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Punjab Jats miss bus

The Jats of Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Bihar are now entitled to reservation in central government jobs and educational institutions. But the Jats of Punjab are not in the OBC list.

Last year, the SAD passed a resolution demanding OBC status for the Jats of Punjab and in recent months, Punjab Chief Minister has called for their inclusion in the OBC list. However, his government never forwarded a case for their inclusion to the National Backward Classes Commission. Punjab Jats have missed the bus again. Earlier when they were left behind was when the Union Government was providing relief to families of farmer suicide victims. Victims in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala were given aid, but not in Punjab because the state government never told the Centre that there were any rural suicides in the state.

Lately, the Chief Minister and his deputy have been declaring that the SAD government is the farmersí friend. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

The overwhelming majority of Jats in the state are farmers working on holdings of less than five acres. Less than 2 per cent of their children attend universities. If a blanket reservation for all Jats is unwarranted, then introduce reservation with economic criteria as well. Better, introduce reservation for impoverished agriculturalists and agricultural labour regardless of caste.

The Haryana model in ameliorating the hardships of needy persons by providing pension of Rs 1,000 per month to all categories should be followed. In Punjab, a farmerís widow or destitute mother is entitled to a pension of Rs 250 per month and the amount is rarely seen.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee, Chandigarh

Quota a gimmick

Reservations were envisaged in our Constitution to uplift the neglected, discriminated and exploited lot. Now, these have become a divisive political tool to make up for a possible vote loss to the ruling party due to its misdeeds and misgovernance. Jats must not get carried away by this poll gimmick of reservation for them which, in fact, aims at reservation of some votes for the UPA.

A fair survey will reveal that with the exception of an elite section, a large population of the castes and classes that were given reservations has not benefited from these and live in abject poverty and their children are still illiterate because the policy lacked a proper monitoring for a proper implementation.

H.L. Sharma, Amritsar

Budget pro-rich

In the Budget proposals for 2014-15, the Finance Minister has announced a cut in the excise duty on vehicles. The new excise duty shall be less on SUVs and more on small cars and two-wheelers. This means more diesel-guzzling SUVs on our already overcrowded roads and more pollution. Isnít the proposal pro-rich? To ease the congested roads and high pollution levels, the people should be encouraged to use two-wheelers and small cars. Another proposal worth considering is to exempt two-wheelers and small cars from toll tax. The exemption limit for the senior citizens (60 to 65years) has not been increased for the last three or four years while the limits for other categories have been raised regularly. The senior citizensí exemption limit should be raised to Rs 3 lakh.

S. S. Bhathal, Ludhiana

Make AJWO homes

The mayor of a city should constitute a trust under the name of AJWO home (Allah, Jesus, Waheguru, Om home) trust. Around 5 to 10 acres should be purchased in the outer corner of the city for making an AJWO home, which would provide shelter to homeless persons and beggars.

A shelter for night stay should be constructed on the land. A tubewell or submersible pump could be provided for bathing and cultivating the land for vegetables and flowers. A kitchen for langar could be made, where people could prepare food. The citizens of the city could donate there. Begging should be strictly banned.

Rajinder Dutt, Ludhiana

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