Politicising the Bharat Ratna

S NIHAL SINGH’s article, Row over Bharat Ratna: Advani politicises top award (Jan 15) is timely. Politicians seeking this award for their party leaders or mentors is to devalue its sanctity.

He has aptly said: “Alternatively, the government could go beyond the world of politics to seek a worthy who has excelled in the service of the country.

This award needs to be bestowed on men and women in the civil services for extraordinary and exemplary work, singers, authors, musicians and doctors. In fact, a person’s work is itself his or her award. In the play, Richard II, Shakespeare writes: “Mine honor is my life”.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)



While maintaining that discreet lobbying for the top honour, usually on behalf of someone, is not unusual, the writer says that Mr L.K. Advani has done his leader and party a disservice by proposing Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name for the award.

While Mr Advani is entitled to give his views, why were no objections raised when politicians of yesteryear were conferred the highest award? Was there no demand from their partymen? Mr Vajpayee’s service to the nation is highly commendable. However, all the proposals need to be examined fairly and an appropriate decision taken.



A few years ago, eminent persons like Dr M.S. Subbalakshmi,  Pandit Ravi Shankar, Bismillah Khan and Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were awarded the Bharat Ratna. Barring a few exceptions, it is only after international institutes and foreign countries rewarded our people that we recognised their  outstanding service.

This year’s award should go to Mr E. Sreedharan, the architect of the Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro. The work executed under his inspiring leadership is unique. Delhi Metro is an epitome of efficiency, punctuality, discipline and highest moral and ethical standards. This will herald the beginning of a new culture.

E.M. ADITHYAN, Edapal (Kerala)

Lok Sabha staff

This has reference to the news report LS Secretariat staff seek redressal of grievances, published in The Tribune December 19, 2007.

The report mentions that the employees are demanding a forum for the redressal of their “longstanding grievances”. The fact is that a redressal mechanism headed by a senior officer of the level of Additional Secretary has been in existence for the past two years.

As regards “longstanding grievances”, the fact is that there is almost a zero-grievance situation in the Secretariat, thanks to the various measures taken by the Speaker and the Secretary-General for improving the career prospects of the employees. As a result of a cadre review undertaken in 2007, the employees got an unprecedented level of benefits.

The report talks about the need to form a “union” of officers and staff to deal with the grievances of the employees. The fact is that the Lok Sabha Employees Association, which is a recognised body of officers and staff, has been in existence for a long time. In fact, the office-bearers are represented on the grievance redressal cell, as well.

The news report also talks about the need to have a selection procedure to be put in place for the selection of Secretary-General. The fact is that there is a rule relating to the selection of the Secretary-General under which the Speaker selects the Secretary-General in consultation with the Leader of the House and the Leader of Opposition. The procedure prescribed in this rule is always followed in respect of the appointment of the Secretary-General.

As regards the appointment of consultants, only in exceptional circumstances, when the services of some retired officers/professionals were perceived to be indispensable – I am sure you will agree that the existence of such a situation is very much possible in every institution (both private and public) — they are freshly brought in as consultants so that the career prospects of the others are not adversely affected.

It is, indeed, unfortunate that a news report which had several factual inaccuracies could find place in a reputed newspaper like The Tribune.

R. N. DAS, Joint Director, Press and Public Relations, Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi


Long wait for tickets

The counters in the Northern Railway Reservation Office at the ISBT, Chandigarh, are always overcrowded. People are forced to wait in serpentine queues for long hours. Though there are many computers, not all are put to use. This has exacerbated the problem and loss of precious man-hours.

To ease congestion, another railway booking office should be opened at the Sector 43 Bus Stand, which is due to become an ISBT shortly. This will help many sectors, including Mohali and other adjoining areas.

Moreover, in addition to the sale of railway tickets by post offices, why not facilitate reservation of tickets through E-Sampark centres? This will help the people immensely.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh 



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