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Anna issue: PM’s criticism unfair

I read with interest Mr Kuldip Nayar’s article, “The Anna Hazare Challenge: Where Congress went wrong” (September 2), with a tinge of disappointment. Mr Nayar undoubtedly wields a facile pen and has the potential to sway his readers the way he likes. However, in the process at times he, wittingly or unwittingly, sacrifices objectivity and fair play. In this case, the eminent writer seems to have tilted the scales against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s handling of the position quite unfairly.

Under the country’s democratic structure, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had perforce to take along with him the ruling coalition’s chairperson, the Cabinet and above all, Parliament. Mr Manmohan Singh handled the ticklish situation remarkably well.

For the rabble-rousers it is easy to incite the inflammable youth to noisy demonstrations against any volatile issue; it is, however, difficult to ignite in the young minds the eternal flame of idealism. The desideratum calls for a relentless collective effort at all levels, especially in the temples of learning, failing which it will remain an ever-receding cry!

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Telephone service

My phone no. 2267276 at House no. 833 Phase –VII, Mohali, is out of order for the last one and a half months. A complaint was lodged on 26th of July vide complaint no. 1004409374.Vigorous follow-ups have been done with the JTO, the SDO, the SDE and the GM, but with no result.

The department is spending huge public money on publicity. What can they expect with such poor services? Action must be taken against the erring person.


Defining corruption

Every Indian is bearing the brunt of price rise and corruption. The issue of corruption took centre stage when Anna Hazare came to Delhi. He and his vociferous brigade have been living with it for the past more than six decades. Nobody doubts their concern. But, what about their intentions and motives? It is an irony that the 74-year-old Gandhian is looking for a panacea to eradicate corruption.

"Bhrastachar" (corruption) is a deviant behaviour of the human mind. When we call someone a "pathbhrasht" (corrupt), it means a person who has deviated from the right path. This type of mental frame leads to corrupt actions. That is called "bhrastachar" or corruption. The lawmakers must, therefore, consider the scope of definition of corruption while legislating so as to bring within the ambit of law every type of corruption that endangers the society.

It is also sad to notice that a weak government, which is a corollary to coalition politics, is trying to stick to the chair while being flogged like a dead horse by all and sundry. Here too the behaviour of the Opposition was not desirable. Does it all show that the sovereign State's apparatus has lost its moral force to enforce its will to ensure the vibrant democratic functioning of the government in our parliamentary system?

Recently, television channels have gone overboard to present to the people of the country and the world that India is in turmoil. The freedom of expression, let them be reminded, carries with it a great responsibility to act as a moral force and helps in channelising public opinion for the strength and prosperity of the nation, and not for eroding the faith of the people in the democratic institutions. This type of behaviour takes the dangerous route from democracy to mobocracy.

Let it be assured that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has done his duty well. The position of India's Prime Minister, representing the will of more than 120 crore of people, is not for humiliation. It hurts the psyche of this proud nation.

TEK CHAND, H.A.S (retd), Abada Barana, Una (Distt)

Army’s role

A soldier is trained to shoot, kill and destroy. It will be prudent on the part of the government not to expect any other role from the Army. There is a need to have strong political will to take tough decisions so as to find a solution, which the Army has not been able to find, in the Kashmir valley even after three decades. A soldier can shoot down militants; don't expect him to build bridges to heal the wounds of the bullets. This peacekeeping initiative will take the killer instinct out of the Indian soldier, which he needs during a war. The police should be used for maintaining law and order in peacetime, for they are not trained to kill. It takes years of training to make the Army jawan ready to sacrifice his life for the country.


Teesta failure 

The news item, “Teesta pact hits choppy waters” (September 6), does not give the details of the dispute.  The Teesta originates from the upper hills of Sikkim and travels through West Bengal to join the river Brahmaputra, 134 km inside Bangladesh. According to the present agreement, 36% flow has been allocated to Bangladesh, 39% to India and 25% remains unallocated.  It was agreed that the remaining 25% flow should be allocated on a 50-50 basis, giving 52% to India and 48% to Bangladesh.  But this arrangement was slightly modified to a 50-50 ratio with the condition that channel storage between Gajaldoba and Dalia barrages (105 km) will also be counted in calculating the flow. 

Ms Mamata Banerjee was not invited during the talks, but she was constantly briefed about the proceedings.  When the issue came before the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi ruffled the feathers saying that India ’s share was 52%.  Immediately, Security Adviser S.S. Menon and Secretary D.V. Singh were rushed to Kolkata to explain the modification in the agreement from 52 to 50%.  She agreed with this arrangement with the rider that not more than 25% flow would be released during the lean period.  The Bangladesh Government agreed to this rider also. 

But in the meantime, Ms Mamata Banerjee changed her stand and insisted on lowering the cap from 25 to 18%.  The government thought it futile to try to put pressure on the Bangladesh Government any further and left the issue unresolved.  It is learnt that Ms Banerjee changed her stand because the CPM Government had earlier insisted on an 18% cap. This is how an important agreement was spoiled on petty political considerations.  Accordingly, the Bangladesh Government did not sign two other agreements on connectivity with the northeastern states, Burma and the sea route through the Chittagong port. 

RAM NIWAS MALIK, Engineer-in-Chief (retd.), Gurgaon



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