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

Improve efficiency of Indian Railways

The article, “Poor State of Indian Railways” (October 5) by Sarabjit Arjan Singh is highly revealing. The misfortunes of the Railway Ministry are many. It has never been run by a competent minister for a long time. The Ministry has mostly gone to the coalition partners who have run it as their private fiefdom, and the Prime Minister has remained a silent spectator. The situation was the worst when Ms Mamata Banerjee ran this important Ministry very casually from Kolkata. According to a piece of RTI information, the amount of T.A. bills of officials of the Ministry for travelling to and from Kolkata for two months was Rs 11lakh.

The second important cause of inefficiency of the Ministry is that it has become a behemoth organization having strength of 14 lakh employees. Therefore, the Ministry needs urgent downsizing by handing over the running of local trains to the states concerned, and the Ministry should run only the interstate trains. This single step will boost the growth of the railway system in the states.

Presently, only 30% tracks have been doubled and electrified. The present rate of electrification and doubling of tracks is only 190 km per year against the desired rate of 2000 km per year. The freight corridor project is still to be implemented. The efficiency of the Indian Railways has a great impact on the national economy. If the government is serious about the low efficiency of the Railway Ministry, it should transfer this portfolio to a minister known for his dynamism.

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

Martyr’s spirit

This refers to the article, “Why Shaheed Bhagat Singh enjoys mass appeal” (September 28) by Manpreet Singh Badal. The indomitable spirit shown by Bhagat Singh is exemplary. We salute his charisma and fervour. The writer aptly points out that modern India is desperately looking for such virtues in an elusive leader.  The youths today lack ethical values. We need to instil in them the sense of enthusiasm and patriotism.

In fact, we need people like Bhagat Singh today to fight against the evil forces to free India from corruption. This would be our best tribute to the martyrs.

SHIRPA NAGRATH, Teacher, Ambala City

Great achievement

The Indian scientists must be applauded for developing the smallest tablet PC measuring just seven inches  and that also at such a low cost of Rs 2,250 (editorial, “Tablet for the masses:  An Akash grounded in reality”,  October 7).

Surely, the world did not believe when, last year, India announced this dream invention. The world is really stunned to know that India has done it!

Akash, the smallest computer in the world, will be of great help, especially to the student community, as it has a three-hour battery life, and functions like web browsing, video conferencing, social networking, instant messaging and gaming. The government has also decided that the students will get these computers at half the rate, which is at Rs 1,125.

Akash will also benefit students in accessing thousands of hours of lectures by IIT professors and e-content on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) platform, which offers web and video-based courses in engineering, science and humanities.

Akash has certainly brought a revolution in the field of information technology. Well done, India!

R K Kapoor, Chandigarh

Hazare’s ultimatum

The report, “Lokpal: Hazare puts  Congress on notice” (October 5), is quite telling.

Apparently, Mr. Hazare and members of the “civil society” are slowly but steadily unmasking themselves revealing their real intentions underlying the campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Spelling out, the real intention seems to be to defeat the Congress in the forthcoming elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha.

It would be a blunder for the Congress to panic; instead, the party should meet the challenge posed by the situation boldly and squarely. Above all, it must unequivocally tell the nation at large that it would strictly go by the verdict of Parliament on the subject and would not be blackmailed by any quarter, howsoever cunning and strong. Dithering over the matter would be damaging for the party.

TARA CHAND, General Secretary, HP Lok Seva Mandal, Ambota (Una)

Economics of ‘bliss’

The editorial, “Trillion dollar question” (October 5), is full of wisdom for the government at all levels. It makes a strong case for soul searching by the law enforcement agencies for the serious lapse of the highest order gone unnoticed.

Mr. Hasan Ali, who has a long history of illegal activities, deserves to be shown on television repeatedly   to the viewers of this country where programmes like Kaun Banega Crorepati with high TRPs are very popular. These programmes have polluted the minds of the youths of this country.

To my mind, the economic interpretation of richness is when one says that no more wealth is required. It does not mean more savings, but it means our needs have been fulfilled.

To change the mindset of the people of India, we need to reinterpret nonviolence in economics as a stage when one has no more wants and needs. It establishes the relationship of economics with ethics, which brings perfect happiness (a state of bliss) as one reaches that stage gradually.

Prof MM GOEL, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra 

Ageing gracefully

Blessed are the old people who enjoy normal health and freedom from physical and mental pain (I M Soni’s middle, “Sunset days!”, September 19). Worry, disease and lack of wholesome food accelerate the ageing process. There is no doubt that old age is a curse. Yet, lively persons with strong will power are not depressed by decrepitude and remain jovial as if they were born under the planet Jupiter.

They cheerfully face the troubles peculiar to ageing and pursue their leisure, domestic and outdoor activities with zeal, gusto and stoic endurance.

I shall be turning 80 next month. But I do not feel any physical impairment or decline in hearing and sight. I can recite from memory the verses read or heard more than six decades ago. I get up at 4a.m. in the morning, gulp a glass of water laced with lemon juice. Then, I saunter in the compound for about an hour. I take meals two times. No lunch; no siesta.

In the evening I go for a walk in the company of well-educated people, who indulge in gentle humour, exchange brilliant banters and sally and tell side-splitting anecdotes. I retire around 10p.m. after reading a couple of pages of a poetry book. I have never felt any headache. Zindagi zinda-dili ka naam hai, murda-dil kya khaak jiya kartey hain.




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