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Widen scope of consumer courts

Apropos the news item 'Post SC order, consumer courts not to hear power theft complaints' (August 1), the decision of the apex court seems to be anti-consumers. Consumers could get justice in four to five months in these courts regarding cases against electricity departments. In civil courts, it takes years for a final decision since the pendency of cases is very high. The consumer courts are headed by a judicial officer of the rank of a retired District and Sessions Judge or Additional District and Sessions Judge. Special courts proposed to be constituted under the Electricity Act, 2003, should also be headed by a judicial officer of the rank of Additional District and Sessions Judge.

The consumer courts have been working for the past over 25 years and are fully equipped to deal with such (power) cases. They have all paraphernalia and supporting staff, whereas the new special courts will take a long time and crores of rupees to come up. To save our already scarce financial and other resources, it is desirable to strengthen the consumer courts instead of creating another such body. Disputes regarding telephone and other related issues should also be given to the consumer courts.


Riots in J-K

This refers to the editorial 'Failure of governance' (August 13). Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, have equated riots in Kishtwar with the Gujarat riots. It is really shameful the way they are trying to escape from their responsibility and hiding the sins of the real culprits of Kishtwar.


Rock Garden expansion

The curator of the Rock Garden, NeK Chand, deserves special thanks for creating a world-famed tourist spot.

In a small hut in the forest area, he had secretly collected leftover waste materials of broken ceramic tiles, empty tarcoal drums and stones of various shapes. With a gift of fantasy he created sculptures and objects of art in the waste land and called it "Rock Garden", though it is neither a rock nor a garden. To attract tourists, the UT Administration should beautify and provide basic amenities in the existing space.

Since the area falls in the eco-sensitive zone in the fragile Shivalik foothills, the Heritage Expert Conservation Committee may not allow any further expansion of the Rock Garden.

B R PARUTHI, Chandigarh

Pension disparity

A wide difference prevails in the pension of pre-2006 retired officers and post-2006 retired officers in Punjab and Haryana. The difference is as much as Rs 10,000 to 15,000 pm plus DA. This is also due to the non-implementation of the CPC recommendations (at para 1.2.9) to provide a common pay band for all functional posts in the pay scale of Rs 18,400-22,400 and above. The CPC recommended a common pay band (PB-4) for four pre-revised pay scales like S-29 to S-32, but the state governments arbitrarily created a new pay scale HAG+(75,500-80,000) for senior IAS officers of S-31 and S-32 scales only and later another scale HAG (Rs 67,000-79,000) for S-30 officials. The pre-revised S-29 scale of Major Generals/Chief Engineers and equivalent (18,400-22,400) was left in the pay band PB-4, thus disturbing the Sixth CPC's recommendations. The upgrade of five pre-revised scales, i.e. from S-24 to S-28 to PB-4, has caused further distortion.The pay scales of S-30 to S-34 has been revised by 3 to 3.4 times of old scales, but in the case of S-29 it is revised by just 2.26 times. This is not justified in our socialist country.

The state governments should revise the pensions of those officers who retired before 2006 and end their frustration by following the "equal work, equal pay" principle.


A welcome decision

The Punjab government's decision to raise the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 60 years is a welcome step and should be appreciated. This may be due to some financial crunch but every government has its own limitations.

Owing to late marriages, one finds it difficult to fulfil his liabilities such as marriages of children and their settlement, etc. The average lifespan has also increased with better medical care and good quality of life. This should be made applicable to all employees — be in boards or corporations. Last time, the state government created confusion by allowing boards and corporations to take their own decision which resulted in a mess and a quashing by a court.


Liquor vends

It is unfortunate that there are 185 liquor vends over a stretch of 293-km-long Jalandhar-Panipat highway. It seems that we are encouraging drinking. Luring people to drinking on national highways is reprehensible as drunk driving can be risky. The advice of the National Safety Council and the Union Ministry of Transport has failed to persuade the states of Punjab and Haryana to shut down all liquor vends in their areas along the national highway.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court's directions to both states not to renew the licences of these vends can save the lives of passengers. You have rightly said in the editorial ‘Drunk on lucre’ (August 2) that “as of today, there is no specific Central rule that can stop the sale of liquor on highways, which in itself seems queer”.

G R KALRA, Panchkula

Postal stationery

Recently, I purchased an aerogramme for Rs 8.50 from the HPO, Solan. I was shocked by the low quality paper of the aerogramme, which reflects badly on India Post. The poor quality of paper and poor gum-paste on its folds do not justify the price. The P&T Department should improve the quality of its postal stationery.


Disgusting platforms

It is disgusting to see most railway platforms and tracks throughout the country littered with garbage and sewage. To keep them 24-hour neat and clean, CCTV cameras should be installed to keep check on garbage throwers and stop them from doing so. Violators must be made to pay a heavy fine. The lavatories in the train compartments must be kept closed at the platforms. Cleanliness in and around of every station is a must, otherwise filth and garbage could lead to the outbreak of an epidemic.

K S LUDHAR, Amritsar




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