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

Need for new comprehensive disability law

The members of the committee for drafting new legislation for persons with disabilities are quite right in demanding a new comprehensive law (news report by Aditi Tandon, Dec 24). The general principles of social jurisprudence, supported by various judicial decisions, require that the rights and facilities already available to any disadvantaged section of society can never be taken away while bringing about any new law.

The disabled persons are the most marginalized and neglected section and they are vulnerable to all sorts of discrimination and are often deprived of their basic human rights. Hence, the already available rights and facilities under the 1995 Act have to remain intact. Rather these have to be strengthened and made more transparent.

The 1995 Act has to be made the basis for the new law. Various provisions proposed by the Ministry in the draft amendments posted on its website along with the proposed six laws drafted by the committee should be integrated through the process of deletions and additions, to make the present Act more comprehensive, in a new form. The other Disability Laws like The National Trust Act, The Mental Health Act, etc. should remain intact.

MANJIT SINGH, IAS officer (retd), Chandigarh

Food inflation

Despite high rate of economic growth the common people have not had any respite from increasing prices of food items since 2009. Onions became costlier than even apples. In winter season, potato is always expected to be available in the market at cheap rates but this winter has seen a spurt in its price. Pulses have gone beyond the purchasing capacity of the common people for the last two years costing between Rs 60 to Rs 100 per kg.

The editorial “Rampant food inflation” (Dec 25) has rightly pointed out that tomato, milk, edible oil, egg, meat and fish prices too are on the rise. Our policy makers in the South Block have been extending the dates of bringing down the prices of different food items and vegetables since the last drought, which had hit the country in the summer of 2009. At the time of drought, they told the nation that because of the poor performance of the monsoon, the prices of essential commodities had gone berserk.

This time they say the raging floods have destroyed the vegetable crops. These are meaningless lame excuses to hide their utter failure in controlling the speculation in the market and hoarding of food items by the traders.

It is odious on the part of the rulers to declare to the media from the rooftop that India has been registering a growth rate of 9 per cent for the last few years. These boastful claims have failed to alleviate the sufferings of the common people. Our Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission must know that the Arjunsen Gupta Committee Report has categorically told this nation that 77 per cent of the Indians have only Rs 20 per day to survive. In my opinion, our policy makers’ claim of high economic growth looks ridiculous if we take a close look at the grassroots situation.

The hoarders and speculators have made staggering profits whereas the
common people have been combating the rising prices by cutting down expenses on health and housing. During the last two years, politicians and bureaucrats have not spared any thought for alleviating the sufferings of the poor. It is a common impression now among the common people that some of our leading politicians own sugar mills and big agricultural farms and they have been pursuing agri-business vigorously. Such powerful people do not seem to be very keen on controlling the prices of essential food items and vegetables. We must not forget that once the BJP lost the Assembly elections because of a spurt in the price of onions and this time it may be the turn of the Congress if it fails to bring down the soaring prices of onion, which touched a high of Rs 80 per kg.


Right to service

The editorial “Govts must deliver” (Dec 3) has aptly called the “Right to Service” Bill a novel idea. After Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s landslide victory in the elections, people were eagerly awaiting his innovative schemes.

The “Right to Service” Bill which will ensure the smooth functioning of the delivery system of public utility services ranging from providing power connection to issuing of caste and birth certificates in a time bound limit will surely help the common people.


Corruption menace

Rajan Kashyap’s article “It’s too deep a malaise” (Dec 23), pointed at the rot of corruption to which all organs of parliamentary democracy in India have succumbed. The land of saints, sages, warriors, martyrs and prophets has been sullied by the slanderous acts of our leaders, bureaucrats and police.

In Punjab, the Akali Dal-BJP alliance made corruption a poll manifesto, but they miserably failed to tame the monster that is engulfing it one way or the other with the result that private bus operators are flourishing at the cost of government transport as well as the commuters.


Sustainable development

The editorial “Growth, but at what cost?” (Dec 8) explained the real threat to ecology by cement plants that comes at a rather high price of environmental pollution. Here the problem is politics. We know that for the development of the state, these projects are a must and the destruction of forest and wildlife disturbances are imminent. The government should go ahead with these projects, however, with minimum confrontation with nature.

A.S. ANAND, Ludhiana

Whither Punjab

The article “Bleeding Punjab white” (Dec 8) by Upinder Sawhney has aptly analysed the economic situation of Punjab. Though militancy has led to the decline of our economy, no government has tried to revive it. I fully agree that politicians only give excuses but none of them have tried to free Punjab from economic clutches.

The successive state governments have only favoured populist policies rather then those that are beneficial to the people. Haryana has prospered well due to its strategic location as well as appreciable efforts made by the state government in the field of sports as well as in providing employment opportunities to the youth. On the other hand our youth has fallen prey to drugs. So, Punjab government should change its attitude and work for the betterment of state to make it a prosperous state.


Traffic woes

The holy city of Amritsar faces traffic jams everyday. The traffic chaos in every nook and corner of the city has become a routine feature. Due to this, people are seen shouting and fighting with one another in the city. Moreover, an unwanted diversion of 2-3 km has been created by policeman at Kitchlu Chowk. 

Despite repeated reports in almost all newspapers of Punjab regarding traffic chaos in Amritsar city, no action has been taken by the administration. The problem of traffic jams is aggravated during VIP visits when the Bhandari bridge is closed. I request the administration to take effective measures to curb traffic chaos in the city as the traffic situation in the walled city has become worse than that in Delhi.


Saving Chandigarh

The editorial “Enough is enough!” (Dec 17) made a piquant comment on the impending ruination of the “City Beautiful” if Tata Towers get built, and rightly urged that “The Centre must intervene and save Chandigarh”.

The Tribune’s crucial crusade (Nov 17) awakened the citizenry to fight this monster which threw to the winds all business ethics. Before long the subject was talk of the town and everyone joined hands to carry forward the campaign to its logical end.

Another remarkable thing was that architects and planners were unanimous in condemning the action of all those involved in the towering travesty of creativity and character. The Tribune is, indeed, “Voice of the People”.

Dr SS BHATTI, Former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh 



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