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Don’t raise MPLADS corpus

One cannot but agree with the views expressed in the editorial “Revisit MPLADS: No justification for raising the corpus” (Sept 16) that it is ludicrous on the part of our MPs to ask for an increase from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore under the MPLADS when people are in the favour of abolishing it altogether. More than a three-fold increase in their salaries seems to have whetted their hunger for more moolah.

It is an open secret that the late Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao had introduced this scheme with the sole purpose of making his minority government complete its full term. This bonanza was a kind of incentive, if not a bribe, for the then MPs for not upsetting his applecart. Narasimha Rao fully succeeded in his intended purpose, thanks to our MPs’ habit of lapping up goodies and freebies, no matter from which quarter they came. Not unexpectedly, MPs started seeing their vested interests in the MPLADS and fought not only for its continuation but also for an increase in funds under it from time to time.

Unfortunately, no government at the Centre tried to do away with it because of political reasons. Except a minuscule number of MPs from the Left, all MPs cutting across party lines supported this scheme. This shows that birds of the same feather flock together.

The MPLADS is clearly an encroachment on the domain of the executive. The legislature is there to make policies and the laws and not to implement them. What they should ensure is their proper and timely implementation. They should act only as watchdogs.

There are already media reports of misuse of funds and corruption regarding this scheme. Sometimes our lawmakers spend the money on frivolous and populist projects and schemes just to safeguard and promote their own vote banks, thus wasting the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The government should revisit the MPLADS. Our MPs should not clamour for more privileges and perks when the government is faced with a serious threat to its security internally and externally.


Make roads safer

In India more people die in road accidents than anywhere else in the world. At least 13 people die every hour in road accidents in the country. In 2007, nearly 1.14 lakh people in India lost their lives in road mishaps. Both central and state governments, while pushing for construction of more highways and roads, are doing little to make them safe. Speeding, drunken driving, low use of helmets and seat belts and wrong parking on highways are contributing factors in these fatalities.

With the increase in automobile sale in the country, we need to strengthen the traffic police department and take stringent action against defaulters. Public awareness campaigns related to road safety must gain momentum.

Dr KIRTI DUA, Ludhiana

Save tigers

It is heartening to note that the Indian initiative to save the tiger has come in for some words of praise from PloS Biology Journal (editorial, “Saving the tiger”, Sept 20). The dwindling number of the tigers is a matter of serious concern.

It is imperative that strict punishments are awarded to poachers and smugglers of tiger parts. The Wild Life Act should be followed in letter and spirit and forest guards should be given more powers. Besides dependence upon forests for livelihood should be minimised. General awareness among people needs to be encouraged. Above all as the editorial rightly opined the cost of saving them is nothing as compared to the cost that mankind will have to pay if we lose this species.


Sycophancy culture

The editorial “Sycophancy in Congress” (Sept 14) was thought-provoking and speaks volumes about the lack of inner party democracy. The grand old party should get rid of this ailment.

The state units elect their office bearers through the democratic process. Servility to the Nehru-Gandhi family should not be the sole aim of the Congressmen. Instead, the party should be supreme.

T D BHARDWAJ, Phagwara

Respect teachers

It is shocking to learn that a Class VII student of a Chandigarh school slapped a teacher who pulled him up for not doing his homework. The editorial “A slap most foul” (Sept 11) has rightly observed, “If the law against corporal punishment has made teachers accountable for their actions now it is time students are made to realise that teachers are not paid instructors but their mentors and guide.” It is time the bridge between students and teachers is built through affirmative action.  


Decision on AFSPA

The lucid article “Revisiting AFSPA” (Sep 20) by Gen V P Malik (retd) should easily dispel all misapprehensions regarding the alleged misuse of the so-called “draconian” power in the hands of the Army, while operating in the “disturbed areas” such as Nagaland, Manipur and J&K.

In the ongoing unrest in the valley, ironically it is the politicians themselves who have cleverly chosen to highlight this issue simply to divert public attention from their own acts of “commission” and “omission” which have led to the present pitiable state of “governance deficit” in the state. Unwittingly, they seem to be batting for the nefarious agenda of the separatists and other anti-national elements.

The present Chief of the Army Staff, General V K Singh, too has expressed hope that the government will take a “correct” decision on the AFSPA, which is “an enabling provision” that is “not arbitrary.” In the prevailing politico-strategic environment in the country marred by cross-border terrorism and internal strife due to Naxalism, regional aspirations, political rivalry, etc, the AFSPA is a sine qua non.

As far as human rights violations during the deployment of the Army in counter-insurgency operations are concerned, it needs to be firmly reiterated that our armed forces maintain the highest standards of discipline and restraint. Their record is impeccable. The military law is severe and prompt in dealing with all cases of human rights violations. Hence, there need be no worry on that account!




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