Wednesday 22 December 1999
Posted at 0130 hrs IST





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Water of Life

Mr S P Malhotra (`Letters', Dec 16) has made some pertinent observations and suggestions regarding recycling of water in the states of Punjab and Haryana. It is unfortunate that in our country, water, a life sustaining resource, has not received the attention that is due to it. In contrast, the developed world -- where the problem is in fact less acute -- has been assiduously working on the issue since long. During the World Water Week celebrations in Sweden in August this year, the Stockholm symposium identified water as ``the trigger of wars in the next millennium''. One cannot deny the close linkages between water and economic power.

We continue to waste a lot of water -- both at the individual as well as the national level. We have not implemented well conceived strategies for linking our rivers to optimise the use of fresh water for irrigation and drinking and to ensure that nearly three-fourths of all river water does not flow into the sea unutilised, as is happening today.

Even large hydel projects like the celebrated Bhakra, which have no doubt brought about a sea change in the lives of people in the Punjab and in Haryana, pose long term dangers. Such large reservoirs trap fine silt and prevent it from reaching the agricultural fields.

Krishan Kalra, New Delhi

Consumer Protection

It is very satisfying to know that the Employees' Provident Fund Scheme has now come under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act through a landmark Supreme Court judgment on December 17. Even in the CP Act there are innumerable hurdles in giving relief to the aggrieved. It is a people's Act. Those who wish to and who can, should be allowed to defend their cases in person themselves rather than hiring lawyers to ensure quick disposal of cases.

So far no one has been executed for contempt of court in the district forums. Lax administration and a thriving nexus among lawyers and the judges of the district forums have seriously hampered dispensation of justice. Decisions are not honoured and no one is pulled up for contempt of court.

The very purpose for which the Consumer Protection Act was formulated and enacted is defeated as the decisions of the District Forums are not taken seriously. Under the circumstances, it is no use trying to extend the scope of the Act unless care is taken to provide quick relief while dealing with grievances.

H R Bangia, New Delhi

Holy Gibberish

Laughter is the best medicine and I get lot of it every morning when I read your `Sacred Space' column. It also never fails to amaze me how simple everyday words can be strung together to produce such high-sounding gibberish. Man has created God in his own image and has heaped million upon million tons of brick and mortar, cement and concrete in the shape of temples, mosques and churches to perpetuate the myth. Happily, not all is lost. We have our Charvak and Sankhya to give it the lie. As for you Sir, please keep it up; nonsense rhyme has a place in every nation's culture and in our case, it has a parliament to rival.

M Bhowmik, New Delhi

By God

Several years ago Pele, the football legend, was hauled up before a judge in Brazil for a minor traffic offence. After fining Pele, the judge could not resist asking him, who was the greatest footballer ever. To which Pele replied that he, Pele, was the greatest.

Immediately after leaving the court his coach confronted him: ``How could you be so vain, declaring yourself to be the greatest?'' Pele's reply was ``Sir, how could I act humble -- I was under oath''.

I M Balchandani, New Delhi

Cyber Som

This refers to the letter titled `Cyber Cypher' (Nov 18) by Mr Som Benegal. We have been reading his amusing one liners for a long time. If his farewell really means its the end, let me tell him that the cyphers are half of the cyber as the cyberworld is coded in terms of cyphers (zeros) and singles (ones). So Mr Benegal, even if you are a cypher in the cyberworld, you are no less important. We do not want your farewell but would like you to fare well.

Anshuman Kohli, Ludhiana

The Economic Times



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