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Lapses in HP Budget

Virbhadra Singh, CM of Himachal Pradesh who also holds the portfolio of finance, has presented the 17th Budget (“Virbhadra presents please-all deficit budget in poll year”, February 8). The Budget has a pre-poll flavour as no taxes have been proposed. But the large deficit of ~3,262 crore will not prove beneficial to the financial health of the debt-ridden state.

Sooner or later, the government may have to resort to taxes to buttress the revenue receipts. Besides, no efforts have been made to curtail the wasteful expenditure. For example, many new colleges have been opened, taking the tally to 84, though many existing ones have less than 150 students each. Similarly, in many schools, the teacher-student ratio is less than 1:10. Some time back, the rationalisation of such schools was being seriously being mulled, but it was shelved on account of political considerations. Many new offices have been opened. Such undue expansions inflate the non-Plan expenditure, which will ultimately burden the taxpayers.

The farming community was eagerly awaiting some measures regarding checking the menace of monkeys and stray cattle. Many small farmers have abandoned cultivation due to this menace. Non-cultivation of small swathes of cultivable land is a great national loss. This is a big lapse in the Budget.

Er L R Sharma, Sundernagar

End highway woes

The Panipat-Jalandhar six-lane project of National Highway No.1 has been under construction for the last eight years. It was to be completed in 2011. But only about 70 per cent of the work has been completed, causing great difficulty to the public.

With diversions every two or three kilometres, one has to ply vehicles through narrow service roads which cause heavy traffic jams, resulting in loss of time and wastage of fuel.

Earlier, it used to take around six hours to reach Delhi from Jalandhar by road. Now, it takes nine hours.

The poor condition of the road is affecting the business establishments here since customers and delegates refuse to visit the area. It is also affecting the transportation of goods.

For more than two years, work on the highway has been on a standstill. Various industries’ associations want the authorities concerned to address the issue.

Interestingly, the daily collection of the toll on the Panipat-Jalandhar highway is more than ~2 crore.

Gurdsaran Singh, Goraya, and Gurdeep Singh, Hoshiarpur

Cricket mandi disgusting

Apropos the editorial “Betting and fixing in IPL” (February 12), I find it disgusting to see our cricket players being auctioned in the ‘mandi’ for IPL matches like cattle and commodities. Super-rich people like N. Srinnivasan and his friends are the cultural icons of our capitalist society where money rules the roost. As the saying goes, money makes the mare go. It is a profit-making business where national boundaries get blurred and where the game of cricket has become a big gamble.

Some of our cricket team members also seem to be under the scanner. The Board of Control for Cricket in India needs patriotic individuals to manage this sports in a transparent manner and not clever businessmen who cannot look beyond earning huge profits. In its present form, the IPL has come to corrupt our top cricketers and dent their reputation with late night rave parties held in five-star hotels and the presence of cheer girls. We must stop all this if we wish to have good sportsmen in our country.


MLAs hike own pay. Why?

In a democratic system of governance, the relationship between the electors and the elected is the one of a master and a servant. Isn’t it strange that the elected representatives of the people should enhance their own salaries and allowances whenever they so choose, with the electors viewing the curious antic as mute spectators?

It is high time to go in for a public debate on the desirability of allowing the legislators the privilege of enhancing their own pay and perks.

Tara Chand, Ambota (Una)

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