The ubiquitous plastic bag is only the visible side of the problem the Mayor and the Commissioner are so vigorously tackling. In spite of threats, fines, raids and confiscation of a few kilos of plastic bags, the battler is far from over. May be an “out of the box” approach is needed because plastics are here to stay and we need plastic too. Can we not think of banning certain items/goods from being packed in plastic rather than merely banning plastic? It is near impossible to ban pre-packaged (in plastic) items such as rice, dal, milk and other provisions and nor is this desirable. But why on earth can we not ban shirts, saris, magazines, toys, auto parts, fresh flowers and a million other diverse items being packed in plastic before being sold or thereafter? Why should fancy vegetable retail stores have rolls of plastic bags amid vegetable bins for shoppers to put onions or spinach into? Finally, should political parties be permitted to string up flimsy party flags made of plastic? If we are serious about fighting the plastic menace mere banning of plastic bags or slogans will not do. The root of the problem needs to be tackled if we do not want choked drains.

M. Vania,

Coimbatore.

Payment of pension

More than four months have elapsed after the Government of India Memorandum of September 1, 2008 for implementation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations for Central Government pensioners has been released. The pension disbursing nationalised banks and post offices were ordered to pay 40 per cent of the arrears of revised pension from 1-1-2006 to 31-8-2008 on or before 30-9-2008 and make the September pension according to the revised order. However, the banks and the post offices have chosen to interpret the government order according to their whims and fancies resulting in unsatisfactory implementation of the order in the case of many retired persons. State Bank of India, which has a central processing unit for pensioners in Chennai, was unique in making the payment of arrears satisfactorily on 29-9-2008 itself and crediting the September pension in the revised scales. Listed below are some of the discrepancies: Forty per cent arrears have been paid up to September/October 2008 instead of up to August 2008. Even after payment of the 40 per cent arrears according to the Sixth Pay Commission, banks like Indian Overseas Bank pay pension at pre-revision rates to the pensioners. Some disbursing units have not calculated the additional pension of 20 per cent, 30 per cent etc. to the pensioners after attaining the age of 80, 85 years etc. and some other units have not calculated dearness relief admissible on this additional pension. Most banks are unable to differentiate between CDA and IDA pensions and dearness relief. Patience and tolerance of the pensioners have been tested for long. No proper steps have been initiated by the banks and the post offices to rectify mistakes even after they have been pointed out.

S. Gopalan,

Secretary, All India Central Govt. Pensioners’ Association, Coimbatore.

What logic?

One does not understand the logic behind the necessity of producing Qualification Approval Letters for the post of lecturers in colleges affiliated to Bharathiar University. Recently, a colleague got the letter from the university in response to an application sent in June 2008. The letter was sent to the college and was handed over to the person concerned in the first week of this month. A portion of the body of the letter read like this “the candidate who has been appointed as a lecturer shall complete NET/SLET/M.Phil on or before June 2009 and proper extension shall be sought from the university if the time limit is exceeded”. Now it is only four months left for the candidate to write NET/SLET exams. Above all, the university knows that it will take a minimum of three years to complete the M. Phil programme as a part time course. The candidates are left with no option since there is no sufficient time to clear any one of the above programmes. I request the authorities concerned to provide enough time (at least three years) to make themselves suitable for the profession.

Thiagarajan,

Avanashi Road.

Unclean park

A park next to the Saibaba Colony telephone exchange (Alagesan Road) seldom gets cleaned. In spite of repeated reminders to the Corporation authorities, the park is neglected. Dry leaves and wastes-filled walking tracks look filthy and create problems for joggers. Will the authorities look into it?

Ravi Nair,

Coimbatore.

Gas agency

I am a customer of Annai Aravind Gas Agency at Vadavalli. The agency’s phones are always engaged and on many occasions I have had to wait for long periods to book for gas refill. Recently there was a leak in the gas cylinder and I tried in vain to contact the agency as the phones were, as usual, engaged. Why don’t gas agencies have dedicated telephone lines to receive emergency messages concerned with lives of individuals?

Rohini V. Nath,

Coimbatore.

Dysfunctional street lights

Street lights on the stretch of Thadagam Road, from the second gate of Government College of Technology to Venkitapuram stage (barring the one at the B.P. Cross Road 2 Thadagam Road junction), have not been functional for more than a month. This is causing great inconvenience to residents in the area.K.D.Viswanaathan,

Coimbatore

Emission test

The transport department insists that motorists should have emission test carried out on their vehicles every six months and get a certificate. Government vehicles, lorries, public carriers like auto, taxi etc. are exempted from the test. Most of these vehicles emit thick luminous black smoke engulfing environment, affecting visibility and posing health hazards to pedestrians. The transport department or the traffic police do not seem to have control over these vehicles.

S. Gopalan,

Coimbatore.

Kudos to police

My joy knew no bounds when I read the report ‘Police help boy to pursue education’ (Feb. 2). The initiative of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Coimbatore range, is laudable.

B. Sripada Rajan,

Coimbatore. (Readers can mail to cbereaders@thehindu.co.in with address and phone number)

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