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Promises unkept

This is with reference to the editorial “Expletives undeleted” (April 11). It is a tragi-comedy of blunders and broken promises that in a span of seven decades our politicians have turned democratic values and traditions upside down to almost beyond recognition. In doing so, they have remained united, irrespective of alliances. This road can only lead to ruin. We have elections every five years, but little changes for the better. Promises remain promises, to be renewed the next time. Every rule in the book is bent out of shape to suit their ambitions and greed. Elections do not mean much when there is very little real choice. The actual political agenda of a majority of the candidates is much the same: to grab money, power and influence for self. We have the ‘hand’ that grabs rather than gives, the ‘broom’that breaks into pieces before it can clean anything and the ‘lotus’ that turns people into lotus-eaters.

Subhash Kaura, via email

Ropeway to nowhere

For more than 50 years, pilgrims have been clamouring for the Anandpur Sahib-Naina Devi ropeway. It was in 1974 that the then SDM of Anandpur Sahib had boastfully proclaimed that she had got the project sanctioned and it would be in place in six months. Since Dr Giani Zail Singh was then the Chief Minister of Punjab and MLA from Anandpur Sahib, everybody believed all that was said about the project. It is 40 years since then, but the ropeway is still invisible. Everytime the CM of Himachal Pradesh visits Naina Devi or the CM of Punjab visits Sri Anandpur Sahib, or any other dignitary visits these important religious places, he/she has to pass through the ritual of promising this ropeway.

The latest is the election promise by Ambika Soni. The jinx cannot be understood as the project is not a big deal. Even the Bhakra Dam, India’s pride, was commissioned in a much shorter period. The Punjab and Himachal CMs should finalise the project and provide relief to lakhs of pilgrims.

Surinderjit Singh Sandhu, Amritsar

Poll vocabulary

Hit, jump, wait, secular, communal, liar, impotent, murderer, criminal, biased, shehzade, bhai, akal nahi nakal, friendly, enemy, coward, brave, soft, hardliner, deaf and dumb, incompetent, polariser, faqir, ameer, bekhari, crorepati. Such words comprise the poll vocabulary these days.

Significantly, the vocabulary is devoid of terms such as lack of wisdom, will, implementation, initiation, participation etc etc. Why?

Dr Daler Singh Multani, Dera Bassi

Not a ‘mere’ mother

A woman wrote “mother” in the occupation column while applying for a passport. The passport officer said: “We don't have ‘mother’ as an option for occupation. I will write ‘housewife’.” The woman paused and then told the officer: “I am a researcher in the field of child development, nutrition and inter-personal relationship.” The officer stared at her in amazement and wrote it down verbatim.

This new viewpoint about her occupation made the woman feel much better. She had earned a small victory over the governmental red tape. She was no longer “merely a mother”. She was now a highly placed functionary in a service vital for mankind: motherhood!

RC DHAND, Bathinda

First-time voter at 62

I am a 62 years old retired Colonel and felt lucky to cast my vote for the first time. When I joined the Army in 1973, I was under 21 years and so could not cast my vote. I tried to vote through the postal ballot, but due to frequent postings and postal delays, it never materialised. I was given the responsibility of managing a polling booth in Sikkim in 1975, the first time Sikkim went to the polls as an Indian state after its annexation to our country. As an Army officer, I also got the opportunities to provide the security cover in the conduct of elections in Jammu and Kashmir, NorthEast and Punjab during the disturbance period. I was also lucky to be a member of the team conducting elections in Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1987.

After retirement, I settled in Rohtak. It was a Herculean task to get a voter ID card since I did not have residence proof. I submitted an affidavit and had to pay ~10 to a numbardar as fee to identify me as a resident of Rohtak. On getting the voter card, my happiness was more than that of an old man going to embark an aircraft for the first time.

Finally, on the eventful day -- April 10-- , 2014, my wife and I reached the earmarked area. The scene was like a mela. We went through some formalities and reached the booth. I was handed over a slip, I signed on a register, went to the enclosure, saw the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) and pressed the EVM button after a slight hesitation. I had caste my valuable vote for the first time.

The poll official told me to leave the enclosure, but I realised that the person responsible to put the ink mark on my finger had not done so by mistake. I requested him to put the mark and complete the formality.

Col JS Balhara (retd), Rohtak

Flights from Amritsar

One of the demands of Amritsar from its future MP is to start more flights to destinations with high Punjabi diaspora concentration such as Vancouver, Toronto and Birmingham. I have tried to study the economics of international flights from the Amritsar airport. There is a perception that Amritsar can generate a planeload of economy class passengers, but not fill the business and first class seats. These three destinations can be handled by two flights and the problem of inadequate business class can also be overcome. Both Mumbai and Delhi boast of potential for business class travellers. Let the Vancouver flight originate from Mumbai and start its non-stop long haul trip from Amritsar. Mumbai will provide the business class passenger load and Amritsar will fill the economy seats. A one-way journey will be completed in 20 hours, leaving four hours for cleaning, fuelling and rebooting. The return journey, due to tail winds, will take 18 hours.

Similarly, the Toronto flight can start from New Delhi. After a one-hour stopover in Amritsar, it can fly to Birmingham for a 90-minute stopover, and then fly to Toronto. Both flights will thus operate at full load and be profitable.

Harjap Singh Aujla, New Jersey (USA)

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com



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