Punjab’s woes: what needs to be done

Dr Birinder Pal Singh’s article, “What ails Punjab’s economy” and former Lieutenant General Harwant Singh’s piece “High time for harsh decisions” (Sunday Oped, Jan 20) portray Punjab’s poor financial, social and environmental health. Punjab once had the highest per capita income in the country. It has now come down to fifth spot in GDP.

Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are way ahead of Punjab. Its treasury is almost empty and education, health and civic services are in a deplorable state. One has to just visit any of the cities and towns to come across the civic chaos with the ever-increasing population of people and vehicles without any improvement whatsoever.

It is indeed sad to learn that revenue collection from all sectors in Punjab is far less than Haryana. This only points to poor management and rampant corruption.

It is time the political leadership took some hard decisions to resuscitate the state’s financial health by doing away with various freebies. Alongside, special attention should be given to school education, primary healthcare and civic facilities to improve the quality of life of the people, particularly the rural poor.

H. S. SANDHU, Mohali



Harwant Singh’s article is an eye-opener for the people of Punjab. Its GDP growth is only 4.5 per cent while neighboring states are three times ahead. Punjab’s debt burden is to the tune of Rs 52000 crore and is still mounting day by day. Yet, the ruling coalition leaders and representatives concentrate on massive propaganda blitzkrieg at the cost of development.

I agree with the view that Punjab’s students are not doing well in IMA. Today, IMA has just 17 Punjabi cadets out of the total 600.

With mounting subsidies, Punjab is heading for economic disaster. Only a statesman of Sardar Partap Singh Kairon’s stature can bail out the state.



The two articles throw enough light on the state of affairs in Punjab. Its Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has rightly acknowledged the differences between what his ministerial colleagues are saying and doing.

As regards the state-run schools and hospitals, the leaders cannot dupe people with populist sops any more. The issue is very serious and drastic measures are necessary to save the state from the brink of disaster.

Amidst the current boom of globalisation and cut throat competition, the state government needs to review its polices and priorities for the betterment of all sections of society.

Spending money on building Adarsh schools would be a heavy burden on the state exchequer. Instead, the government should plan to renovate the existing schools and hospitals. It will save precious funds and scarce resources. The government should also evolve a transparent and scientific selection criteria for teachers and remove all the existing bottlenecks in the education system. Only then, we can achieve the motto, ‘Raj nahin seva’.

RAVINDER GILL, GNK College, Abohar


Dr Birinder Pal Singh is miles away from reality; he is living in a fool’s paradise when he expects miracles from the present leadership. The tragedy of politics is that power brokers are capturing the system irrespective of political or religious affiliations. Public confidence in politicians’ honesty, dedication and sincerity has been fast eroding because once elected, politicians act as rulers instead of public servants.

It is the poor and average citizen that emerges bruised and bears the maximum brunt of the collapsing system and poor and inefficient governance. Until there is basic honesty, dedication and the will to deliver the goods, the slogan ‘Raj nahin sewa’ will remain a distant dream.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

Stray dogs as trustworthy watchdogs

I read the three letters under the caption, “Helping stray dogs” (Jan 20) in response to my letter “Adopt stray dogs” (Jan 13). We should not mingle the issue to adoption of stray dogs with the adoption of poor street children in slums who more often remain without meals. There are so many problems having their own priorities.

It is wrong to say that stray dogs in no way contribute to the ecology or wellbeing of human race. The stray dogs are known scavengers and predators. They keep rats and other rodents in check. Apart from being trustworthy watchdogs, they play an important role in the urban cycle of the nature. They protect community as chowkidars and pest controllers.

The speedy proliferation of rats, if not controlled by dogs, will be disastrous. Even after the strict implementation of dog’s population control, it will take years to check their population and still the dogs will not stop biting. The real solution lies in the adoption of stray dogs and watchdogs in factories, farmhouses and police stations and as pet in houses at least by animal lovers. Local bodies and NGOs should ensure their sterilisation, vaccination and treatment free of cost.




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