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Misery caused by rain is preventable

The editorial “Rain of misery: Poor governance, corruption exposed” (Aug 23) has detailed the reasons behind floods inundating Punjab and other states. The blocking of the natural course of water is the main reason for the deluge. The land mafia has grabbed large tracts of land for commercial use with overt and covert support of our leaders. The irony is that such illegal activities are still going on without any let-up or hindrance.

Our leaders must be aware that monsoons are an annual phenomenon and do not come out of the blue. The state governments should have readied themselves well in advance to cope with the flood situation in case of excessive rains. Prevention is always better than cure. But our leaders become wise only with hindsight and that too for a short while.

Our leaders’ reflex response to any natural calamity is to hop on to helicopters and aeroplanes for an aerial survey as if the media reports are not enough to know the extent of the loss of human life and property in the disaster. They also lose no time to give financial help to selective victims here and there in the full glare of publicity. Politicians have no compunction in cashing in on people’s difficulties for their political ends.

Instead of blaming every misfortune on God or nature, the powers that be should have the ability to face the unforeseen situation bravely and calmly. Rising to the occasion under all odds is what is expected from an effective and responsive government.


One-sided report

The news report “Round Table Conference: Bill on higher education opposed” (Aug 14) was one-sided. I was an active participant at the conference attended by only 16 persons. No resolution of the kind cited in the news report was either proposed or passed and no unanimity of views was there. Some educationists expressed opposite views also.

I appreciated the well-meaning efforts of Mr Kapil Sibal in bringing about uniformity and standardisation in higher education and supported the idea of constituting a registry of vice-chancellors at the national level.

My contention that vice-chancellors in Punjab have been appointed on the whims of chief ministers was actually seconded by a former vice-chancellor present there. Only one serving and one former vice-chancellor attended the conference.

J P GARG, Chandigarh

Safety of Sikhs

It is a matter of concern that the anti-Indian elements in the Kashmir valley are issuing threats to the Sikh minority either to embrace Islam or get out of the valley (editorial, “Communal designs : J&K must ensure minorities’ safety”, Aug. 23 ). The strategy of the separatists, being aided and abetted by the ISI from Pakistan, is to purge the valley of all other communities and then dictate terms to the government. Firstly, they hounded Kashmiri Pandits out of the valley and now they are targeting the Sikh community. It is Pakistan which is fomenting trouble in Kashmir and keeping the valley burning till it disengages itself in Afghanistan.

It is a happy augury that the businessmen in the valley, who had suffered losses in the street fights, are now up in revolt against the stone throwers (news report, “Now stones reverse swing in the Valley”, Aug. 24 ). It is time the state government struck hard on terrorists. The media should also highlight people’s resentment against terrorists.

R M RAMAUL, Paonta sahib


The Tribune has raised a voice for safeguarding the lives of Sikhs settled in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier 35 Sikhs were killed in March 2000 in Anantnag district. Later on six Sikhs were massacred in Srinagar.

Mere statements shall not serve any purpose. Sikhs are known for their hard work and patriotism. Security arrangements should be tightened.

Prof J B S NANDA, Ludhiana

Ghaggar’s scourge

In response to my article titled “The scourge of Ghaggar” (Aug 10) Mr Ram Niwas Malik has made some observations in his letter (Aug 21). I would like to clarify the position. I agree with his first observation that it is not possible to store 4 MAF of water in the big four dams. In my article I had talked about a combined capacity of one MAF for all the four dams. However, the word “each” has been added and that has raised the water to be stored from 1 MAF to 4 MAF.

Mr Malik has disputed the quantum of water. If he reads my article carefully I have talked about water not just in the Ghaggar but the entire Shivalik hill areas of Haryana and have made a pointed reference to the Sirsa river that flows into the Satluj and not into the Ghaggar. And like the Kaushalya river, water in the Sirsa river is quite considerable and storage dams can also be constructed.

As the Chairman of the Shivalik Development Agency, I had surveyed the whole area on foot except the area of the Markanda river, and had spearheaded the move for the construction of a big dam on the Kaushalya river. I retired in 2004 but I am glad that the dam is nearing completion. It would be appreciated if the Irrigation Department could undertake big dams on the Tangri, Ghaggar and Sirsa rivers and a series of small dams need to be constructed in the hills by other agencies.

Our engineers require detailed tours of these hills on foot to appreciate the capacity of this area to hold water.

B R LALL, IPS (retd), Gurgaon



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