Calcutta Notebook


In a damning report dated 09.01.2016 under the title 'Non-IPS officers run most border districts in Punjab', The Economic Times gives an alarming picture of the Punjab administration's cavalier way of handling the sensitive border districts. Out of eight border districts in Punjab, the state government has posted non-IPS officers in five districts while the three others have promoted IPS officers as Superintendent of Police. With SP Salwinder Singh coming under the scanner after Pathankot attack, there are questions being raised on the efficacy of these non -IPS officers heading the sensitive border areas.

According to some IPS officers from Punjab, this is also one of the main reasons for rise in cases of drug smuggling, As per the central government rules, the state government can only post a provincial service officer for 3 months with an approval from New Delhi. In Punjab, it has been found in many cases that these rules are violated and non-IPS officers are posted at the whims and fancies of the ruling dispensation.

The Modi government cannot put the blame on the state government and escape. First: It is affecting the national security. Second: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a coalition partner to Akalis in Punjab government. TheĀ  reason attributed for the posting of non-IPS officers in the border district is further more shameful.

A senior officer said that these officers in border districts were posted due to non-availability of IPS cadre. IPS officers preferred to be at a central location and were not keen to undertake border postings since these areas were far-flung with fewer amenities. Is it not adding insult to injury?

In another report of the same day, The ET informs, "In a first for India, a French army delegation will march at the Republic Day Parade on Jan 26. The French contingent will be drawn from the troops who have fought the Afghan war and are already in India for a joint exercise".

Extravagant National Day celebrations are a drag on the nation's scarce resources. Grand pomp and show and the bombastic military parade on such occasions are a shame. Whom are they threatening by these military parades? The whole world knows what is India's military might namely the junk vintage hardware of 19th century. Only a colonial government needs to exhibit its police and military might to terrorise its subjects. The Modi government adds a French military tamasha on the Republic Day to show its loyalty towards its masters in the West at the cost of the poorest people on the earth.

On November 5, 2015 Tanzania has sworn into office a new President, John Magufuli. Soon after his election, Magufuli declared there would be no celebration of Independence Day on 9 December because it would be "shameful" to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when people were dying of cholera. After his first official visit to the Muhimbili Hospital, and seeing the horrible state it was in, he ordered over 200 million shillings marked for "parliament parties" to be used to pay for beds for people lying on the floor and sharing beds.

A few days later, 300 beds were delivered. He dismissed the governing board and got a new team in place, and within days the broken MRI was fixed. He also pared down his inauguration party from $100,000 to $7,000 and sent the extra money to the hospital.

Three days into his term, Magufuli announced a ban on all foreign travel by government officials. They have been instructed instead to make regular visits to rural areas to learn and help solve problems facing everyday Tanzanians. All tasks that required officials to travel abroad would instead be done by high commissioners and ambassadors who are already in place.

He has restricted all first and business class travel to government officials. There will be no more workshops and seminars in expensive hotels when there are so many ministry board rooms available. When he had to travel 600km to Dodoma, from Dar, to officially open parliament last week, he didn't order a private jet. Instead, he chose to drive.

He promised to cut public spending, fight corruption and enhance accountability in public service. He said it is time for Tanzanians to walk the talk. Magufuli reportedly told parliamentary leaders that the people of Tanzania want him to solve their problems and not make speeches.

Are you listening, Mr Prime Minster?

Back to the Pathankot shame!

Media report after pathetic report suggests that Punjab police and Border Security Force are proved to be ineffective in dealing with the Pak intruders. Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor and the blue eyed boy of the Prime Minister, does not believe in the efficacy of Indian armed forces to deal with the terrorists.

Several media persons and defence experts have conclusively established a basic point. That points to the worrying signs that the outcome of the operation was as much good luck as good management. Pathankot was an embarrassment, not a 26/11-type catastrophe. It could, only too easily, have proved otherwise.

Elsewhere in the media, it is reported that the Pakistani terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has rubbed salt on Indian wounds of the Pathankot terror attack by mocking at the Indian defence agencies in an audio clip by saying that they could not tackle the six "muja-heedins".


Vol. 48, No. 30, Jan 31 - Feb 6, 2016