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

The General should live up to his rank

It is sad to see dirty linen of one of the finest organisations of the country being washed in public (news report “Govt orders CBI probe into Army Chief’s bribe charge”, March 27). One may not doubt the authenticity of the Army chief’s bribe charge, but definitely its timing. Senior officers come across bribe offers and temptations the moment they become a signing authority of contracts of any nature. On the face of it, raising the issue now would be viewed as an attempt to salvage his reputation after the DOB fiasco.

We as citizens should be concerned for the innocent soldiers and young officers who are manning our borders with sincerity. Why are the senior officers letting down their juniors, instead of setting examples of honesty, character and selfless service?

There is always a lesson in adversity. Let the senior officers introspect and live up to their rank. Let them rise above temptations, and revive the trust of the men they command. Rather than looking for ‘yes men’ and self-seekers, merit should be kept in mind.

Col R D SINGH (retd), Ambala Cantt

Restore EPF interest rate

The interest rate on Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has been reduced unilaterally from 9.5 to 8.25 per cent for the year 2011-12 ignoring the unanimous demand of all central trade unions to at least maintain the existing rate of interest.

Unlike other deposits including term deposits and fixed deposits in banks and other financial institutions, the provident fund of workers is a social security measure which is the longest term of recurring fixed deposit.

Keeping the interest of employees in mind, the fund was introduced immediately after independence through an Act of Parliament.  The employees’ money remains with the government continuously for long period of service. The government invests money out of EPF funds in several developmental schemes. In this manner, this fund also helps the government in running various developmental schemes.

Therefore, EPF fund deserves a much higher rate of interest than the usual fixed deposits. The government has hiked the rates of interest on post office small savings plans by upto 50 base points for the new fiscal year.

In view of the social security of employees especially in old age, the government must withdraw its decision and restore the existing EPF rate of interest at 9.5 per cent for the year 2011-12.

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Laws making us unequals

The government has brought about some changes in marriage laws regarding divorce. By providing different treatment to men and women, like women getting free legal access, a husband not being allowed to challenge a petition filed by his wife owing to ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ while a wife can oppose a husband’s plea on the same ground, etc, the government is itself making a mockery of the very basic principle of the Constitution —equality before law. In some cases, laws regarding dowry are being misused to settle personal scores and the Supreme Court has termed it as ‘legal terrorism’.


Saving their skin

The way the political class is treating the Lokpal Bill, it appears that none of the political parties is interested in bringing an ombudsman to watch their activities (“Back to Lokpal Bill”, March 26). The politicians are afraid of cutting the branch on which they sit comfortably. They do not want to dig their own graves.

Why would they want to bring in the Lokpal which will send them to the jails? If a Lokpal is actually to be installed it is necessary for all Members of Parliament to be honest which is not going to happen now. More than one-third of the MPs in Parliament are corrupt and many are facing various criminal charges in various courts across the country.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Road safety in hills

Bad roads and inclement weather are a major cause of accidents in hill states ("Deaths no accident”, March 27). Engineers must display their professional skills by laying all-weather roads with strong revetments to prevent skidding of vehicles into gorges. Modern technological equipment must be used to counter the challenges of adverse geographical factors.

The speed limit should be under surveillance of the police and brazen drivers should be educated and sensitised on road etiquette and safe driving. Adequately-spaced halt stations should be constructed to refresh fatigued drivers.

Surprise checks must be conducted by transport inspectors to check fitness of public transport vehicles. Emergency response teams should be trained and should be ever-ready to reach an accident site immediately.

SC VAID, Greater Noida

Shimla residents’ woes

The most common problem people in Shimla face is the freezing of water pipes during winter which leads to water scarcity. The Municipal Corporation has not been able to devise any method to prevent freezing of water pipes. What are the HPPWD engineers paid for? It is a pity that the state which is one of the biggest players in hydroelectricity generation cannot provide sufficient water to its people.

Another problem the city has been facing in recent years is of overpopulation. Shimla has a high floating population which increases considerably during the tourist season. The haphazard manner in which houses and multi-storeyed buildings have sprung up gives the town a grubby look. Streetlights are a rare entity in the town.

POMITA, via e-mail



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