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A luxury car for CM, bus fare hike for citizens

Two very important decisions were taken by the Himachal Pradesh government in the last fortnight. First, a Mercedes car costing Rs 77 lakh will be purchased for the Chief Minister, something not in keeping with the traditions, style and culture of all previous governments in the state.

The state is known to follow austerity measures when it comes to maintaining its ministers and bureaucrats. The second decision is about the hike of 30 per cent in bus fares.

This hike pinches everybody because in the absence of a wide railway network in the hills, the state road transport is the first choice for the common man.

Therefore, there is a strong case for the state government to subsidise bus travel in the interest of the common man. Moreover, if the CM travels in a costly Mercedes, other ministers and bureaucrats will not like to be left behind.

A thumb rule says that every government vehicle has a yearly maintenance cost equal to double the purchase value of the vehicle. Therefore, it is not difficult to estimate the extra burden the CM's fondness for Mercedes will put on the state exchequer. We hope the CM settles for a less costly vehicle, which is high on fuel efficiency and low on maintenance.


Telangana crisis

The Union Cabinet's nod for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of a separate state of Telangana amid widespread protests from the people of Seemandhra is shocking. Although India calls itself a democracy, the UPA government has not taken into account the views of huge sections of public. Even the media's role has been poor. Is it because the agitation has been peaceful? Are Gandhian principles no longer valid?

Without giving any clarifications on river water usage, projects, capital, etc, how could the UPA government announce the bifurcation? And what is the Antony Committee for?


Moral education

Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal, speaking at the recently held 62nd meeting of CABE, recommended making moral education mandatory for students and teachers at all levels of education up to the university level. She deserves appreciation.

But merely teaching moral education, as a subject is not sufficient. The values of life cannot be taught but learnt. It covers a broad spectrum of ethos of education and has to be imbibed by every stakeholder in education. One period of teaching will hardly serve the purpose unless the teachers and administrators learn and display the nuance of morality in their actions and behaviour. I have seen that even the private life of a teacher impacts the character and conduct of a student. In fact, the school atmosphere should be conducive to learning.

S KUMAR, Panchkula

Political see-saw

The news item 'Dharmani withdraws resignation' (October 6) puts an end to the see-saw politics of Rajesh Dharmani, two-time MLA from Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district. But it may prove to be a temporary phase. If seniority is supposed to have any preference in the party hierarchy, then Dharmani's sulking has some justification, as the first time MLA of the district, Bambar Thakur, has been made Chairman of the District Gievances Committee, which usually is considered a prerogative of a minister of the district or the senior ruling party MLA. Since there is no minister from the district, Dharmani would have been the usual choice for this post. But like in the game of cricket, politics too is profession of glorious or inglorious uncertainties. Here, a greenhorn protege of a political godfather has been seen jumping over the seniority queue and becoming a minister or even a chief minister. So, a politician needs to acquire flexibility if he is to survive.

L R SHARMA, Sundernagar 

Slicing the Central pie

This refers to the editorial 'Slicing the Central pie' (October 7). The schemes prepared by the Central government do not consider the overall impact of all the welfare activities currently in progress. Bihar is proposed to be declared a backward state whereas all its districts, except one, have already been given the status of backward region for over the past decade.

Crores of rupees are allocated to remove this backwardness. The results of development are not satisfactory. The need of the hour is to strictly monitor the utility of all those funds allotted earlier before issuing a fresh package for the state. Public funds should be accounted for in a more transparent manner to prevent their wastage.

S C VAID, Greater Noida

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