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Omar needs to empower panchayats

Apropos the editorial Panchayats in J &K (October 6), Kashmir has remained the proverbial ‘sick man’ of the Indian subcontinent ever since Independence. It is a pity that the ground reality today is such that full benefits of various generous and well-intended development schemes of the Centre are not allowed to reach the common people in far flung areas of the state. The reason is simple: Despite the highly successful panchayat elections of 2011, which possibly did not go down well with the secessionist elements both within the state and across the border, the elected sarpanches are unable to discharge their duties on account of threat to their life from Pak-sponsored JeM and LeT militants, who have already bared their fangs.

In order to discharge their duties satisfactorily, the panchayats need to be empowered with adequate security and government patronage. More so, since this is the first time that the panchayats will be able to function both with adequate funds and power. In this connection, Rahul Gandhi’s advice to the youth of the state to carry forward the development agenda is both timely and laudable. For some obscure reasons, however, the state government seems to be dragging its feet on providing adequate security to the sarpanches as well as on getting the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution implemented in the state. Any further delay is likely to prove counter-productive to peace and stability in the Valley. In the interest of security and welfare of the people, it is imperative that Omar Abdullah government should expedite action on both.


Nepotism or hard labour

The tirade of Arvind Kejriwal against Robert Vadra has boiled some controversial soup in the political cauldron. It is indeed questionable how the income of Vadra swelled at a precipitous rate in an iota of time. Is it ‘nepotism’ that made the magic a reality? Vadra’s brass to gold story is now in public domain.

No one bequeaths a bounty until and unless a propitious ulterior motif is served for him.  The roots of this “favouritism” can be traced to the Rajiv Gandhi period when he met Kushal Pal Singh Teotia, the founder of DLF, and discussed to start his business at the outer fringes of Delhi.

Why is the BJP reticent on this issue when the disclosure was made long back in time? And with Kejriwal not leaving any opportunity to target the vulnerable bug in daylight, the whole issue is again being given a colour of political motivation.

KANISHKA PATHAK, Dhanbad, Jharkhand

Practical flaws

The Punjab government is likely to enforce the new Rent Restriction Act, which will only be effective prospectively and shall not cover properties rented out earlier. This is not only surprising but will also lead to increased litigation. The new Act is discriminatory and seems to have been conceived without application of mind. The old Act was passed to give protection to migrants who came to East Punjab after Partition. After a lapse of 65 years, the concerned people have built residential, commercial and industrial property of their own.

In most cases, the original owners are living in wretched condition, living on footpath and work at the mercy of government inspectors. Their descendants are living and working from rented space. Cases filed in court drag on for decades and lead to further financial ruin.

Tenants and their family members who have constructed property elsewhere should be ejected in summary proceedings and rent at the current market rate should be charged from the date of such construction. Moreover, such protection should not be given to state corporations and other government offices, and other such private corporations. They are tenant grabbers, they did not migrate from Pakistan. They should be forced to pay the rent at market rate from the date of filling of rent petitions. They are unjustly reaping the benefit by misusing the procedure framed for migrants.


ESM welfare

Air Marshal R S Bedi’s in his article Discontent in armed forces (September 10) has written that “Whatever the reasons for dissatisfaction — pay, pension, food, facilities or status — once the intensity of feelings reaches the critical stage, the consequences may be serious”.

You couldn’t be more thoughtful and relevant to the powers that be with regard to their inexplicable, biased and discriminatory mindset against the armed forces. This is the most unfortunate development since independence. The political executive must realise their constitutional responsibility and initiate appropriate action without delay to redress all the imbalances inflicted on the armed forces considering their service profile vis-a-vis that of bureaucrats.

Mere proximity to the political executive does not make the employees superior to other services of the union. Every service is meant for a specific nature of job, so all of them must be treated accordingly. Historical baggage being carried by the political executive and the bureaucrats must be reviewed for its relevance in the present day socio-politico and strategic scenario.

Commandant D S RAI (retd), Ludhiana

Human face of reforms

Given the sluggish GDP growth, rising deficit, not a very promising global economic scenario, the government may have to tread this rough road of unpalatable decisions. It has limited alternatives and less time to show results. These decisions on economic reforms may look harsh, yet if they are implemented in their true spirit, the country may rebound itself on a course of economic recovery in the longer run.

There is need for an approach with a human face. It may be good if an Indian household with an average family of four or five is allowed at least 12 LPG cylinders a year because nobody can afford to misuse a prized commodity like LPG. Lakhs of families do not have access to any other source of fuel used in their kitchens. The petroleum companies dealing in these commodities, otherwise showing profits, have no logic or face to empty their flab on the poor.




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