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Eco-sensitive zones for wildlife

This refers to the news item “Tougher norms to protect wildlife parks” (January 22). The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) deserve credit for formulating fresh guidelines to speed up creation of eco-sensitive zones which are essentially required to protect the sanctuaries and national parks. For want of specification of eco-sensitive zone, the life of thousands of the wild animals is in jeopardy. This speaks of mismanagement and lack of security in the wild life habitats which are increasingly getting encroached.

The nexus between poachers, officials and locals is to be blamed for the ever increasing wild life crimes in India. The series of felonies committed by the poachers are astounding.

The encroachment of forest land in the recent decades has reduced the carrying capacity of animals living in the wild thereby forcing them to stray into villages and towns earning the wrath of people who mercilessly beat them to death. The recent killings of straying leopards is a testimony to this fact.

The stay on Tata Camelot Project and issue of direction for integration of the Master Plan paves the way for declaring entire catchments area of the Sukhana Lake as an eco-sensitive zone. All credit goes to The Tribune for taking up the issue with rare tenacity and doggedness. Now the onus lies on the committees to be formed in each state for suggesting result oriented methods to manage eco sensitive zones. The present lack of security in wildlife sanctuaries, mismanaged habitats and crippled enforcement staff should well be taken in to account by the committee. It is our moral imperative to give dignity, respect and natural surroundings which nature has allotted to wild animals.


Swift action

The editorial ‘The cancer is spreading: Lt-Gen Rath pays for his impropriety’ (January 24) rightly commends the Army for its swift action against wrongdoers. It is a clear message to others regarding strict punishment to all those indulging in corrupt practices. It will be an effective step towards cleaning up of the internal health of the Army.

The no-objection certificate issued improperly and without authority should also be cancelled so that undue advantage is not derived from it. An investigation should also be carried out regarding the considerations in return of which the certificate was given. The benefits illegally accrued should also be accounted for and recovered from all the offenders.

Similar pending cases may be finalised quickly which will raise the morale of all honest servicemen and improve the sagging image of the organisation.


Power reforms

The Badal government is trying to earn maximum mileage on power reforms front. Steps taken towards making the state power surplus will perhaps be its main poll slogan in the next elections. Many projects have been initiated in the state. The tardy progress of these projects may lead to their not coming up on committed dates, yet the projects once started are likely to be commissioned. That’s a relief!

Another step that the Punjab Government took was to break PSEB into two corporations. As per press reports, these corporations are trying to be consumer oriented, ushering in video conferencing, customer care centres etc. That’s again a relief.

The Punjab Government, however, faltered in not providing a clean slate to the two corporations to lease a new life to them and to allow them to make a fresh start. The corporations may, therefore, not be fully successful in achieving what these intend to.

What the Punjab Government should do now is to immediately evolve a financial restructuring plan to ensure commercial viability of the two corporations. Once this is done, the reforms might yield awesome results.


Governor in a hurry

Slightly differing with the editorial “Governor in a hurry: Exercise the power of sanction judiciously” (January 24), I would like to say that both Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurrapa are to blame equally for the showdown and the war of words over the charges of corruption and nepotism against the latter.

While Bhardwaj has acted at the behest of his political masters in Delhi by issuing a sanction for prosecuting Yeddyurappa, the BJP was diverting the public attention from his wrongdoings by terming them immoral but not illegal. It used all aces up its sleeve to prevent a judicial enquiry against its Chief Minister.

Because of the new situation, the BJP’s creditability is now at stake. It cannot afford to obfuscate openly the Lokayukta enquiry against Yeddyurappa as otherwise people will take its campaign against corruption targeted at the Congress as hypocrisy. Per force it will have to let the law take its course.

At the same time, the Congress should expect more broadsides from the BJP. The BJP, hoisted by its own petard, will now not let the Congress have a cake and eat it too. It will try to rub the Congress’s nose in it. The coming days will, therefore, witness more of jousting between the two parties. Who will have a last laugh will be a million dollar question.


Plan urbanisation for growth

In your perceptive editorial “Unplanned urbanisation: India unprepared for growth” (January 17) you have cogently built a case in the favour of far-sighted thinking entailing “funding, governance and planning” which should hopefully startle the powers-that-be from their unending deep slumber. Urbanisation is inevitable and must be planned compulsorily at the Centre to accommodate the village residents driven by the push-pull forces out of the villages in search of “opportunities for a better lifestyle”. However, in our country, while the power-drunk politicians are giddy-headed, the confusion of planners and economists is confounded by overbearing bureaucrats.

My contention is partly supported by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman who tersely observed in his eye-opening lecture last year: “We’re living in a dark age of macroeconomics…Economists themselves are confused.” The Le Corbusier dictum that “Good urbanism sells” stands proven by the heady success of the great Chandigarh experiment.

I suggest we go in for a massive urbanisation enterprise by marking a grid of 100 kilometres on the national map to locate future cities. We will need 1,600 urban centres of Chandigarh-size to urbanise the entire country. Building 40 cities at 25-year interval will engage us in a socially-beneficent activity, including economic growth, for one full millennium. I urge the Prime Minister, an economist by profession, to consider this idea seriously. Piecemeal projects, however well-intentioned, will never bear the fruit the political parties keep parroting in their election manifestoes.

Dr SS BHATTI, Chandigarh



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