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Civil services dogged by corruption

In the articles “Sloth, corruption dog civil services” by Shailaja Chandra and “IAS: Shake it out of stupor” by Rajan Kashyap (Aug 7), the two former senior members of the IAS have indicted the premier service of the country. I endorse their views with anguish and dismay. The politician — bureaucrat — businessman nexus has emasculated the polity with bad governance marked by colonial, corrupt and callous administration and with little hope of improvement.

Corruption has now gone to the marrow of the system and the cosmetic law on prevention of corruption along with the vigilance appendages have come a cropper. Corruption has been institutionalised. The Lok Ayuktas, wherever in place, are by and large toothless entities.

Ms Chandra has called for the adoption of the Indonesian model to stem the rot in the system. But who will do it? The political-bureaucratic and corporate elite is a beneficiary of the corrupt system. The ruling elite is ingenious and that is why superannuated and pliable bureaucrats usually head the Information Commissions set up under the RTI Act.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030. Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com

— Editor-in-Chief

As for the middle class, it has compromised with the corrupt system and chattering classes are fully content with their indifferent, cynical and compromising conduct. The masses are engaged in waging a struggle for survival and eking out a living.

I am afraid the country will go downhill in the years to come despite our tall claims of being a vibrant democracy and an emerging world power economically. Corruption has to be fought at political, bureaucratic and corporate levels simultaneously.



The articles were not only interesting but also show that our bureaucrats suddenly become wiser once they superannuate. Besides, they never take blame for anything amiss in the service but always shift the blame to others. Invariably, they blame subalterns of the services — candidates from a humble background who work hard to make it to the civil services. Ms Chandra censures the ‘children of once deprived families’ who make it to the coveted and exclusive club of superior bureaucracy which she appears to claim as an exclusive turf of hers and her ilk.

The Cabinet Secretary and the Chief Secretary are the perceived heads of the bureaucracy at the Centre and in the states respectively. They are not only supposed to lead but also mentor and shield their officers from undue political and extraneous pressures. It is the experience of the young officers that their leaders in service fail to protect them; rather they advise them to comply with the wishes of political bosses. Dissent is not only resented but a dissenter is also dubbed as a troublemaker.

BODHI RAM, Chandigarh

Mamata’s misdemeanour

The UPA Government has a special kind of ‘mamta’ (affection) for Ms Mamata Banerjee. Whatever she may do her actions are not frowned upon. She sits away from the seat of governance (Delhi) and is allowed to camp in Kolkata. She sides with the Maoists, yet invites no censure. It is the compulsion of coalition politics.

Dr S.C. DOHROO, Palampur

Online editions

The long delay in launching the online editions of Dainik Tribune and Punjabi Tribune was being construed as an inexplicable bias against these languages. The repeated talk of the ‘power’ of the regional language press, at seminars and in editorials, always used to sound as hollow as political promises. The Tribune has done a yeoman’s service by giving this a practical shape. This endeavour would be remembered as The Tribune’s big leap towards the promotion of fair journalism in the region.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

Commonwealth Games

We should focus on how to the make the Commonwealth Games a grand success in order to enhance the country’s prestige in the world. Sadly we are bent upon destroying it by raising an issue which could have waited.

Heavens won’t fall if the issue of corruption is deferred. After the conclusion of the Games, we should demand harsh punishment for those who always look for a chance to barter away the country’s wealth for selfish ends.


Taming the Ghaggar

The article “The scourge of Ghaggar” by B R Lal (Aug 10) was timely though it is based on some misconceptions. A total flow of 6 MAF or storage of 4 MAF is impossible due to the lack of storage space and low height of hills. The Ghaggar is in spate once in five to 10 years. Flood damage is caused mostly due to the breach of embankments or the absence of these in certain known stretches of Patiala, Sangrur, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts.

One way to tame the river is to build strong embankments in the vulnerable reaches. Both the Punjab and Haryana governments talk of storage dams in the Ghaggar river basin. The Kaushlya Dam is nearing completion. Tangri has no space in the hills. The possible submergence of Nahan-Paunta Sahib road prevents the construction of a dam across the Markanda river. There is a place for building a dam across Ghaggar just upstream of the stone crushers zone.

But the problem with these reservoirs will be of heavy silting as in case of Sukhna lake because of the nature of the Shivalik hills. Fortunately, the flow of the Ghaggar is entirely absorbed in the sand dunes of Rajasthan to check desertification. Notwithstanding the damage in individual villages the flood water of the Ghaggar does improve the nutrient contents of the soil and improve the quality of underground aquifer. It would be ideal if detention basins are built along the banks and flood water is fed to the underground through water harvesting tubewells.

RAM NIWAS MALIK, Engineer-in-Chief (Retd), Gurgaon



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