L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

No pension for PAU pensioners

Noted economist Dr S.S. Johl has rightly appealed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to consider the agony of 2,700 pensioners of Ludhiana’s Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) who have not been paid their pension for over a couple of months for want of funds from the university.

The agricultural universities, including PAU, Ludhiana, were established in early sixties of the last century on the pattern of land grant universities of the US in pursuance of recommendations of the Second Joint Indo-American Team to boost agricultural research, education and extension education in India. These functions used to be the statutory responsibility of the state’s Agriculture department.

These were also funded well by the state government prior to the formation of PAU, Ludhiana, in December 1962. The provision of allocation of funds for agricultural purposes of the State Agriculture department in the state budget for remaining part of the financial year 1962-63 was transferred to the university in the form of grants.

The grants were given to the university for performing statutory function of Agriculture department as it is a service department unlike other commercial departments like Transport, Electricity, Printing and Stationery. Agriculture department still continues to remain a service organisation and not a commercial organisation and as such the state government is legally and morally bound to meet the financial liability of its retired employees like state government pensioners. The university’s contribution for the economic development of the state is well known.

M.R. BALI, Comptroller (retd), (PAU), Ludhiana


Waiting for toll tax relief

The National Highways Authority of India, Union Ministry of Surface Transport, vide letter No. NHAI/CMV/GMA off/exempt/ toll tax/1166 dated November 17, 2006, has exempted the ex-servicemen and their family members from payment of toll tax. However, the state governments have not yet implemented the directive.

The ex-servicemen and their dependants living in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are the most affected. The Chief Ministers of these states should inform the public the reasons for denial of ex-servicemen’s entitlement to them or immediately announce the existing exemption meant for them.

ECHS cards issued to the retired defence personnel and their dependants by the military authorities should be deemed as valid identity cards for this purpose.


Uniformity needed

Public Provident Fund  (PPF) is a popular Central post office scheme. Deposits are taken with the post offices as well as the branches of State Bank of India and its associate banks. Strangely, on withdrawal of deposits from PPF account, the bank deducts 1 per cent of the amount on account of cash handling charges or on other pleas.

However, the post office does not deduct anything and gives full amount to the account holder. Pursuance of two different policies for the same account by the Post Office and banks puzzles the investor. There is need for uniformity and this anomaly must be rectified.  

SANJEEV KUMAR GARG, Rampura Phul (Bathinda)

Divert the fund

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to spend a whopping Rs 97 lakh on the construction of a new block in Raj Bhavan for offices of the Under Secretary and Section Officer. The Governor’s house already occupies a large space to house its establishment. Moreover, it can use any other edifice to organise any function or seminar. The estimated cost will definitely increase by the time the project is completed.

Himachal Pradesh is a fund-starved state and the money being spent on the current project could have been diverted for any other development work like having a parking place, drinking water scheme and sanitation.


Incorrect report

The news item, "Ban on foodgrain exports may go” (May 17) quotes me as saying that “the CCEA would review the foodgrain availability in the domestic market, and then lift the ban on export of rice and wheat.” This is incorrect. When I was asked whether the government would remove the ban/restrictions on the export of foodgrains in view of the bumper wheat harvest, I had stated the following:

First, the government has to view and assess the situation keeping in view not only the interests of exports, but also of the domestic consumer, particularly the weaker sections of society. This is both in respect of availability of the foodgrains as well as the price.

And secondly, the government regularly reviews at the highest level the position regarding the demand/supply and prices of essential commodities, including foodgrains, and an appropriate decision is taken depending upon the assessment made by the said committees.

I had stated the same position before the exporters in the Open House Meet as well as during the discussions with the press after the Meet. It is not for me as a bureaucrat to say what decision the government would take in meetings of CCEA/CCP.

R.S. GUJRAL (IAS), Director-General, Foreign Trade, Govt. of India, New Delhi



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |