An open letter to the new DC


Respected DC (Himanshu Aggarwal) sir,

We, the residents of Gurdaspur, extend a hearty welcome to you on joining as the new Deputy Commissioner (DC) of this border district. Sir, even if it means sounding pessimistic, let us tell you that this is a district where heroin still flows into the country through the porous border, where job creation is zilch leading to restlessness among the youth, where this restlessness is leading to drug addiction and where industrialists, particularly in the ‘steel city’ of Batala, are permanently locking up their establishments following the state and Union government’s flawed industrial policies. Agreed, half of the above problems do not directly relate to your office. Nevertheless, sir, we are of the view that you must be aware if you have to govern this district. For starters, let us talk about the Rs 23 crore Tibri road railway underpass project. Work has been going on for the last one year but not even 25 per cent has been completed. Initially, it was slated to be completed in six months. The target has been revised twice. This is a perfect example of Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Sir, please initiate an inquiry into the hold-up. Just imagine what the commuters must be going through. Long detours have become a rule, rather than an exception. The smooth movement of Armymen and military hardware from Tibri cantonment to other places has taken a hit. Now, this is a serious issue. In the event of hostilities, this becomes a dreadful thought. Take a decision right away so that more delay can be avoided. Sir, keep the sycophant, and you will be meeting many, at an arm’s length. Your immediate predecessor did well to avoid them. Strong brands are built on unshakeable values and authenticity. This border district needs fresh ideas and novel initiatives if it has to move ahead. Hanging on to the rigid status quo is not going to help in any way. The ruling party has two MLAs in this district. One is God-fearing and honest, qualities not easily available among the political class these days. The other, politically speaking, is still green behind the ears. Your predecessor did make efforts to re-emphasise to him the relations between en elected and permanent executive. In doing so, he tried to ease things for his successors. Sir, please ensure justice to every man, woman and child who walks into your office. Not long ago, we had a DC whose strict demeanour deterred people from coming to meet him. If you can discourage this, nothing like it. There have been instances when during the Independence Day and Republic Day functions, question marks have been raised on the choice for awards. This time when R-day comes, do remember Batala housewife Ramandeep Kaur. Her deaf and dumb daughter was refused admission by almost all private schools. Kaur then hit upon an idea. She herself started learning sign language just to make sure her daughter does not miss out on the benefits of education. Now, she teaches her daughter plus 49 more deaf children at a school she has opened in her residence. Also remember Jogita Sharma, a middle-class girl from the border township of Dera Baba Nanak, who has been selected to speak in Parliament on India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad. These young women are achievers in their own right. They have broken the glass ceiling in their own sweet way. We should not let them down.

Vox populi!

Finally, no longer a bridge too far

For the last several decades, residents of a cluster of 12 villages used to remain cut off from mainland Gurdaspur. The pontoon bridge, their only link to human civilisation, is dismantled by the PWD during the monsoons. Now finally, the Army has granted permission to construct a concrete bridge. Villagers are happy that they will finally remain connected to Gurdaspur and its satellite cities throughout the year. Credit goes to MP Sunny Deol who took up the issue with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to seek the Army’s nod. Now everything is in place and work is scheduled to start in December.

(Contributed by Ravi dhaliwal)