive to a minister. Even courtesy demands that he should have called back the minister.

While a minister, being a public representative, is answerable to the public at large, a bureaucrat is not. He has to advise the government properly and to implement their orders. To disregard or to show disrespect to a minister is a serious matter and should be met with condign punishment.

This situation is not peculiar to Punjab, but is endemic in Haryana and other states where the bureaucrats do not carry out even the Chief Ministers’ written orders. The reason: the concentration of all powers in the Chief Minister’s office, administered by a few officers. They fail to advise the Chief Minister sincerely and ensure the implementation of the orders and policy of the government. This has tended to soil the government’s reputation.

A.C. AGGARWAL, IAS (retd), New Delhi


 

II

I don’t agree with the complaint against Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, IAS officer, by a Punjab minister for not attending to his call. How can the officer attend to the calls while working on urgent matters of public interest? Calls and letters addressed to his office must have been replied and attended to.

About the officer in question, only those working with him can comment on his attitude towards work. Mr Sidhu is a dedicated worker. By the way, how many calls and letters addressed to worthy Ministers and MLAs are attended to and replied?

Dr RIPUDAMAN SINGH, Patiala

It’s ridiculous!

It was unbelievable to learn that Service Chiefs were frisked at the airports like ordinary passengers (News-item, “No exemption to armed forces chiefs”, Nov 22). But what shocked me beyond description was that the Defence Ministry’s plea with the Civil Aviation Ministry to exempt Service Chiefs from security procedures at the airports was turned down. Isn’t it ridiculous that the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers including some with criminal records are greeted with salute at the airports but our Service Chiefs are suspects in the eyes of airport security and are humiliated with body frisking? Egregious!

K.S. BHALLA, New Delhi

Are Adarsh schools ideal?

The Punjab government plans to open a few Adarsh schools in rural areas. If the aim is to provide quality education to rural children, it may not be necessary to label these schools as Adarsh schools.

In what respect are the existing Adarsh schools different from good government senior secondary schools? If we set up a real Adarsh school, for which schools will it serve as a model?

Incidentally, convent schools are better than the state-run Adarsh schools. The government schools need good infrastructure, reformed curricula and dedicated teachers. The Punjab government can employ B.Eds in the primary and middle schools.

Dr P.S. SHARMA, Chandigarh

 

General’s tactic

I read the editorial, “Victim of emergency” (Nov. 14). Gen Musharraf entered into the power-sharing deal with Ms Benazir Bhutto only to legitimise his position as the President. She couldn’t see through his game-plan and willingly walked into the trap laid by the shrewd General after distancing herself from the other opposition leaders for democracy into the country.

In her eagerness to share power with Gen Musharraf, she seems to have inflicted incalculable damage to the cause of democracy in the country. Now, once again she has started hinting at some reconciliation with other opposition leaders, including Mr Nawaz Sharif to form a “coalition of interests” to dislodge the military dictator. In the process, Musharraf may emerge victorious.

Prof V.R. SETHI, Shimla

No sops, please

Where is the money for additional power subsidy that the ruling SAD-BJP government in Punjab is offering? Nowhere in India a subsidy has been offered for domestic consumers other than a fixed number of free units of power given to the Dalit families.

In an era when subsidies are being phased out, the Punjab government, which provides free power to the farmers, is now burdened with an additional subsidy of Rs 292 crore a year. The need of the hour is to impose tariff on the farm sector and not add to the subsidies.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

 


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