Chiria conundrum

Updated: Nov 28 2006, 08:36am hrs
After perusing your editorial (Nov. 27) on the allotment of ore reserves in Jharkhand, Im unable to understand why the state government shouldnt allot the Chiria mines to the highest bidder. You say that political reality demands a compromise with economic merit on this issue, but you havent specified which outcome is satisfied by the latter criterion. And, if Mittals is by far the bigger investment and hes made it contingent on the full allotment of Chiria, I fail to see how you can talk of sharing the output and declare that this ought to satisfy Mittal. The government should either auction the rights to Chiria to the highest bidder or negotiate a compromise. If it doesnt wish to do either, the simple option is to stick with the Steel Authority of India.

R Venkatesan

Contract bureaucracy

Im glad to note the practical objections made by the two parties to your Monday Page debate (Nov. 27) on the issue of appointing civil servants by contract at senior levels of the government. But I find the outcome quite unsatisfactory from the point of view of a citizen. The bureaucracy is not accountable for its performance or, rather, the lack of itto the citizen-user and that is why the idea of appointing the senior levels on contract, from within and without the civil service, took shape. I agree with Mr TSR Subramanian, former chief secretary of UP and then Union cabinet secretarysomeone whose views deserve to be listened to with attentionthat the proposal has the makings of a dangerous short-cut on an already fading fabric. But, then, what is his alternative suggestion For him to say that reform of the bureaucracy can only start if the political executive is cleansed, which is his concluding line, is just not good enough.

R Majumdar