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Why a ban on hydro-power projects?

The Supreme Court has banned the grant of environmental clearances to new hydro-power projects in Uttarakhand. It will remain in force till a report by an expert committee on the impact of hydro-power projects on the threatened species of flora and fauna and on the sub-basins of the Ganga and the Bhagirathi is submitted within three months. It is a wrong perception that a colossal loss of lives and property in the recent cloudbursts in Uttarakhand was aggravated by the continuing hydro-power projects. The fact, however, was that the storage space of the Tehri Dam saved the destruction of many downstream villages and townships.

Moreover, the implicit law of nature is that every system is visited by freak events once in a blue moon. The cloudburst in June was the rarest of rare event along with rain. The loss was entirely due to the overflowing rivers and tributaries and construction of houses close to them. The SC should realise that hydro-power potential is the mainstay of the economy of a hill state and the construction of such projects should be encouraged to the maximum.


Traffic chaos

I wish to draw the attention of the UT Administration towards the harassment faced by hapless parents who come to drop their children to schools in Sector 26, Chandigarh, where four schools and a college are all located on one road. Recently, traffic on the road was made one way (only during the morning peak hours) in order to address the chaos that is caused due to a rush of vehicles on the road.

However, this one-way traffic is not a good decision. Sad to say, traffic challans are issued to parents who fail to follow the one-way traffic. Instead of challaning them, the traffic police should educate them and help ease congestion on the road. Also, there is no proper signboard indicating one-way traffic on the road.

Moreover, the teaching staff and students of the Teachers Training Institute and the Institute for Blind also face problems due to the one-way traffic. The traffic police should help the parents, students and commuters pass this stretch easily.


Dengue menace

Dengue cases are rising in Chandigarh and other cities. But the health authorities at the state and Central levels are doing nothing to check the spread of this deadly disease. Moreover, owing to lack of medical facilities in civil hospitals people often prefer private hospitals that are very costly and unaffordable for poor people. A precautionary measure like house-to-house spray during each season can control the mosquitoes that spread this disease.


Submarine tragedy

That explosions on the INS Sindhurakshak led to the death of 18 sailors as well as loss to the tune of crores of rupees is shocking. Special navy officers and scientists should work together to find the reason. The government should grant funds for R&D. A regular monitoring of navy ships and submarines is necessary. The lifespan of a submarine must be specified after which it must be discarded.


Secular polity

This refers to the article 'Threats to secular polity' (August 14). Religion is not only an opiate of the masses but also a vehicle for achieving the seat of power and wealth. Countless empires have been built/ destroyed in the name of religion. Intoxicated by religious fanaticism, humans lose humanity and slaughter, torture, burn alive fellow humans. We saw this happen in 1947.

The holocaust of Partition could have been averted had both the parties agreed to the exchange of population under British supervision before Independence. The purpose of religion is to cleanse oneself of all social, moral and other evils. Forgetting religious animosities, every Indian should do his best to usher in the "Ram Rajya" of Bapu Gandhi's dreams.

SS BENIWAL, Chandigarh

Golden Forests

Sahara is facing contempt proceedings for failing to comply with SC orders to refund investors' money. Sahara may get some punishment under the contempt law but will the investors get back their money? Golden Forests lured gullible investors with the false promise of high returns. In 2003-04, the Supreme Court appointed a committee to auction the properties of Golden Forests and distribute the proceeds among the investors. Ten years have gone by, but the outcome is still eluding.

One feels that commissions or committees are not keen on completing their task quickly as that would bring their pay and perks to an early end. I think we should stop paying them the salaries once they fail to deliver within the stipulated time-frame.


Train mishap

The editorial 'Pilgrims' untimely end' (August 21)' (August 20) rightly holds the Railways responsible for the rail tragedy in Bihar. Extra care should have been taken by the railway authorities in view of the religious occasion to avoid the loss of human lives. Some 15,000 people, other than passengers, lose their lives at unmanned railway crossings and in other accidents. For all the Railways is responsible.

RK KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Why additional tax?

I wish to highlight a draconian measure thrust upon the taxpayers for the first time since the initiation of e-filing of income tax returns. Most taxpayers who filed their tax returns last year for the assessment year 2012-13 are now receiving demand notices from the electronic tax return filing centre at Bangalore for more tax either for less payment of tax or interest on delayed payment of advance tax.

As a matter of fact, this demand for depositing additional tax is specifically due to the delayed deposit of advance tax deducted at source for every quarter either by the employer or due to the late deposit of TDS by the banks in which taxpayers have term deposits (interest income on which attracts TDS to be deposited quarterly by the relevant bank).

In either case, it is due to the negligence of the employer/bank or any other authority responsible for deducting tax in advance and depositing it with income tax department on a quarterly basis. Therefore, it is not the taxpayer's fault if there is a time lapse in depositing the TDS. The hapless taxpayer has anyway paid his full tax liability, so why should he be made to pay for the delayed payment of advance tax?




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