11:42 pm : 18.Feb.2019
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My Dear Captain Amarinder Singh..............Veteran Journalist KS Chawla raises issues plaguing Punjab

Capt AmarinderMy Dear Captain Amarinder Singh Ji,

Sat Sri Akal, 

At the outset I would like to be excused for encroaching upon your valuable time. But there are some important issues which are bothering the peace loving Punjabis.

 

I know you are aware of these important and vital issues but still I felt the need to draw your attention towards the same. I also know that there are some financial constraints and you are feeling helpless in tackling some of those issues.

 

KS ChawlaHowever, there are some issues which do not involve any money and you have the wherewithal to tackle them. People have faith in your capacity to rule the state but sofar, they have not seen your real strength.

 

The first and the foremost problem being faced by the people of the state is deterioration in the law and order situation in the state of Punjab. You daily see the newspapers are full of snatchings of cars, golden ornaments from the ladies and the sense of insecurity prevailing among the women in particular. Otherwise there is sense of insecurity and panic among the people at large.

 

The activities of organized gangsters in the state are rising despite efforts by the police force. The gangsters today are well read and belong to good families. In the past, the goonda elements normally belonged to the poor and down trodden families. They were normally rifraf elements who were known as hardened criminals or village goondas or a street goonda. But the situation has changed altogether now.

 

The politicians provide all sorts of protection to such lumpun elements. The law and order situation received a severe setback during the ten years rule of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab and particularly after Sukhbir Singh Badal became deputy Chief Minister and took the home portfolio.

 

The activities of the youth wing of the Akali Dal and other organizations also became instrumental in the worsening of the law and order situation. The appointment of ‘halqa incharge’ was an extrajudicial institution which demoralized the police and civil administration. The drug trade in Punjab also added fuel to fire. 

 

You had taken a pledge during the election campaign of Vidhan Sabha polls to end drug menace in one month after assuming the reins of the government. You also setup a special task force to fight drug menace under the command of a very honest and competent officer. Although initially the task force received some success but again the things are getting worse. The young men and women are emigrating to overseas countries and there is mushroom growth of IELTS/TOFFEL institutes.

 

The most disappointing aspect of this whole episode is that the residents of this state are feeling insecure and are living in fear. You have to restore their confidence in the administration by tackling this menace with strong hands. The situation will not improve with policy of appeasement.

 

Another thinking among the people is that you are not taking action against Badals. I am sorry I have to mention this fact as this is talk of common man in the street.

 

You have to pay immediate attention towards the conditions prevailing in the jails of Punjab. The jails have become the den of corruption and the criminals intimidate the jail authorities and are in alliance with the lower rung employees. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had appointed Justice Amar Dutt (retired) Judge of the high court to probe the evils prevalent in the jails. The report was submitted during the SAD-BJP government. But this report has not been implemented so far.

 

The government needs to raise emoluments of the lower rung employees to check corruption in the jails. Drugs are freely available in the jails. Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had changed the nomenclature of the jails to ‘Sudhar Ghar’ after his release from the jail after the emergency. But no practical steps were taken to bring reformation in the jails.

 

Another important issue which requires your attention immediately pertains to the private run public schools in the state. These schools are being run by the corporate companies and some influential persons. These so called English medium schools are fleecing the people with hefty capitation and tuition fees. The charges are so exorbitant  that middle class families cannot pay the same. The admission to these schools has become a status symbol and middle class families have to get their wards admitted in these schools out of compulsion because the government run schools are in a miserable condition. The government run schools do not have proper infrastructure nor good teachers.

 

The State Government needs to setup a regulatory authority to check the loot by the corporate run schools. The Badal government had started Adarsh Schools in the rural areas and even allotted panchayat lands to these schools. But this scheme had proved a big flop and the corporate companies have got possession of lands allotted to them.

 

You are aware of the plight of the urban towns and the Municipal elections in these towns are taking place on December 16. There is not a single urban town which can be described as a clean and worth living. These towns have become ‘garbage towns’. Towns like Ludhiana with a big industrial base are the most polluted. The state governments have failed to take remedial measures.

 

The abolition of octroi a few years ago was a big blunder and the octroi income was sufficient to bring about improvements in sanitation and provide basic necessities like potable water and sewerage. At present all towns have blocked sewerage which results into supply of polluted water and ailments are on the rise. You should consider the possibility of reimposing the octroi duty to enhance the income of the municipal councils and municipal corporations. Already octroi cess is being charged by the Punjab State Power Corporation from the consumers.

 

So far as the loan waiver of the farmers is concerned. I know you are seized of the matter and efforts are afoot to arrange funds. The Central Government is hostile to this issue. But I am surprised at the exploitation being made by the Akali Dal and BJP in this regard. Suicides by the farmers and the farm workers were taking place during the SAD-BJP government as well.

 

The Badal Government announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to each family of the farmers and farm workers who committed suicide. The SAD-BJP Government also got a survey done in 2008-09. But no compensation was given to any family. Except in Bathinda district some families were paid compensation of Rs. 2 lakh in 2009 as Harsimrat Badal was contesting Lok Sabha poll. This matter can be got probed how many families got the compensation. More surveys regarding farmers suicides have been got done after 2009 as well.

 

Industry in Punjab has become sick. Sukhbir organized two Investment Summits and spent crores but all in vain. The industry needs to be revived to generate employment.

 

While concluding I would like to observe that corruption has increased in all the departments including revenue department, police and there is no relief to common man. No work is done unless palms of the officials are greased.

 

These are some of the issues which I want to bring to your kind notice and I am confident that your government will take suitable measures to stem the rot.

 

Sorry for the Inconvenience caused to you. Wishing you all the best.

 

With warm regards,

 

Yours sincerely,

(K S Chawla)

Journalist 

Cell 99886-44244

E-mail : [email protected]

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