Apropos of the report “Demonetisation: Chaos continues” (FE, November 13), no matter what the BJP says, the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has ‘gifted’ the common people a time fraught with difficulties and frustration. It is a stressful time for all of us. The demonetisation appears to penalise the most vulnerable members of society. For everything from buying vegetables and food grains, paying education fee, travelling by private transport and buying medicines to marriage and last rites, you need money in legally valid or úndemonetised’ denominations. Farmers are unable to buy seeds and fertilisers in this season of sowing. It has not occurred to the government the even the poorest members of society including tea vendors make their savings in 500 rupee notes to meet emergencies. Even charity seekers convert the coins received as alms to R500 note. How many man hours are lost due to long hours of waiting before the banks and ATMs for days on end goes unaccounted. India’s impoverished masses are so vulnerable that they cannot absorb Narendra Modi’s ‘shock and awe’ methods to improve the country’s economy. The BJP has made the demonetisation co-terminous with the fight against black money to be seen as a party dead against black money despite its hesitation to disclose all its sources of funding. Just two-and-a-half years ago, people queued up to vote Modi to power in the hope that they would get R15 lakh on retrieval of black money stashed in foreign banks promised by him. But they are now being rewarded by being made to queue up to swap their hard-earned money. If the government were indeed so keen on curbing black money by demonetising, it ought to have arranged the swapping of currency notes by deputing bank employees and civil servants to the homes of the people. The prime minister and his Cabinet colleagues who were seen nowhere near the banks and ATMs want us to bear with them for the sake of the country’s ‘larger good’. A citizen in his late 50s, this writer was nearly trampled underfoot by the crowd of people rushing for the door of a bank.
David Milton, Maruthancode
Bridge over troubled waters
Apropos of the editorial, “SYL waters heat up” (FE, November 14), in 1981, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi made an attempt to resolve the water sharing dispute by brokering a trilateral agreement with the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The new flow data increased allocations to every stakeholder from the Ravi-Beas system. Unfortunately, both Punjab and Haryana governments, in their bid to pander to local sentiments, let the issue get embroiled in communal politics. In 1985, another attempt was made to settle the dispute with the signing of the Rajiv Gandhi-Harcharan Singh Longowal accord. As per the provisions, Punjab, Haryana and other states were to continue getting their existing share of water from the Ravi-Beas system. A tribunal headed by a Supreme Court judge was to verify the river water claims and its findings were to be binding. The dispute was back in court early this year after the Congress MLAs resigned after the state’s termination of the link canal was declared unconstitutional. Now, with the Supreme Court striking down the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004 passed by the Punjab State Legislature, the two states are pitched for a bitter face-off as both have hardened their stance on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal. As part of cooperative federalism and sustained inter-state relations, it is imperative for the Centre to come up with a mutually-acceptable solution than use political pulpits to flame passions in a state going for elections.
Shreyans Jain, Delhi
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