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Wednesday, Jan 07, 2004

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Readers' Mail

Reconstruct culvert

Sir, — The cut stone slab of the culvert near Kamarajar Park in Sivakasi has been damaged and the road is not worthy for vehicular traffic. Repeated representations to the municipality have fallen on deaf ears.

I request the Sub-Collector, Sivakasi to inspect the spot and make arrangements for reconstruction of this culvert before the Sri Mariamman Panguni Pongal festival.

T. Nagarajan,

Sivakasi.

Drainage ditch

Sir, — A few years ago, a drainage ditch was constructed on both sides of the arterial road in Tuticorin at a cost of crores of rupees. This scheme was one of the examples of how public money is wasted without achieving the goal. Now the drainage channel is in a dilapidated condition. The damaged concrete slabs have made the platform unfit for walking. There are big holes on the platform. Even slight carelessness would make one fall into the ditch.

Will the Collector and the municipal chairman do the needful?

K.S.Pandian,

Tuticorin.

Un(re)served coaches

Sir, — I had a bitter experience of travelling in an unreserved compartment of the Pandyan Superfast Express from Madurai to Chennai on 23.12.2003. Even at the starting point itself the unreserved coaches meant for the poor were overcrowded. Passengers suffered a lot with their luggages, small children, aged people, sick patients and crying babies in their arms.

The sight was really pathetic. No TTE came to these compartments and checked tickets and the luggages and also no security personnel were there.

The Southern Railway has been augmenting the number of sleeper coaches of deluxe and comfortable types more than needed during festival seasons and summer and other school holidays, especially to cater for the affluent.

To clear the extra rush of passengers in the unreserved or general coaches, the railway authorities should make arrangements to attach one or two more bogies during those crowded times. Then, the issue of tickets for the coaches should be restricted to a certain level in each and every express train, as is done for reserved coaches.

Will the railway authorities look into this matter and do the needful?

G. Jayaraman,

Virudhunagar.

Counter

Sir, — During the official visit to Tuticorin, the Minister of State for Railways, A. K. Moorthy said the number of reservation counters would be increased to two. But one of the counters is opened upto the lunch session only. It is very hard for one to stand in the long queue for hours, since there is huge rush for one counter in the evening.

Moreover, the on-going holiday and festival seasons make the situation worse. Hence I request the railway authorities to set up two full-time regular counters and one more extra counter to avoid the holiday rushes.

K. Hari Krishan,

Tuticorin.

Entrance

Sir, — Originally there was an entrance in front of the Distance Education wing of the Madurai Kamaraj University. Now it has been permanently closed. One has to spend some more time for every visit through the main gate. If the gate is reopened, it will be more convenient to the students, staff and general public.

M. S. Raghavan,

Madurai.

Interest on deposits

Sir, — At a time when interest rates on term deposits with banks are continually lowered, the announcement by the Central Bank of India to offer 0.5% as additional interest to the deposits from senior citizens above 70 years of age effective from January 1 giving a total benefit of 1 per cent over and above the normal rates is most welcome.

This concession to be purposeful should be extended to those who are 65 years of age as the present ruling will be of advantage only to a negligible segment.

Therefore, the bank ought to widen the scope of its decision especially when 70 per cent of the aged in the country do not get any pension.

Incidentally, I appeal to other banks also to follow suit.

V. Krishnamoorthy,

Madurai.

Postal articles

Sir, — While furnishing details of business handled by the Postal department (The Hindu, January 1), U. Srinivasaraghavan, Principal PMG, TN Circle, has revealed that barring a few branches many are not functioning with competitive business on the expected lines, citing exorbitant charges levied for different transactions besides increase in the cost of postal stationery items recently.

None may have any grouse over the 100 per cent increase in the price of card from 25 to 50 paises, but no one will be prepared to extend similar tolerance however much cost of stationery and printing charges moved up due to passage of time. Charges levied in some fields of business are quite arbitrary and irrelevant in the sense that no acceptable method or yardstick is adhered to.

A printed private card requires stamp to the value of Rs.4 for transmission, registration charges jumping to sharp hike at Rs.17 plus Rs.2 extra for acknowledgement for all booked articles. While the courier's charges range from Rs.5 to Rs.10 only which include getting acknowledgement from the addresses, speed-post is also charged in excess even for short distance destinations in the adjoining States. When a greetings telegram of 10 words is charged Rs.3.50, greetings sent by cards/covers are charged Rs.4 apiece. Because a cover addressed to a local place in the city is also charged Rs.5 irrespective of the fact that the senders invariably use private couriers for the same work inclusive of obtaining acknowledgements from the addresses is done at Rs.3 only per item and on this account couriers do good business causing a heavy loss to the Postal department.

If the Postal department is really serious to regain the confidence and patronage of the public, postal charges and cost of stationery items should be so revised and rolled back like inland letters at Rs.2, local cover at Rs.3 and registration charges at Rs.8 plus Rs.2 for acknowledgement and above all ensuring local delivery within the city on the next day and on the third day to places within the State restricted to clearance timings.

M. Ratnasabapathi,

Madurai.

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