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

Rail Budget unfair to Himachal

As usual, this year too there is nothing in the Railway Budget for our border state of Himachal Pradesh. People and the politicians of all hues of this state are disappointed. Himachal Pradesh, which had been connected with a rail line, may be of narrow gauge, by the British rulers about 100 years ago, has only got crumbs from the Railway Ministry during 67 years of Independence of this great nation.

Only 40 kms of extension of rail track from Nangal to Una is nothing in comparison to the vast development of railways in the rest of the country. This conspicuous neglect could be due the fact that the people of Himachal Pradesh are peace-loving and its representation in Parliament is a negligible — four MPs in the Lok Sabha and three MPs in the Rajya Sabha. And these MPs too have failed to convince the Railway Ministry the necessity of rail connectivity in this state which is solely dependent upon the polluting diesel trucks for transportation of its apples, cement, etc, out of the state for sustenance.

Even after being humbled by China in 1962 in border skirmishes, the Government of India fails to take cognisance of the importance of rail connectivity to this state which has a long international border with China. Apart from being beneficial to the Himachalis, it is strategically important to develop railways in this border state every year because the same cannot be done overnight in case another border conflict similar to that in 1962 erupts suddenly. On the other hand, China has built excellent rail lines in their border area of Tibet.

Can we deduce that a democratic government too remains afflicted with the despotic traits of listening to only the politically powerful, nuisance makers and overlooking the peaceful people?

L R SHARMA, Haripur, Sundernagar

Indians in Malaysia

The stand taken by The Tribune (editorial, March 1) on Indians holding demonstration in Malaysia is not fair. A mere 100 were rounded up and released a little later. Only nine were booked. They might have indulged in vandalism as they do in India. I have personally experienced in Malaysia that Malaysians are more law abiding than we Indians are.

They do not believe in holding demonstrations like “rail roko”, “rasta roko” to get their demands accepted. We in India and particularly in Punjab resort to extreme steps even at the drop of a hat, thereby putting thousands of people to inconvenience.

Prof LAKHA SINGH, Tarn Taran

Learn from Bill Gates

The news report “Corporate social responsibility need of the hour: Ambani” (March 2) deserves to be noticed. Let Ambanis and others in the Indian corporate world learn from Bill Gates of Microsoft who promotes “Creative Capitalism” as a new avatar of “Trusteeship” propounded by the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Indian corporate czars own and maintain their aeroplanes and helicopters whereas Bill Gates travels by regular airline flights to different parts of the world to save his earned money for the cause of humanity and donates millions of dollars.

Bill Gates deserves to be recognised as a true Gandhian and an ambassador of trusteeship and has to be honoured by the Indian government so that the corporate community of India remembers him as a role model.

There is a strong case for, at least, 10 per cent of the profits to be spent as part of the corporate social responsibility on ethical considerations which can certainly be exempted from income tax.

Dr M M GOEL, Seoul, South Korea

Budget’s thrust

An objective study of the 2011-12 Union Budget supports the views expressed in the editorial “Budget takes on food prices” (March 1). The thrust of the budget is on the social sector, education, health, women, children, housing, minorities, Anganwari workers, NREGA workers and soldiers suffering 100 per cent disability. Senior citizens and salaried class have been given special attention. Education and health will get more than the last year. Higher spending on infrastructure is also welcome. Credit flow to farmers has been increased. Farmers who will pay their loans in time will have to pay 3-4 per cent lower interest.

Special provision of Rs 300 crore each for pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and nutria-cereals like millet and maize has been made to boost their production and productivity. Budget-provisions are there to prevent the wastage of food items. It is hoped that the National Food Security Bill will soon get its due place. The BPL people will get cash subsidies on kerosene, LPG and fertilizers.

Dis-investment in the PSUs is on the agenda. But, the expected rise in crude prices may pose problems.



In the Union Budget there is no respite from continuing inflation as the budget provides for additional service tax on hotel accommodation above Rs.1,000 per day, A/C restaurants serving liquor, some category of hospitals, and diagnostic tests. Air travel both domestic and international has been increased.

As nominal central excise duty of 1 per cent has been imposed on 130 items whatever little relief is there on the income tax will be offset by an increase in other essential items. The net purchasing power with middle class shall be much lower than pre-budget provisions. The basic exemption limit in the case of individual taxpayers has been raised by Rs 20,000 (from Rs.1,60,000 to Rs.1,80,000) which is negligible. Though a higher exemption limit of Rs five lakhs to senior citizens above the age of 80 years is welcome, it would have been better if they were totally exempted from the income tax.



I take strong objection to the news report “SJVN’s chief MD removed” (Feb 27). The word “removed” is uncalled for. In fact, I have successfully completed my full tenure in SJVN and served the company in the best way I could. Instead of using the word “removed”, the expression “extension not granted” would have been appropriate.

Also I was never under the CVC scanner and there have been no financial irregularities done by me as alleged in the report. The corporation has gradually gained and progressed to international standards during my tenure as its CMD. My entire career has been outstanding. The news report has damaged my reputation and has caused mental stress not only to me but to my entire family, relations and friends.

H K SHARMA, Ex-Chairman and Managing Director,
Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd.



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