Inspector raj is here, literally!

While the Punjab government has been trying to reform the Punjab State Electricity Board, it has not taken any step to reform its own house. The inspector raj of the Punjab Electricity Inspectorate (PEI) is taking a heavy toll of the industry. Now, no Punjab industrialist can commission a single electrical installation in his company without a kickback.

The situation has reached the same level as in 2003 when the Vigilance Bureau arrested the then Chief Electrical Inspector while accepting bribe. A very honest person on deputation from the PSEB replaced him. He changed the PEI’s working to end corruption, introduced transparency through time-bound inspection schedules and also gave detailed recommendations to revamp it.

The reforms provided for restructuring the PEI by taking all officers on a 3-year cyclic deputation from the PSEB and massive privatisation of inspection work through the appointment of chartered electrical inspectors from the private sector. After the said CEI left PEI for the PSEB, the government put all the recommendations on the backburner.

While planning massive industrialisation, the government should ensure effective functioning of the PEI and other departments through reforms and privatisation.



The rising rupee

The rising rupee is proving to be a double-edged sword for India’s trade and industry. While it is welcome for Indian tourists going abroad as also for oil and other imports, it is making textiles, chemicals, agro-based industries and electronics very apprehensive and vulnerable.

The threat to almost two million workers going out of employment mainly in textiles and other export-oriented industries and services is real. Hence, the politicians and the economic managers have to walk a tightrope.

The rupee rise cannot be artificially and abruptly stopped. What is required is a very pragmatic approach to keep a fine balance of the interests of all stakeholders in the economy while keeping the global market in view and long-term direction for the economy. Of course, the exporters will have to down their costs.

R.N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi

Example to emulate

The sufferers’ pain can be felt by someone who has experienced it. Michael Thevar of rural Karnataka, who used to fetch firewood, sell it and support his family including paying his school fee, has done what others have not done. Himself a Dalit, Michael is an NRI today in Philadelphia, USA.

He wants to help the Dalits and SC/ST communities in India’s slums and villages. As our society doesn’t provide equal prospects for all sections and individuals, he will try to help those from the lowest strata of society. He has indeed set an example for all others to follow.

UPENDRA BHATNAGAR, Baltana (Zirakpur)

LTC for pensioners

The Punjab government’s circular letter No. 95FPI-6574-79 (Oct 31, 2006) has treated interim relief as pension for all purposes.

However, some banks are not including this amount with basic pension for LTC, thus denying the pensioners their rightful due and putting them to monetary loss. The government should rectify the anomaly and issue necessary instructions in this regard.


No pension

The highly reputed, world recognised Punjab Agricultural University has been converted into a real estate. The Punjab Finance Minister has failed to give pension and other benefits due to PAU employees and pensioners.

The Chief Minister and his colleagues know very well that no regime can deny this benefit in accordance with the rules. They should stop spending crores of rupees on other unnecessary things and give us our legitimate pension.

G.S. GREWAL, Ludhiana


Preserve the 32 diamonds

In his middle, “In spite of my tooth”, Srinivas Joshi has beautifully shown the funny and expensive aspect of dental practice in a very subtle way. There is no questioning his pun, because the dental treatments are expensive and out of reach of poor people, but when compared with foreign countries, treatment in India is much affordable. People even travel to India for dental treatment.

Not considering cost, it’s a general trend in Indians: they tend to mend their dental problems only when pain becomes unbearable. In fact, the ease of dental treatment is inversely proportional to the pain. Lesser the pain, easier the treatment and vice versa.

It was rightly said in the article, “The tooth in your socket is better than the diamond in your pocket”. But more people continue to neglect their earthly diamonds instead of preserving the 32 diamonds, generously gifted to all of us by the Almighty!

Dr ABHIRUCHI KALIA, Dental Surgeon, Anandpur Sahib



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