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

Raw deal for old pensioners

While the defence personnel and the police are up in arms with the Centre over the raw deal meted out to them by the Sixth Pay Commission, even the B, C and D cadres in all the departments including the Railways are deeply disappointed. If one carefully works out the 40 per cent fitment on the basic pension as on January 1, 1996, the net gain for pensioners will be hardly 25 per cent! Though pensioners’ problems start soon after retirement, the pay panel has not increased their monthly medical allowance which at present stands at a paltry Rs 100.

Moreover, the Sixth Pay Commission did not take up the pending recommendations for consideration. These include restoration of commutation after 12 years instead of 15 years, 1 per cent increase in pension for those who have rendered more than 33 years of service. Where as for future pensioners, the commission has set aside the condition of 33 years straightaway and 50 per cent of basic pay as pension after 20 years of service.

The Fifth Pay Commission had made full parity for pensioners as on January 1, 1986. The Sixth Pay Commission should have given full parity as on January 1, 1996, if not on January 1, 2006.

In this age of high inflation and skyrocketing prices, the pay commission has not rendered any justice to old pensioners. The 40 per cent fitment formula should be on the total pension on January 1, 2006 or at least from January 1, 2004 when 50 per cent of dearness relief was considered as dearness pay.


Unfortunately, the Sixth Pay Commission has not considered how much dearness allowance/ dearness relief should be paid after January 1, 2006. It is not clear whether the present slabs would continue or the Centre would work out a new formula.

SHER SINGH, Chairman, N. Rly Pensioners’ Welfare Assn., Ludhiana

Cobbling together a Cabinet

If Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat manages to hold on to his thorny chair till June 8, he will have completed a year in office but with no reason for celebration. A year on and he is still cobbling together a Cabinet. His team has been the most divisive in Goa’s history. Everyone wants to be a minister and all are squabbling for plum portfolios. As Mr Kamat is pre-occupied with safeguarding his chair, much to the distress of the aam aadmi, Goa’s administration has come to a grinding halt with all major issues conveniently put on hold. We have only seen a flood of hollow assurances and a host of foundation stones being laid.

To keep his cabinet colleagues and MLAs in good spirit, the Chief Minister has even allowed them to travel freely across the world on every pretext possible. Mr Kamat himself has been air-dashing to every religious shrine possible. The Chief Minister has survived every attempt to topple his government.


Tackle it firmly

Over 15 million tonnes of rice stubble and around 5 million tonnes of wheat stubble are burnt each year in Punjab alone. This causes several respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis.

I fail to understand why the Punjab government the not doing anything serious on this issue. It has never made any serious attempt to check this practice. The DCs should be asked to tackle this menace firmly.

Stubble burning has robbed Punjab’s fields of 38 lakh tonnes of organic carbon, 59,000 tonnes of nitrogen, 2, 000 tonnes of phosphorus and 34,000 tonnes of potassium. This is a huge loss for the state and yet, the government is not simply bothered about it. What a pity!

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Passing the buck

We are second to none in looking for scapegoats for our failures. The bitter half (sorry, better half!) says life is hell without electricity. The husband says that life is hell at home and office. The kids are fed up with schooling. The worker (or shirker) says that he is threatened with layoff because his employer does not get enough power to run the shifts.

Industrialists say that if they had had enough power, they would have been able to step up annual production. The poor farmer says that the rain has failed and he is not able to get diesel to his pumpset. He blames the government for the mess. And the government passes the buck from one department to another. Thus the vicious circle goes on.

D. V. JOSHI, Bartana (Zirakpur)

Warm reception

During a visit to Lahore, we were touched by the treatment we received from the common people. Our team comprised two Sikhs and we were instantly recognised as Indian Punjabis. Children, young and old, all took pride in shaking hands with us and talking to us. Even some women did not hesitate to make queries. Policemen went of the way to help us.

In a market in Lahore, a group of 10-12 MBBS students almost forcibly took us to a restaurant and served us dinner. Knowing that we were teachers, they embraced and photographed us.

The people of Pakistan have a burning desire to visit India. If some day an announcement is made allowing citizens to visit each other’s country freely, till the time we keep on thinking about the consequences of such a decision, young boys and girls from Lahore will reach Bollywood to meet their favourite actors.

J. P. GARG, Chandigarh



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