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RTI Act to lose sheen if parties escape

I support the views expressed in the editorial 'A retrograde move' (August 3) that our political parties are refusing to be reckoned as public authorities. They are getting united to amend the RTI Act, 2005, only to evade the common man's scrutiny of their doings, especially in the matter of their raising funds and spending these during elections.

You have rightly observed that legally the parties are on weak ground. That is how they are getting united despite having ideological differences. And, if the political parties succeed in getting themselves out of the ambit of the RTI Act, the legislation brought about by the UPA with much fanfare, will lose its sheen and effectiveness.

K L NOATAY, Shimla

More states?

With the announcement of the formation of Telangana, the demands for Bodoland and Gorkhaland are getting vociferous. The formation of new states cannot be a solution to the problems of people who are being suppressed or are not properly represented. In the North-East, there are mostly tiny states, further divisions of which could create economic and coordination problems. Good governance depends on proper representation of all sections and areas and not on the formation of policies to fulfill the demand for new states.


Shameful deterioration

Apropos the editorial 'Mid-day meals' (July 29), teachers were, no doubt, accorded a high place in society at one time. They have lost their high pedestal now. But then count any service where its employees have not lost their high place today. It is because the discipline, sense of duty, sincerity and integrity have been slaughtered at the altar of corruption. The mid-day meals scheme costs the exchequer Rs 13,000 crore per annum. It is one of the largest welfare schemes in the world, which covers 10 crore schoolchildren.

But by the time the meal reaches a child's plate, its quality and calories have been robbed of by at least 10 middlemen. The salaries of teachers have not been increased in the same proportion as in other services. Surprisingly, the Chandigarh

Administration still pays a measly Rs 2,200 as basic pay per month to the part-time lecturers in colleges, whereas they should be paid Rs 15,600 as per the UGC pay scales. Can there be any more insult to teachers having high educational qualifications than this?


Mid-day meals

I fully agree with the editorial 'Mid-day tragedy' (July 18) that dead worms and insects have been found in the food being served to poor schoolchildren in government and aided schools. It is not only the quality and hygiene that have been found lacking in the meals, but also siphoning of funds earmarked for the meals and exaggerated attendances have dogged this ambitious scheme. We must learn from the experience of states like Tamil Nadu which has achieved 100 per cent success in providing nutritious meals to children and without any financial bungling.


Parking lots

This refers to the proposal of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, to increase the parking charges manifold. I am not sure whether the MC is justified in increasing the charges as far as the pathetic condition of various parking lots is concerned. The condition of the Sector 17 Bank Square parking lot is miserable. A 10-minute drizzle is enough to turn it into a virtual lake. And one finds it an uphill task to park a vehicle in it or drive out of it. Both the car and the owner get smudged with mud. Will the Chandigarh Administration address such problems before enhancing the parking rates?

A K BANSAL, Chandigarh

IAS officers

The suspension of Durga Shakti Nagpal, an IAS officer in Uttar Pradesh, for taking on the sand mafia in Noida by the Akhilesh Yadav government is really a baseless decision. One wonders if it is the "reward" for doing her duty honestly. In another recent example, an SP in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) was transferred for reopening a 48-year-old case of Ghazi Fakir, father of Congress MLA from Pokhran Saleh Mohammad.

Why does an honest officer in our country face such problems? If the Central government ever tries to intervene in such cases with an unbiased approach towards any party, it faces threats of withdrawal of support from the state ruling party. To stop such problems, the bureaucrats must be made answerable to only the judiciary, not to the state or Centre governments and let them work freely and independently.


Cowardly act

You have aptly commented in the editorial 'Dastardly attack' (August 8) regarding the ambush on our soldiers. Surely, it is a national issue and the entire nation has reacted to it patriotically.

The need of the hour is to remain united on all fronts by rising above petty issues and vested interests and show our strength and unity to the world.

As for such a provocative act, it is easy to whip up public frenzy and start a war, but the consequences can be disastrous on both the sides. All nations know this well and would want us to avoid the disaster. But such grave acts cannot be ignored. You have made a subtle point, "we need to carry a big stick and reply with a deterrent act".

RAVI RANA, Kapurthala

An inspiration for women

This refers to Malala Yousafzai's inspiring speech which she recently delivered in the United Nations Assembly and which was reproduced in the form of an article 'They thought bullets would silence us' (July 19). Malala is a citizen of the dangerous Swat valley where Taliban terrorists call the shots and where girls and women are the worst sufferers.

Malala has come to assert herself in a very graceful yet quite bold manner. I appreciate her unique courage of conviction as even bullets have not been able to scare her. She has become an inspiration for women who wish to struggle for their right to education and a dignified existence. We hope her example may induce a strong will power in women to challenge the old feudal and patriarchal social order which has kept women in unconditional bondage for ages.




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