Updated: February 28, 2015 12:00:41 am
Our laws do not make it easy for the poor farmer to convert his land to non-agricultural use. The process is complex and ridden with obstacles. In Raigad district, large housing complexes are coming up on what was once agricultural land. But since it is difficult for an individual farmer to change land use, he is forced to sell his property at absurdly low prices. Land use is then converted by “agents”, who sell it on to builders for many times the price they paid to the farmer. We need to make land use conversion simple and straightforward. Applications for the change of land use should be deemed to have been accepted within 45 days of submission unless the authorities have compelling reasons to reject it.
— Raj Khalid, Mumbai
Name and shame
Apropos ‘Essar leaks’ (IE, February 27), The Indian Express deserves congratulations for revealing the favours and gifts showered on ministers and politicians by Essar and its officials. It is a relief that these issues will also come up before the Supreme Court as part of a public interest litigation. The bribing of influential politicians (in or out of office), bureaucrats and journalists — in the form of hard cash, favours and gifts — is increasingly becoming part of our corporate culture. This needs to be ruthlessly curbed. The media must make a start by naming and shaming beneficiaries and bribers.
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— S.R. Purandare, Pune
SC to the rescue
It is not surprising that the BJP has done a U-turn on its position on Section 66A of the IT Act. It is improbable that a rightwing party like the BJP, which is supported by an extremely conservative organisation like the RSS, will plug the loopholes and vagueness of Section 66 A. The statute confers on the state the unbridled power to act against our freedom to criticise. It can easily be used to intimidate and arrest dissidents and suppress protests against misgovernance. So the government has an incentive to maintain status quo. The courts are our only hope.
— Meghana Patil, Bangalore
Engine of change
Apropos the editorial, ‘Off the beaten track’ (IE, February 27), Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu thankfully put the brakes on the practice of announcing politically motivated new rail projects. He presented a praiseworthy and pathbreaking rail budget. Prabhu focused mainly on the much-needed and long-ignored modernisation of the railways, including the signalling system, and on the improvement of passenger amenities. Special measures have also been taken keeping the needs of women and senior citizens in mind. Much to the relief of the aam aadmi, there were no hikes in passenger fares. However, there remains a desperate need to eliminate the role of touts with the help of technology.
— M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Suresh Prabhu’s maiden railway budget was refreshing — it was not the usual laundry list of new trains. Instead, he promised to make rail travel a “happy experience”. It was wise of him to hold off from announcing new trains until a review ascertaining the capacity of various routes is completed. This is a clear indication that the Modi government is not prepared to succumb to populist urges.
— J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
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