Free power to farmers must go

THE fiscal health of the Punjab government is extremely poor. Economic growth in the absence of credible development is stagnating. Per capita income, compared to neighbouring states, is dropping. Punjab is on the verge of losing over Rs 2000 crore in Central assistance, because so far it has failed to undertake path correction to qualify for the federal assistance (Dec 9).

There are indications that Punjab’s facility of free power to the farm sector is going to be withdrawn. A cess is likely to be imposed on canal irrigation water and octroi will be reintroduced to enable the urban civic bodies to undertake the much-needed urban renewal projects. All these are good omens. But the rates of power supply and canal water to the farm sector won’t help plug the water wastage.

The old rate of Rs 60 a HP won’t help conserve electricity. Instead, the government should charge a nominal fee of Re 1 a unit of power used. The other consumers are paying Rs 3-4 a unit. If a per unit metered rate is charged, that will prevent the wastage of electricity and water. Similarly, there should be a way to meter the supply of canal water.

HARJAP SINGH AUJLA, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey (USA)

Nandigram crisis

Though the West Bengal government backed out from acquiring land for the special economic zone in Nandigram, the protagonists of violence cut up all roads from and to Nandigram and paralysed the administration. The so-called “Save land agricultural committee” at gunpoint threw out the local inhabitants out of Nandigram while the political parties attacked the villagers.

Ms Mamata Banerjee deliberately stayed away from the all-party meeting called by the Chief Minister and the veteran leader Jyoti Basu, keeping an eye on the panchayat elections. In the present situation, it is the duty of every right-thinking person in West Bengal to help the hapless people of Nandigram rather than making political mileage out of it.

B. P. SHARMA, Manwal (Pathankot)

Fake symbols of social status

THE provision of red beacons for the SGPC members’ vehicles and police security are unrealistic and uncalled for. Our leaders have been blindfolded by their selfish and greedy designs and have lost track of their responsibilities and duties. Our system has been twisted time and again to suit the politicians’ interests.

India is a secular country and no religion is supposed to get promotion and protection of any sort by the government or executive. It is surprising how the Punjab Chief Minister is openly patronising the clergy, ignoring all ethics and parliamentary customs.

It is equally unfortunate on the part of the SGPC members to accept the official patronage. Mr Badal has added a new dimension to the politics of quotas and privileges. Moreover, there is no proof that red beacons and security would contribute to greater professional efficiency. They are just fake symbols of social status.

DEEPKARAN DALAL, Student, Greenwich University, London 


Boost to defence

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, while participating in a meeting of the Parliamentary Consecutive Committee attached to his ministry, said that the armed forces will be equipped with sophisticated weaponry. This is welcome.

There is an urgent need to further the achievements of defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) as well as expeditious development and production of the Light Combat Aircraft, MBT Arjun and Advance Jet Trainer aircraft to minimise our dependence on other countries.

Col R.S. GURUNG (retd), Kandrori (Kangra)

B.Ed entrance

Punjab has over 150 B.Ed colleges with at least 100 seats in each college. This number is equal to that of the academic colleges in the state. The number of applicants for admission has been declining, especially for BA, B. Com and B.Sc courses, which will ultimately reduce the number of B.Ed aspirants in the coming years.

Students and their parents prefer professional courses for the simple reason that academic qualifications are of no value in public or private sector as skilled persons are also applying even for non-technical posts. The admissions should be made purely on merit by the colleges.


Extend the rail link

For so many decades now, we have been hearing about the rail link between Bhanupali and Bilaspur. The rail link between Chandigarh and Baddi was in the news recently. I suggest that the rail line be extended from Kalka to Baddi, Nalagarh and then to Bilaspur.

This arrangement will have the following advantages. Kalka Railway station has one of the best infrastructures in Northern Railway and has surplus land. Extension and subsequent maintenance and operation shall be convenient. The right of way from Kalka to Baddi shall be cheaper and convenient as compared to the extension from Chandigarh.

The rail link will connect Baddi, Nalagarh and Bilaspur. In addition, some Haryana villages shall be benefited. It would also be convenient for rail passengers from Solan and Shimla districts if they want to travel towards Bilaspur.


Root out corruption

I saw the BSNL advertisement, “Maintain transparent corporate policy and a corruption-free work environment” (Nov 15). To achieve this aim, corruption must be rooted out and this, of course, won’t be easy. Corruption can be eliminated if every employee does his job sincerely and honestly.

B. B. BHARMERA, Dharamshala (HP)



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